A few months ago, the European Union, the Italian Department of Agriculture and Unaprol, the largest consortium of Olive growers in Italy, unveiled Flavor Your Life, a new initiative promoting the superior flavor and health benefits of incorporating Extra Virgin Olive Oil into your regular diet.
The extra virgin label can be dubious…there’s nobody out there to enforce international quality standards. To understand why quality counts and where to find it, you need to know how olive oil is made. Here’s how Flavor Your Life helps you understand:
Olive oil production is largely an industrial process in today’s world…outside of the hobbyists, cold pressing is no longer done…it takes too long and doesn’t necessarily produce better results. It’s all based on extracting oil from the olive fruit in 2 phases:
- grinding and crushing the olives into pulp
- separating the oil from the pulp’s solids and liquids
Beyond specialty shops, Whole Foods, etc., an increasing number of sponsor-a-tree programs and small batch producers like Frixa of St. Augustine Florida and Azienda Agricola Taurino of Squinzano Italy connect you directly to the source.
Now that you have your coveted oil, here is a simple recipe to get you started:
Mediterranean Summer Salad With Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 pieces of Buffalo Mozzarella cheese sliced
4 large tomatoes sliced
3 English cucumbers sliced
1 Tsp. Capers
1 Tsp. Lemon juice
Fresh Basil leaves for garnish
4 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Wash and cut all the vegetables; then on a plate place the green vegetables, add the mozzarella in the middle, and then finally cover with the sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle with capers and basil, season with lemon juice, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, salt, a pinch of pepper.