Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Andalucian Hillside with Olive Trees

Posted by HelloAndalucian Hillside with Olive Trees

This is the image that was browsing languidly through my brain as my tastebuds sent messages from yesterday's marinated mushrooms recipe. Suddenly, I was back in the Andalucian hills, learning about olive oils -- no airline ticket required.

Extra virgin olive oils are taken from the first pressing of fresh olives. To receive this designation, the oil must have less than one percent oleic acid. "First Cold Pressed" indicates that no heat was used in the crushing process, allowing the maximum amount of fresh, true scent and flavor to be retained.

Wonderful, fascinating olive oils are produced in many countries of the world. France, Italy and Spain jockey for positions of predominance. In any given year, one or the other country will produce the most, or export the most, or do something olive-oil-significant the most!

The tour guide in the Spanish olive oil mill was quick to point out that not all olive oil shipped from Italy is actually from olives grown and pressed in Italy. Only those labelled "Product of Italy" adhere to that requirement. A significant amount of olive oil that is marketed by Italian olive oil companies is actually Spanish oil that has been shipped to Italy for packaging and export. Based on my tasting of Spanish oils, this olive-oil globalization seems to be a fine thing indeed, for we consumers. All of these countries -- and others -- produce superb oils and provide an extraordinary ingredient base for our use.

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