Olive Oil Times spoke with Italian master chef, Massimiliano Alajmo, often called ‘the Mozart of the stove’ due to his simple yet unique style of cooking where, of course, extra virgin olive figures very predominantly. Alajmo feels olive oil has a lot of innovative potential because it holds aromas better than butter especially when it is combined with water. Consequently he uses olive oil for a lot of his sauces replacing butter and other dairy products like cream. He is able to achieve a creamy consistency without using dairy which makes his sauces and pastries easier to digest. His three choices if he were on a deserted island: olive oil, bread, and wine. “It’s a combination of freshness, the sacred and strength,” he says.
We have found that it is much easier to make a roux with extra virgin olive oil than with butter. The flour dissolves much more easily without clumping. Also olive oil has a much higher smoking point than butter so it does not burn or bubble when making the roux.
The spring was wetter than usual last year, and our trees responded with an especially good crop. Harvest is over and the mill equipment is already stored away until next year. We’ve tasted all the daily batches of oil, selected the barrels for the Mistral, Sierra, and Gold Series mono-varietals, blended, and sent the oils out for Extra Virgin certification. Now, we are gearing up for bottling so that the new oils will be ready to ship as soon as possible, early in March.
We still have the Mistral, Sierra, and the Coratina from the December 2016 harvest available. They have mellowed just a bit with the same nice spiciness and bitterness from the antioxidants. Since the level of polyphenols is so high to begin with in our oils, they only reduce about 5% a year and continue to protect the oil itself, just like they do for our bodies.
Harvest Video and Pictures
We’re happy to share a few pictures from this year’s harvest, as well as a little video here.
Our pleasing amphora-like bottle has served us well for more than a decade. For some time now, we’ve had an eye out for something that would be as beautiful, and yet address a few shortcomings of the shape. You’ll find that our new bottle also has an elegant shape but with better stability, a dripless pour spout under the easy-to-remove cap, and an opaque covering that completely protects the oil from any light. The familiar label design will remain, and because it won’t have to be silk-screened, we’ll be able to release the new vintage oils weeks earlier. We’re delighted to have found a beautiful bottle that looks great and offers all these improvements.
We will begin shipping these new bottles very soon, starting with the Mistral and Sierra.
17th Annual North Yuba Harvest Festival
Once again we are proud to sponsor this year’s harvest festival on October 7th, 10am to 4pm. It will be held at the Alcouffe Community Center at 9185 Marysville Rd., Oregon House, CA 95962. This is the biggest food and wine event in the North Yuba foothills.
North Yuba has received international recognition as a premium wine and olive oil region with local producers garnering coveted medals at major state, national and international competitions.
There will be over 40 vendors this year, including food stalls offering everything from haute cuisine to hot dogs, arts & crafts, antiques, Farmers Market, coffee bistro, and live musical entertainment. Ample children’s activities guarantee a day of family fun.
North Yuba offers a welcome retreat from urban life, we encourage you to check out the lovely AirBnB’s to make this a restful country weekend as well.
Mission San Jose Olive Oil Festival
Saturday & Sunday, October 7 & 8, 2017, 10 am – 5 pm
Join Gianni Stefanini, owner and miller of Apollo Olive Oil, in the Dominican Sisters of MSJ Olive Grove, behind the Historic Old Mission San Jose!
Many olive oil vendors, live music, arts and crafts, great food, and activities for the kids. This is the premier event in the Mission San Jose district!
Olive oil ice cream, you must be joking! No, we’re not – It’s actually quite common in Italy and, boy, is it yummy.
Use a delicate fruity olive oil like the Mistral. The olive oil gives the ice cream a special creaminess. A pinch of salt brings out the flavor (all good dessert makers know you need a little salt), and the pinch of pepper (which looks just like specks of vanilla bean) adds a surprisingly pleasant perk. Top it all off with a little drizzle of Apollo Balsamic Condiment and you’ll have a delicious dessert your friends have probably never tasted before.
This recipe makes one quart.
