Food For Thought — July 8, 2016 at 12:35 pm

Mamma Mia: Extra Virgin Olive Oil is Taking Over America

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olive oil

The European Olive Oil Council and the Italian government are touring the United States to spread the word about Flavor Your Life, a program designed to educate and raise awareness about the benefits and delicious possibilities found in Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil. We couldn’t be happier to have been a part of their journey.

This collaboration also served to christen the Farchioni’s, a family with centuries old agricultural roots in Umbria, Italy, as the official Extra Virgin Olive Oil brand of EuropeFarchioni oil is available at Whole Foods North Atlantic Region (New York metro market), Gourmet Garage in NYC, Best Markets in Long Island and Adams Fairacre north of New York City. In addition to the breadth of olive oils, the Farchioni family also produces their own wine and beer from their illustrious plot of land in Umbria.

olive oil tasting

Chef Andrea Tiberi presented a spectacular tasting menu utilizing the full portfolio of Farchioni Extra Virgin Olive Oil. An informative (and delicious) evening was MC’d by Lou DiPalo, owner of DiPalo’s Fine Foods, a purveyor of classic Italian kitchen staples in Little Italy. DiPalo’s has been around for over a hundred years, and pride themselves on offering the best, freshest ingredients you can find. DiPalo himself is a wonderful host: knowledgeable but not condescending, and entertaining without straying from the matter at hand.

Olive oil is extremely similar to wine in the way that it is grown, harvested, and classified. Both are affected by light, exposure to oxygen, climate, and soil, and both take on vastly different properties when grown in different places across the globe. Tasting olive oil is not dissimilar to tasting wine: you swirl the oil in a cup (to slightly warm it) sniff it to open your olfactory system, taste a sip, and finally swallow a gulp of it.

olive oil chef

Made by pressing olives without heat or chemicals, or cold pressed, Extra Virgin Olive Oil stands out because of its extremely low levels of acidity. The lower the acidity, the better the quality of the oil. In order to qualify as EVOO, an oil would need to be less than 0.8% acidic. DiPalo recommends pairing EVOO with hearty foods that can stand up to the intense flavor and high smoke point of EVOO. The health benefits are also plentiful, as the polyphenols, Vitamin E, and other natural anti-oxidants help combat metabolic waste. It’s also rich in monosaturated or “good” fats, which lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.

olive oil farro

Some of our favorite dishes of the evening were the Farro and lentil salad, affectionately known as “peasant food” that has emerged over the last few years as desirable a menu item for its health benefits. This farro was no exception: crunchy vegetables gave it texture, and the extra virgin olive oil provided an abundance of flavor. The chittarini, a super thin noodle pasta, was immersed in an Umbrian truffle sauce and plenty of Pecorino cheese. It was our favorite dish of the night.

I’ve been cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil for years, and it was so wonderful to learn more about one of the staples of my kitchen. The Farchioni brand is something I was unfamiliar with prior to this event, and is definitely an upper echelon olive oil producer that I will seek out in the future. Mostly it was enchanting to see a European Council dedicated to the advancement of this product that graces so many American homes.

Twisted Talk: Are you an olive oil fan? What are some of your favorite brands? Discuss below!

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