Olive Oil - A Healthy Alternative To Getting Fat This Christmas!

From early November through to mid December it's olive harvest time in France, Italy, Greece and Spain in particular. Of course much of the work at the bigger olive producers is done mechanically, although you can still find small-holdings picking from their hundred year old trees, up a rickety ladder, by hand. You can even partake in Olive harvest holidays if you wish, whereby producers put a few smaller trees aside to be picked by willing hands, and then following the whole process through to olive oil production, and of course consumption.

In November 2015 however, it was widely reported that no less than 7 Italian brands of the more famous names, including Bertolli, Santa Sabina, Primadonna, Sasso, Coricelli, Antica Badia and Carapelli have been, allegedly, fraudulently passing off lower grade Olive Oil as Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and on selling it to the supermarkets Europe wide, including the UK. Some 7,000 tonnes of oil valued at millions of euros, were seized by investigators. This isn't the first time that Italy has been found to be involved in fraudulent activity within the olive oil industry. In 2012 an investigation discovered that Italian producers were buying in cheap varieties of oil from Spain, Morocco and Tunisia, in some cases blending it and then selling it on as Italian produce.

Olives and Oils has a different approach to stocking olive oils. Here, we need to be totally convinced that the olive oil we stock is genuine and comes from a genuine source, even if it means jumping on a plane and visiting the producer. There are some brilliant oils available and we stock a range of not only award winning Extra Virgin Olive Oils, such as La Lieutenante but also flavoured oils such as White Truffle Olive Oil, Pistachio Oil, Hazelnut Oil, Walnut Oil and more.

Whilst it is perfectly acceptable to cook with Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), and we often do, we prefer to consume our EVOO neat as a generous drizzle on salad foods and yes, even on bread, as done by the Spanish and Italians.

In Italy Bruchetta, Crostini and Crostoni are rustic breads toasted on an open grill with olive oil drizzled over, then topped with a variety of different succulent ingredients. Better to use EVOO for a tastier flavour, and don't be stingy with the topping! Tostadas are similar in Spain using a baguette bread and are generally eaten for breakfast with grated tomato or a variety of other toppings.

Naturally one can pour EVOO on salads and other summery dishes, and at this time of the year when the skies are grey a good light salad with EVOO can transport you back to your last Mediterranean holiday or spur you into action to booking your next one! Of course olive oil is proven to be healthier hence the Spanish and Italians rarely (usually never) use butter on their bread....it's a thought at Christmas time when you have enough trouble fighting off the excess festive food!

As for flavoured oils, they give a whole new meaning to salads, pastas, and pizzas... never tried it Go on, give it a try! You won't be disappointed and all your friends will be equally surprised at your resourcefulness. Just remember to tell them you got the oils at Olives and Oils in Mumbles.

Happy eating...

P.S. Don't forget to tell your friends about this Olives and Oils Blog and about the online shop at www.olivesandoils.co.uk