EVOO MARKETPLACE EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL AND BALSAMIC VINEGAR BLOG
Our Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar blog highlights all things olive oil and balsamic including trends and information which affect YOU the consumer when making olive oil and balsamic vinegar purchasing decisions.
BLOG POST 2-25-17
THE SKY IS NOT FALLING!
LADIES & GENTLEMEN THE SKY IS NOT FALLING! Wow I read this article and once again scratched my head. Why do they spread such fear, do they have any clue of what they’re writing about? Long story short, our Worldwide supply at EVOO Marketplace is just fine! As we’ve been preaching year after year for the past ten years it’s NOT about the country of origin, instead it’s all about lab testing which ensures FRESHNESS, PURITY, and the HIGHEST QUALITY all of which influence the HEALTH BENEFITS of every EVOO! This means that if one country has a bad crop year other countries from both Southern and Northern hemispheres should compensate.
These articles always paint two countries as the ONLY countries in the World that produce Olive Oil and that is simply NOT true. Yes, Spain is a major Olive Oil producer and exporter but against popular belief Italy exports very little of the good Olive Oil. Most of the so called Italian “EVOOs” found in stores are nothing more than olives grown or oils produced in another country which are imported into and bottled in Italy just to obtain the Italian stamp.
The real story, short; we at EVOO Marketplace work with a Worldwide importer/grower who sources the PUREST, FRESHEST, HIGHEST QUALITY Extra-Virgin Olive Oils from estates in both Northern (U.S.A., Greece, Italy, Spain, North Africa) and Southern (South Africa, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, Australia) Hemisphere countries. This means that we will always have a FRESH EVOO available! Equally as important, ALL of our EVOOs are rigorously LAB TESTED to ensure PURITY, FRESHNESS, and QUALITY all of which directly relate to the HEALTH BENEFITS of each specific EVOO. Comprehensive lab testing is critical because without it the consumer is blind in their purchase (more on that subject in blog sections below). Currently we have ten of the World’s finest Extra Virgin Olive Oils available with many more on their way!
In regards to the chef in the article, maybe he should purchase from us, as our prices have held steady for years. Slight increases are to be expected with every commodity but we promise not to play into the fear and jack our prices up! So take a deep breath and if there truly is an Olive Oil shortage this coming year lets hope it’s a shortage in the garbage Olive Oils infiltrating our market. Please read sections below on how to tell if an EVOO is good or bad.
BLOG POST 2-24-17
WHAT THE HECK IS A CHEESE CURD?
Growing up in Wisconsin there was never a question as to what a cheese curd was. Since we’ve started offering FRESH cheese curds at our metro stores the question comes up on nearly a daily basis along with the question-“What do you do with them?” To put it simple; cheese curds are cheese, not an alien life form, and you eat them. In more detail, cheese curds are the byproduct formed when the curd is separated from the whey during the cheese making process. The result is a glorious gastronomic delight.
Cheese curds are also commonly referred to as “Squeaky Cheese”. The squeak of the curd is the most important aspect when determining if the cheese curd is FRESH. We at EVOO Marketplace are super lucky to work with a local company Cream City Market who provides us super FRESH Squeaky Cheese Curds each and every week from Wisconsin. If they DON’T SQUEAK they’re NOT FRESH!
Some are White and some are Yellow, what’s the difference? Same life-form except White Cheese Curds are devoid of the NATURAL ingredient Annatto. Annatto is made from the pulp of the Achiote tree and is used to turn cheese yellow. It’s completely harmless and flavorless.
So now that we understand this cosmic treat what the heck do you do with them? Another simple answer; you eat them! Let the cheese curd come up to room temperature for maximum squeakiness. Pop them in your mouth for a snack. toss over a salad, make Poutine (a Canadian gastronomic treat), deep fry them, nuke them, skewer them with sausage, make a grilled cheese curd sandwich, make a cheese curd quesadilla, cheese curd mac and cheese, pat into a cheese curd hamburger, or whatever your cheese curd heart desires.
Where to buy FRESH, SQUEAKY, Cheese Curds? Cream City Market at their various outdoor markets and event shows along with both EVOO Marketplace metro stores. Besides offering phenomenal classic cheese curds we also have garlic & dill curds, jalapeno curds and mozzarella whips. Please keep in mind supplies are limited weekly so that we can maintain the freshest cheese curds possible.
