Olive oil is one of the least understood items in the public domain. People tend to only purchase a bottle with little about it, let alone the differences between a $7 bottle and a $30 one. The price tag doesn’t necessarily equate to quality. We have yet to be guided about the nuances of olive oil or how various olives from different producers and cultivars create distinct oils. This is where my passion lies – in educating people about the awareness of olive oil and what constitutes good quality.
As someone who has spent a considerable amount of time in the olive oil industry – involved in harvesting, producing, tasting and interacting with fellow professionals – I have questioned why we put in so much effort and attention when the average consumer is not fully aware of this incredible product. The answer lies in our passion. It reigns supreme above everything else.
A New Generation of Olive Oil Producers
The level of passion among the new generation of olive oil producers can be compared to that of the wine industry. The passion for olive oil production can sometimes be even greater than that for wine. While some companies rely solely on wine as their main source of income, olive oil producers are incredibly passionate about their product, even if it only makes up a small percentage of their revenue. Many companies that produce wine and olive oil tend to focus more on the quality of their olive oil.
This passion is reflected in the farming practices of the new olive oil producers, who have learned from past mistakes and developed effective and correct techniques. As a result, numerous Italian companies are now producing exceptional olive oils.
Olive Oil is a Main Ingredient
Olive oil has many different qualities. Every highly passionate person I’ve interviewed agrees that, first and foremost, it’s an ingredient, not a condiment. It changes the flavour and value of a dish. Once the new generation of olive oil producers, myself included, can inspire consumers to pay attention to this, the goal is that they will understand how important it is since it goes directly into what they eat.
The difference between fresh and properly produced oil and rancid one is huge. A proper extra virgin olive oil is a far superior product than we tend to find on a supermarket shelf. Not always the fault of the retailer or producer as it is a delicate product, but the difference is massive. It’s a natural product of excellence that, especially when properly paired, can exponentially heighten the positive attributes of a dish.
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