Ask 7 Questions
You know the name of your favourite wine (or beer) of course. And surely you know what grapes it is made of. Likely you know who the winery proprietor is and even who the winemaker is. Some of you might even know a bit about the winery history and story. But your favourite olive oil? Hmmmm.
Since we began our olive oil adventure just a few short years ago, there has been a growing interest and awareness around this product. Unfortunately, there has been growing misunderstanding and confusion as well. New and unique ways for distributing olive oil have been popping up all over North America. And this is a very good sign. It means that the mediterranean olive oil culture is finding its way across the Atlantic and it means that more people are turning to olive oil as their “fat” of choice.
However, it doesn’t mean that consumer should stop asking questions, should stop being observant and stop looking at their providers with a critical eye.
So what are the questions that you should be asking yourself?
1. Is my olive oil stored in a dark glass bottle or tin?
2. Is my olive oil properly sealed to keep out any oxygen or light (olive oil’s worst enemies)?
3. Is there a harvest date or at the very least a best before date on the bottle?
4. Is there information about where my olive oil was produced and packaged? Here you are looking for as much detail as possible – not just the country, but the region/province/town.
5. Do I know who the producer is? Is there information on the bottle about who it is behind the oil? Is there information available for me to contact the producer or importer if need be?
6. Can your vendor answer questions about the origin of your extra virgin?
7. Is your olive oil extra virgin? When you smell your extra virgin do you get a strong fruity, grassy or herby perfume or is there any aroma at all? When you taste your extra virgin “straight-up” do you feel any pepperiness at the back of your throat? Without a pleasant smell and at least a minor degree of pepperiness, an olive oil cannot be considered extra virgin.
If you answered no to even one of the questions above… keep shopping and keep asking questions. Consumers have the right to know the origin of their wine, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish AND olive oil as well as the right to insist that the quality they are asking for is the quality they are receiving.