Today I have something a bit different to share with you. Of course, you are used to me sharing delicious food along with great wine. However, this article is a foodie delight. In fact, there is no wine to be found; instead we are going to journey through the world of Sicilian olive oil.
Yes, I saw the 60 Minutes warning at the beginning of the year regarding fraud in Italian olive oil. That is why this article brings you such good news. That riveting story did not warn to cease purchasing Italian olive oil; rather, it brought to light to make sure you KNOW where the olive oil is produced. The 60 Minutes story was produced by Guy Campanile, an Italian-American. Guy explained, “Olive oil fraud has gone on for the better part of four millennia. The difference now is that the food supply chain is so vast, so global, and so lucrative that it’s easy for the bad guys to either introduce adulterated olive oils or mix in lower quality olive oils with extra-virgin olive oil.” Thankfully Guy did not leave us foodies without a solution. He recommends looking beyond the lovely scenic photo on the label to see where the oil is actually from. He goes on to explain he is encouraged when “it’s from a city in Sicily or Puglia, known for producing olive oil. Great news!
Ravida Olive Oil is produced in Sicily. Ravida is a family owned and operated company whose mission is to produce “olive oil like first class wine, a full expression of the olives [they] extract from.” Wild Mediterranean olive trees at the heart of the family farm La Gurra were grafted with an edible variety over 300 years ago. These trees are still in production today! Over the past few years Ravida has increased their production by carefully selecting high quality growers who follow Ravida’s philosophy of natural growth and quality. This allows Ravida olive oil to maintain its low acidity levels. Ravida has a wide selection of olive oils from organic, to classic, to everyday olive oil used for cooking. Additionally, Ravida crafts a delicious natural lemon flavored olive oil, a Marsala vinegar, and a delicious selection of sea salts. Furthermore, Natalia has an award winning cook book that features every day Sicilian cuisine, which is light, fresh, and healthy. Natalia also has many of her recipes on the Ravida web site.
The distinctive flavour of RAVIDA olive oil is the result of the careful blend, often natural, of three local Sicilian varieties: Cerasuola with its fragrant full-bodied oil, Biancolilla with its delicate aroma and Nocellara with its fruity olives.
On my 10 day Italian harvest extravaganza sponsored by Gran Via we were fortunate to experience Ravida olive oil first hand at a private tasting and lunch with Natalia. Natalia offered us some important tips regarding high quality olive oil. Sicilian olive oil is golden green in color. Olive oil should be fully consumed 12-15 months after harvest. Store olive oil away from light and heat. Ravida olive oil has an intense, aroma of grass and pepper with an important bitterness on the back of the palate. This peppery bitterness is a result of the anti-oxidants. It should be present in all high quality olive oils. Olive oil should always be seasoned. Adding a pinch of sea salt will enhance the flavor of the olive oil. Once opened use olive oil so it does not oxidize. Over time if not use olive oil will lose its aroma, but if it is stored properly it will not become rancid. When cooking with olive oil the oil can be drained and cleaned then reused up to three times.
Here is a photo journey of the outstanding meal enjoyed with Natalia Ravida featuring fresh Sicilian ingredients she picked up at Mercado de Capo earlier the same morning and her high quality olive oils.
I would not take the time to share these delicious olive oils with you as a tease. Ravida olive oils are available in the US through Williams-Sonoma locations and online at Williams-Sonoma! Additionally, for a wider selection of Ravida oils and salts you may order direct from the Ravida web site and your order will be shipped to you.
What is your favorite olive oil? Do you take care to insure you are purchasing high quality, authentic Italian olive oil? Do you cook with olive oil?
Get yourself of Ravida olive oil and let me know what you think.