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2011 New Harvest Oils Are In

New Year. New Harvest.
It is January and for many, this time of year means short-kept resolutions, gym membership renewals and endless snow shoveling. For the Olive Oil Merchant it means the highly anticipated arrival of our New Harvest Oil.

Like each year, we spent the month of November in Italy with our olive mill partners enjoying the season, participating in the harvest and sampling the oil as it came off press. This year, a very long and very warm summer in the Mediterranean left the farmers with a significantly smaller crop than normal, but the quality of the oil has proven to be very good.

After a short settling process, the oils were bottled in record time in order to be on the ship leaving Livorno mid-December for the 35 day trip to Vancouver via the Panama Canal. The oils must take this passage in a temperature controlled container in order to be protected from the damaging hot and cold environments it passes through.

This year, in addition to favourites like Vantera from Campania, Tenuta Rasciatano and De Carlo from Puglia and Bonamini from Veneto we are very excited to have a new oil from Sicily, Villa Zottopera. This highly awarded oil made from 100% Tonda Iblea olive, wonderfully fruity and full of green tomato and artichoke tones, has been made by the same family in Western Sicily for hundreds of years. It is available in both the 250ml and 500ml bottle.

For fans of Frantoio Franci, one of the most celebrated olive mills in the world, we now carry the Villa Magra Gran Cru in the 100ml bottle, allowing the curious foodie to easily try what many consider to be the best olive oil in the world. Also from the Franci family, we have added the Olivastra Seggianese to our portfolio of delicate oils. This seductively aromatic single cultivar oil is made from the Olivastra olive grown almost exclusively in the hills of Seggiano Tuscany.

Olio Nuovo?
We often get questions asking us if we carry Olio Nuovo. Olio Nuovo is fresh harvest olive oil bottled immediately after press. So the answer is that all our oils are olio nuovo for a certain period of time. An oil cannot be considered nuovo 3 to 4 months after harvest and for EVOO that comes from the Mediterranean, that generally means after April.

EVOO in the Media.
The media has been abuzz with the release of journalist Tom Mueller’s new book Extra Virginity: the Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil. In this startling investigation, Mr. Mueller makes a convincing case that olive oil fraud is as prevalent as ever due to the confusion, snobbery and ignorance that shroud this product. This sort of media exposure will likely make some olive oil retailers very nervous – it makes us jump for joy. Education and understanding is the only way to ensure that artisan extra virgin, the trade and the skills continue to survive. The book is available on Amazon and Chapters Indigo.
The Olive Oil Merchant in the Media.
Trying to do our part in spreading the good EVOO word, we have recently sat down to chat with Fanny Kiefer of Studio 4 on ShawTV, appeared on BreakfastTV Vancouver with Jody Vance and did a tasting with Mia Stainsby, food writer for the Vancouver Sun. Click on the links to catch any of those that you might have missed.

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