BLOG POST 2-23-17
"FAKE" OLIVE OIL-SAY WHAT???
We’ve had numerous customers mention this article that has been circulating around FaceBook and the Internet. Yes there is truth to this article but unfortunately because of loose industry standards there are far more than just 14 “fake” olive oils. Overall, I’m not a huge fan of the term “fake” as we are dealing mostly with three industry problems; CUTTING (DILUTING), FRESHNESS and/or both. In regards to Cutting/Diluting of an EVOO with another inferior oil then yes the term “Fake” is valid. When referring to FRESHNESS, the EVOO may have started off legitimate (Pure & Fresh) but over time, sitting on a store shelf, the EVOOs’ chemical properties naturally drift toward RANCIDITY. The EVOO may still be PURE but you can kiss the HEALTH BENEFITS goodbye! When the majority of commercially available “EVOO’s” DO NOT list the OLIVE HARVEST/CRUSH DATE the consumer has NO IDEA of its FRESHNESS.
Equally as important, the solution the article provides on how to tell if an EVOO is legit is completely MISLEADING and based on Oz mythology. Yes, it is true that monounsaturated fats will become semi-solid when cooled (refrigerated) but the PROBLEM is that ALL OILS (Fats) SOLIDIFY WHEN COOLED to varying degrees. For example, COCONUT OIL, a SATURATED fat, is SOLID at room temperature (YUCK). With that in mind, there is no way to tell the purity of an Olive Oil by a cooling test!
Differentiating between “FAKE” and “THE REAL DEAL” is exactly where our business finds its niche. ALL of our Extra Virgin Olive Oils are RIGOROUSLY LAB TESTED. We analyze six physical metrics of the olive crop shortly after harvest/crush. Taken together, these olive properties tell us PURITY, FRESHNESS, QUALITY, HEALTH BENEFITS, SMOKE POINT RANGE, and the HEALTH/QUALITY of olives at the time of harvest/crush. The stringency for our EVOOs to be considered retail worthy is set extremely high compared to the loose Olive Oil industry regulations. What this means is that YOU the consumer can have the utmost CONFIDENCE in our EVOOs being legit. As we’ve preached so many times, without the NUMBERS (Lab Results) the consumer has NO IDEA what they’re purchasing.
Furthermore, industry “certifications/labels” without LAB RESULTS are nothing more than a MARKETING distraction. The lab test numbers level the playing field and allow for comparisons to be made across the Extra Virgin Olive Oil industry. As always, we hope you shop with us but we are also realistic and understand it’s human nature to be tempted. Fancy bottles, high prices, special labels/symbols/certifications, or stores that look “similar” to our original Colorado concept mean absolutely NOTHING if the reseller cannot provide FULL lab test results for each and every “EVOO” they offer.
A note about California EVOO’s-YES we love them, and YES we love to support the United States economy. In fact, we currently have three amazing FULLY LAB TESTED California EVOOs in stock. Although California has made great strides to ensure purity of EVOOs produced in California the STRINGENCY and COMPREHENSIVENESS of lab testing still does NOT compare to the Ultra-Premium Standard, which we adhere to. The problem here is not necessarily purity but rather FRESHNESS and QUALITY. As an EVOO ages it’s intrinsic HEALTH BENEFITS decline. With that in mind, it’s safe to assume that if a certified pure EVOO sits on a big-box store shelf for an undetermined amount of time without knowing the exact harvest/crush date then the HEALTH BENEFITS of that specific EVOO are unknown and most likely LOST. Point being, without comprehensive lab testing and knowledge of the olives’ harvest/crush date health benefits cannot be implied. This is true for ANY EVOO coming from ANY COUNTRY and is the exact reason why country of origin is meaningless. At the end of the day, isn’t the reason for intake of EVOO all about the HEALTH BENEFITS ascribed by the Mediterranean Diet? I’ll save the ORGANIC discussion for another time but keep in mind the same argument above holds true for “Organic” certified. The Organic label doesn’t mean it’s of the highest quality or that it has an indefinite shelf-life. It just means it was grown under certified organic conditions.
Long story short; ONLY comprehensive, stringent lab testing along with the date of olive harvest/crush will provide the consumer with knowledge of PURITY, FRESHNESS, QUALITY, and HEALTH BENEFITS of a specific EVOO. For more information please visit our FAQ section on our website.
