Let me tell you a story........
"But you can’t cook with olive oil! It smokes at a low temperature!"
I was doing a tasting at Farro’s yesterday and this lady was adamant that this was true!
What was I to do, knowing that this is totally untrue and a common misconception?
So I said “Have you smelled the olive oil that you are using for cooking?”
I poured some of our oil into a taster and said “smell this first and then have a sip”
She did that and I followed up with “I bet it doesn’t smell and taste like the oil that you are cooking with?”
She looked a bit stunned so I said “I bet that when you smell your oil it will smell rancid? And it won’t taste like that – you’ll probably want to spit it out”
What’s this all about?
I went on: “the reason that it smokes at a low temperature is that it isn’t extra virgin olive oil. I will be adulterated with canola oil, which you should NEVER put in your body, or hazelnut oil from Africa, or sunflower oil. But the label on the bottle will state Extra Virgin Olive Oil.”
“is that so?” she replied. “ Isn’t there supposed to be truth in labelling in New Zealand?
I went on to tell her that the majority of imported olive oils from Europe are fake or counterfeit oils that would completely fail the tests that we have to pass to get our oils certified as extra virgin. I explained that if she paid around $13 or $14 for a litre of olive oil it could not be extra virgin quality..
I explained: “Azzuro’s olive oil is certified extra virgin by an accredited laboratory in Melbourne, which means that it has a smoke point of 210C, and we don’t cook at that temperature, as a result the oil brings out the flavours of whatever we are cooking, - so we get great tastes. We have used the healthiest oil bar none - it fights the free radicals through the antioxidants in olive oil.“
My final questions were: “ If the top chef’s around the world, like , Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, and Peter Gordon and many others cook with extra virgin olive oil (the real stuff) why wouldn’t you?”
“Would you like to take a bottle now and really taste the flavours of the dish you are planning to cook tonight?”
Truth in labelling?
I said “you asked about the government policing truth in labelling? The real answer is that they are not prepared to do a thing about it so it’s left to producers like us to convince people like you that there is a huge difference between the cheap imported fake oil and the genuine product made purely from olives, preferably grown in NZ.
We work hard to produce a product made from olives we grow and then process in our olive mill. We know that it is pure extra virgin olive oil, meets the standards of the international Olive Council, but more importantly, our own health is a testimony that Azzuro’s olive oil that we use every day in our kitchen has kept us in good nick.“