Greece apparently devotes around 60% of its cultivated land to growing olives so it’s no surprise that the country is the third largest exporter of olive oil, and one of the biggest consumers of it.
Poppy Watt discovers the Candiasoil range of olive oils, produced on the island of Crete, in the sun-kissed Mediterranean.
The island’s soil and climate favour olive trees, which produce olive oil with a magnificent aroma, fruity flavour and biological and therapeutic properties.
When selecting an olive oil look for the harvest date because, unlike wine, olive does not improve with age. It is good for about two years if stored in optimum conditions, which means in a dark, room-temperature cupboard. Light destroys olive oil, so although it may look pretty decorating your kitchen stow it away.
Look at the variety of colours. The oil may be deep green, light bright green, golden, or any shades in-between. The colour depends on the pigments within the olives when harvested. As a rule, olive oil of a mainly green colour shows that the harvest took place early, when the olives were unripe, and chlorophyll permeates the product.
If the colour is brown or black, then the oil was made from olives that fell to the ground. This olive oil has a milder, sweeter taste.
An intensely yellow olive oil may also mean that it has been subjected to oxidation-rancidity due to exposure to the sun and air.
Apart from its health properties, olive oil also is also great for cooking because it has rich flavouring substances and micro-ingredients that make meat, fish and vegetables taste better. It can also preserve food and increase its longevity.
If added at the end of cooking, it preserves all its properties; when eaten raw, it fully reveals its delicious flavour. Olive oil also adds a twist to the taste of salads and vegetables and helps prepare vinaigrette-type sauces.
It is ideal for frying food, since fats and other oils (sunflower oil, seed oil, etc.) oxidise during cooking due to high temperatures.
It can be used to preserve food (e.g. cheese, vegetables, fish).
I have included a few culinary ideas but for more information visit www.candiasoil.com
Candiasoil extra virgin olive oil is available to buy in Tesco RRP £6.50.
Scented olive oil
Scented olive oil is used in almost every cuisine in the world. It is normally used raw because cooking alters its flavour as well as the food flavour. Creating scented olive oil is quite easy:
First step: Use a glass bottle and fill it with your preferred herbs and spices (rose-mary and green pepper, bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, basil and garlic). It is important that all herbs used should be completely dry.
Second step: Pick an olive oil with soft - neutral taste and add it to the dry glass bottle filled with the herbs.
Third step: Store the bottle in a dry, cool place for about 20 days, shaking every now and then.
Your olive oil is now ready and can be used to accompany salads, grilled vegetables, cheeses, etc.
Choriatiki (village salad)
2 medium-sized, ‘hard’ tomatoes
1 medium-sized onion
100 gr. Feta cheese
Cut the tomatoes into small pieces. Peel the cucumbers and slice them. Slice the onion thinly. Place all ingredients together into a bowl and sprinkle with salt; add the feta cheese, cut into small pieces. Pour olive oil and sprinkle with oregano. If you add olives make sure you mix well so the olive oil touches all ingredients.
Half a kg of full fat yoghurt
2 big cucumbers
3 cloves of garlic
4-5 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tea spoon of salt
2 tablespoons of vinegar
1 tablespoon of dill or peppermint (optional)
Peel the cucumbers, grate them and make sure you squeeze the liquid out of them. Crush the garlic and salt using a mortar and pestle. Use a bowl to mix the yoghurt with the cucumber and garlic, and continue adding the olive oil and vinegar in turn whilst mixing constantly. Add the dill or peppermint and keep refrigerated.
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What size bottles are the Viannos oils available in?
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