BLOG POST 2-1-16
HOW TO AVOID ADULTERATED EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Wow, seems the CBS 60 Minute piece & the Denver Post article on adulterated/authentic olive oil has everyone buzzing. It’s all good and it’s nice to see national & local awareness being brought to this aspect of the food industry. As Colorado’s original olive oil & aged balsamic sampling room we have been preaching the subject of how do you know your EVOO is authentic for years. Educating the consumer on PURE & FRESH Extra-Virgin Olive Oil & AUTHENTIC Barrel Aged Balsamic Vinegar is an integral part of our business and is what makes us unique. In addition to our in-store expert knowledge our website contains a wealth of information on these topics. We also highlight this subject in our “Don’t Get Fooled ” section of our newsletter each month. Unfortunately, the flood of imposter products is all around us including grocery stores (YES, even the so-called “healthy/whole” ones), malls, farmers markets, and other boutique olive oil shops.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN CHOOSING AN "AUTHENTIC" EVOO
Unfortunately, what these recent media pieces leave out or fail to elaborate on are the two most important criteria when choosing a PURE & FRESH EVOO:
1. Knowing the Olive Harvest/Crush Date.
2. Having a complete EVOO CHEMISTRY PROFILE.
WHY ARE HARVEST DATES & CHEMISTRY PROFILES ESSENTIAL?
Without knowing the Harvest/Crush Date or having a complete EVOO Chemistry Profile the consumer has NO CLUE as to the QUALITY, PURITY, or FRESHNESS of that EVOO!!! It doesn’t matter where the EVOO comes from Italy, Spain, Greece, California, Australia, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, or Grandmothers farm, without this information the consumer is left guessing. Point being, having a set of specs provides the consumer with a baseline to compare each EVOO against one another, a way to level the playing field. This is precisely what makes EVOO Marketplace special and unique as we don’t just say the EVOO is ” the best “, but rather we provide our customers the Chemistry Profile for each EVOO and allow them to sample so they can make an informed purchasing decision. Honestly in our shop one could close their eyes and choose any of our chemistry profiled, award winning EVOO’s as they are all of the highest quality!
OLIVE HARVEST & CRUSH DATE
A critical piece of information which helps establish FRESHNESS/AGE of a specific EVOO. PURE, FRESH, HIGH QUALITY EVOO has a shelf life of ~18 months depending on storage conditions and Chemistry Profile (certain chemical compositions allow for extended storage). "Use Before" or "Best Before" terminology is NOT a CRUSH/HARVEST date.
OLIVE OIL CHEMISTRY PROFILE
A complete Chemistry Profile is essential to knowing the FRESHNESS, PURITY & QUALITY of a specific EVOO. Having a partial list of the metrics below does not suffice!!
FREE FATTY ACIDS (FFA's)
Relates to integrity of the olives at time of crush, Quality, & Smoke Point. Poor quality fruit (olive) will have high FFAs. High FFAs = Low Quality EVOO. Low FFAs = Increased Smoke Point.
Relates to HEALTHY Monounsaturated Fat levels (MUFAs), Purity & Quality. EVOO’s cut/diluted with another oil can be detected by analysis of Oleic Acid content. Olive Oils South of 55% LOOK OUT!!
Relates to healthy antioxidant levels, Quality, Freshness & Smoke Point. High Polyphenols = Increased Health benefit & Increased Smoke Point.
Relates to the integrity of the olive at time of crush, Freshness & Quality. High Peroxide content (exposure to air) = poor/aged fruit = low quality = low quality EVOO.
Relates directly to Age or Freshness of the EVOO. High DAGs = fresh unripe fruit = high quality EVOO.
Relates to the Age, Ripeness, and Freshness of the EVOO. Low PPPs = high quality unripe fruit = high quality EVOO.
LONG STORY SHORT....
Because of the infiltration of imposter/adulterated products into every aspect of the marketplace the consumer needs to be educated!!! As we always hope you will shop with us and with confidence we do realize temptation exists. Our best advice- if you visit another olive oil shop, no matter where, and they can not provide the Harvest/Crush Date AND complete Chemistry Profile for a specific EVOO then we recommend you don’t waste your time or money!!