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Old 11-24-2006, 12:15 PM   #11
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When we visit any of the warmer Mediterranean countries we try to bring back some local olive oil. Some are just the pressings from the local cooperative - and are sold in assorted styles of bottle, often without much info on the labels. We have seldom been disappointed.

I like green, peppery tasting oils. My husband prefers deeper flavoured ones. There are varieties to suit all palates. I particularly like Tuscan and Ligurian oils from Italy. I love some of the Spanish oils and many of the Greek oils, mainly from the islands. One that I am not too keen on is a Corfiote (from Corfu) EVO... it was almost rancid to my taste buds, but locals seem to adore it!
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Old 11-24-2006, 01:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ayrton
May I just point out that most likely the $5 bottle is imitation and the $50 bottle is the real deal?
Referring to Balsamic vinegar, I really couldn't care less if it's imitation or not. I don't use vinegar for much. I don't like raw greens so having balsamic vinegar is just sort of like having a decoration in my kitchen. I don't see what all the fuss is about. 25 years ago if someone mentioned balsamic vinegar most people I know would have said "Huh?"

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Old 11-24-2006, 03:00 PM   #13
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Well, now that Ayrton made it impossible for me not to participate in this thread, I feel I must say something but it is really hard to make it as clear cut as Clive might have have wanted it.

To begin with, the safest way of importing good EVOO is what Ishbel has discovered, ie. buy it during trips to the EVOOland and carry it back home. Apart from this, things can become complicated and the end result dubious.

The obvious option would be to buy a name brand, often packaged in an attractive bottle with impressive labelling, etc. Inevitably the cost would be high and the claim of virginity rather unconvincing. Another option might be to buy an inexpensive but well-known brand. Unfortunately, I would seriously doubt that the oil in the bottle comes actually from olives, for the most part anyway. I do have in mind a certain brand belonging in this category that is often mentioned in this forum but let me not go beyond this in pointing fingers.

I am more familiar with the EVOO scene in Greece. As a result, I do have a few pointers for Clive to consider. The big exporters are offering EVOO of suspect quality. If smaller producers can be found (it should not be too difficult if one searches in the internet using search terms such as "Ministry of Agriculture, Greece, etc.), one would have to content with highly seasonal availability ie. from December to April more or less with nothing available during the off-season. Even if the quality is excellent, the character of EVOO may vary as exporters rarely ever export olive oil produced by them but only olive oil they can obtain from individual growers.

From past experiences, importing EVOO can be exasperating due to the fact that continuity of supplies and stable quality/nature of the EVOO imported are hard (actual extremely hard) to achieve. That is to say, best of luck Clive, I'm sure you'll need it!
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Old 11-24-2006, 03:04 PM   #14
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Ah yes! About the 'Soprano thing.' Do you know that Italy exports more olive oil than it produces? This is from official EU records and not a joke. Think about it.
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Old 11-24-2006, 03:07 PM   #15
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What the ****! Let me reply to my own post once. Perhaps the difference between the amount of Italian olive oil exported and that produced is the well-known inexpensive name brand of olive oil implied earlier.
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Old 11-24-2006, 03:13 PM   #16
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Clive, as you learn about olive oils I hope you share the knowledge. I have been surprised to discover that I prefer Sultan, an inexpensive Turkish brand of extra virgin, to any that I've tried so far. There is a small middle eastern market in the neighborhood that has a fair selection of brands from the eastern Mediterranean. I'm looking forward to your recommendations.
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Old 11-24-2006, 03:23 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ishbel
One that I am not too keen on is a Corfiote (from Corfu) EVO... it was almost rancid to my taste buds, but locals seem to adore it!
Right you are! During a recent trip to Corfu, I was surprised to see that their olives are tiny in size. This means that for each individual olive, the ratio of flesh to pit is subminimal. Consequently, the oil produced from pressing such olives will have a very significant portion of it coming from the pit. The latter is basically pomace, which is thick, cloudy, and distinctly unpleasant in smell as well as taste.

I do believe that a significant contributing factor to the size/quality of these olives is the fact that the trees did not seem to be properly kept, that is, they were not pruned for years and probably they were not fertilized either.
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Old 11-24-2006, 03:27 PM   #18
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I'm no olive oil expert, but I regularly purchase a Greek olive oil from a restaurant supply warehouse owned by Greek restaurateurs. The brand is Lefas, it is EVOO, and has a good, fresh olive flavor. It's fairly inexpensive, and everyone who tastes it, loves it. I use it for cooking, salads, and with herbs for dipping. They only carry it in a 3 litre can. FWIW.
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Old 11-24-2006, 03:33 PM   #19
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bullseye, your source of olive oil is a more credible one than the supermarket shelves. The same can be said for skilletlicker's small middle-eastern market.
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Old 11-24-2006, 05:05 PM   #20
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Just got in, just logged on, and am fascinated by your replies so far.
THANKS!! To you all
Now let me try and clear up some doubts/questions/queries.

Bigdog: I have no objection to Bertolli either. However - it already exists here in Venezuela, which is why I want a NEW brand. I'll be ruthlessly honest and admit that this is a commercial venture; although if the oil is really good, I might just be able to create a cult!!
Ishbel: that's the sort of wondrous item I'm seeking. Something off the beaten track!
Ayrton/Boufa: Greek oils are definitely an option, in my book. I'm not particularily worried if I manage to import one lot - then never do it again. The important thing is innovation,opportunity,creativity!
skilletlicker: Yep - I saw some Turkish olive oil on the internet yesterday. I'm sure there are some excellent options around. It's a question of trying them!
Fraidknot: People over here will go bananas over any new product. It's a strange phenomenon to me, but that's how it is. The poorest kids in the slums here run around in $200 a pair Nikes, but eat cornbread three times a day. Wierd, but true. Anything new is purchased with a frenzy - and that's what I'm betting on!
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