Thursday, November 22, 2007

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a staple in Italy. A staple in the kitchen, and a major source of production and jobs in Italy. Olive trees line the Tuscan hillside with their sage and silvery green leaves. They are a beautiful site. The Mediterranean countries produce 95% of the olive oil in the world.

There are many types of olive oil depending on how it is pressed and when. Italian olive oil can obtain a denominazione di origini protteta (denomination of protected origin) if the olive tress come from certain areas of Italy, just like certain wines.

In Santa Croce, this weekend, there was a tent set up with different olive oil producers demonstrating and selling their wares. Olive oils, like wines, have different characteristics based on where they are grown. There is a certain way to taste olive oils.

Olive oil is said to have heath benefits because it is comprised of more monounsaturated fat that other oils. In the United States, producers of olive oil may place the following health claim on product labels:
1. Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about two tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil. To achieve this possible benefit, olive oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day.[10]

I love olive oil, but my pallette for tasting them is not as developed as my wine tasting pallette. I can detect the ones that are more salty, nutty, etc. Just like wine though, I pretty much like them all!

It’s no wonder that Italians life span on average is 3 years longer than the USA, and the second highest in the world (behind Japan). I have done my body a service this year with all of the olive oil, red wine, and chocolate I have eaten!

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