True Gold or
Choose premium olive oils from reputable providers and steer clear of counterfeits and deceptions
Whether it is sampled with crusty bread and cheese, or used liberally in cooking, there are so many ways to enjoy olive oil. The best choice is often extra virgin olive oil, which is made by crushing the olives soon after they are picked, in a process that involves no chemicals, heat or industrial refining.
The quality of olive oil production, especially this first pressing, is generally regarded as the most desirable, thanks to its low acidity, delicate but intense flavor and well documented health benefits. Indeed, the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that a Mediterranean diet rich in premium olive oil cut the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
So what's not to like? When the olive oil you are buying is deliberately mislabeled or not the fine product that you expect, then that is a problem. Premium oil producers take this very seriously. For many of these producers, premium olive oil is not just a business it is a lifestyle.
A Pandemic Problem
The food production industry is full of scams and shortcuts, and not just at the gourmet level. For example: we have seen a complex $180 million scheme involving producers of Chinese honey trying to evade U.S. import duties; Vanilla scams that misstate the country of origin or dilute natural product with synthetic Vanilla; and just this spring, the Quaker Oats Company has been accused in a new lawsuit of fraudulently misleading consumers into believing its Maple & Brown Sugar instant oatmeal contains real maple syrup, a premium ingredient.
Extra virgin olive oil commands a premium price and top market position. Unfortunately, there are always those who will exploit that demand for profit. True extra virgin olive oil is the genuine gold; tampered, mislabeled products would be the iron pyrite known as "fool's gold."
60 Minutes recently did an expose that reported 7,000 tons of olive oil sold as "100% Italian extra virgin olive oil" that, when analyzed, was actually blended oils. In a blended oil, the producer uses a base of a less expensive vegetable oil (e.g. canola oil) to which it adds a percentage (e.g. 25%) of virgin olive oil. The oil was sold on worldwide markets with a value estimated to be tens of millions of Dollars. Up to twenty common household brands have come under recent scrutiny and suspicion.
An Easy Solution
So what's an olive oil lover to do? O&CO. has the answer!
Whether you are a new consumer, or a connoisseur, the best course of action is to buy from a reputable company that knows and respects the best sources of true extra virgin olive oil. Quality retailers also understand the oil has to be carefully handled and stored, and that it has a limited shelf life. They also can help guide your purchases to your preferred styles and flavors.
Extra Virgin olive oil, just like fine wine, should indicate on the label: the name of the producer and the mill; the country of origin; the date of harvest; the specific lot; and the olive varietals.
Start right at the top. Oliviers & Co. is one of the leading purveyors of fine extra virgin olive oil and other gourmet products. O&CO. famously asks, "Like wines from the most reputable vineyards, why can't superior olive oils be worthy of being recognized as grand cru?"
O&CO.'s boutique stores are located in 18 countries worldwide. Their U.S. flagship is located in Grand Central Terminal, New York City. O&CO.'s second U.S. boutique is on Bleecker Street, located in the heart of Greenwich Village. Both New York City locations are culinary hubs, offering extra virgin olive oils, premium vinegars, gourmet pasta sauces, pesto and exclusive chef creations.
What are the qualities that set O&CO. apart from and above other olive oil providers? O&CO. has a product acumen, global distribution capability, depth of retail experience and standard of excellence that are necessary to successfully bring the world's finest olive oils to your table in pristine condition.
The "Olive Oil Gospel" According to O&CO.
Olives must be:
- - Hand harvested when still green
- - Immediately transported to the mill after harvesting
- - Sorted to select only the best olives for processing
- - Production process is traced from harvest to bottling to delivery
- - Olive processing occurs below 77 degrees F
- - Olive oils of different origins are never pressed together, which would result in sub-standard oil
- - Low acidity level does not exceed 0.3%
Test & Taste
The producer's heritage and reputation are important, of course, but ultimately it comes down to taste and "mouth feel." O&CO. experts perform specific tests to evaluate the oil.
First, they examine the oil in a transparent container to confirm it is an unblended oil. Next the tester takes short inhalations that can uncover faults. Third, they take some oil on the tongue to measure its fluidity. Finally, there is the taste, the olive oil's "notes" and characteristics.
O&CO. team members have a depth of olive oil knowledge that is second to none – particularly when it comes to those select extra virgin oils offered by the company. O&CO. is transparent when it comes to sharing this information about their products with the consumer, and guarantees full traceability. For example, O&CO. extra virgin labels include the name of the producer, country of origin, date of harvest, olive varietals and the number of liters selected by O&CO. There is also a best before date stamped on every bottle or tin of olive oil to ensure you are getting the freshest olive oil available.
"Grand Cru" denotes a limited production of a special or higher quality olive oil. Certified by Oliviers & Co., the
Grand Cru selections are the perfect expression of some of the most beautiful terroirs of the Mediterranean. In the tradition of the finest wines, we bring you the best, to be discovered and enjoyed by all.
The high standards established by O&CO. also serve consumers of its
Everyday Grand Crus olive oil. For many, olive oil is an essential part of every meal, and O&CO. offers an all-purpose Everyday oil that is perfect for sautéing, roasting, preparing marinades and more.
Using and enjoying olive oils in the traditional ways gives you the sense of dining in the Mediterranean. If you have a bowl of warm pasta with fresh pesto and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, drizzle quality oil sourced from O&CO. All of the flavors will become stronger and enhanced. Take a sip of wine, and continue eating. Skip the salt and butter, eat better, live longer.