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup of Apollo Mistral
1 3/4 cups milk
2 cups cream
2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper
With an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together until thick and cream-colored. Lower the mixer speed and slowly drizzle the olive oil into this mixture until no oil droplets remain. When it is fully incorporated, lightly beat in the milk, cream, vanilla, salt, and pepper. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and follow its directions. Enjoy immediately for a soft serve experience, or pop it into the freezer for a firmer texture. In either case, don’t forget to dress it up with a little drizzle of Apollo Balsamic Condiment.
If there’s any left over, just put it in a lidded container and store in the freezer.
Hint: Before closing the lid on your ice cream, lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the ice cream to keep out the air and prevent ice crystals from forming on the surface. You can also use this plastic wrap trick to keep air away from other foods – like guacamole stored in the fridge – greatly reducing oxidation and surface browning.
It has been a hot summer here in Northern California. This has caused the development of the olives to be several weeks behind but it looks like we had a good fruit set so we are hopeful for a bountiful harvest this year. Gianni and Diana have been out carefully pruning the trees in the hot sun. This helps even out the yield from year to year, keeps the tree healthy, and aids in preventing disease. They are also out setting the olive fly traps, thankfully, the fly is less of a problem this year than in years past. It is hard work but very rewarding, what more could you ask for?
A recent article in USA Today highlights a Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine study that found extra virgin olive oil helped reduce the conditions associated with Alzheimer’s. They also found evidence that EVOO preserves the ability to learn and improves memory. The mechanism by which this is achieved is EVOO reduces inflammation in the body including in the brain and it enhances the process of removing toxins and debris from our brains. Alzheimer’s is thought to begin by the reduced ability to remove these toxins.
The study was conducted on mice with one group consuming EVOO compared to a control group not consuming EVOO. After a few months the two groups tested the same, however, the differences began to show up after 9 to 12 months. The mice on a EVOO diet had better learning abilities and spatial memory. It seems good nutrition can take a while before we get noticeable changes. Like all good habits using natural methods, the change is slow but reliable.
Would you like to travel in Italy and deepen your appreciation of its culinary delights? Tour With Us creates itineraries focused on authentic Italian food made from fresh ingredients, and highlighting the diversity of local cuisines and the Slow Food Movement. Their tours offer hands-on cooking classes, cheese and chocolate making workshops, and include time for sightseeing, shopping, wine and olive oil tastings, and relaxation.
Stefano Landini, owner of Tour With Us and a friend of Apollo Olive Oil, grew up in Italy and has personal connections with the restaurant owners, cheesemakers, wine masters, and family farmers that you will meet along the way. He and his wife, Perla, will host you for your journey, taking care of the details so that you’re free to enjoy la dolce vita!
Travel light! Tour With Us offers a maximum tour size of 6 people, to allow flexibility and foster camaraderie. Sign up for an existing tour or put together your own group of friends. Bypassing crowded tourists’ destinations, you’ll discover Italy’s hidden gems, like in the picture below! Visit www.tour-withus.com for more detailed information.
Our Mistral and Sierra both won gold medals in the New York International Olive Oil competition held at the end of April this year. Both oils won golds at all three of the major competitions this year. We typically do not enter our Gold Series oils into competitions because we make very small quantities therefore you will not see them with medal citations on our web site. However if you read our customer reviews on the Gold Series you will find that they are many people’s favorites.
We are very pleased to announce that the two flagship oils we always enter in competitions – the Sierra and the Mistral – both won gold medals at both the Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition and at the California State Fair Olive Oil Competition. Soon, we’ll hear the results from the New York International Olive Oil Competition as well.
Our Gold Series mono-varietals also garnered highly respected praise in a small private tasting with Pier Paolo Arca, an internationally recognized olive oil expert and Panel Head for the Montiferru Olive Oil Competition in Sardinia Italy. He had come to California for the hard work of judging dozens of olive oils at the Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition. After all that tasting, he remarked that our Aglandau stood out as among the finest he’d tasted here this year.
Each year at the end of the milling season, we taste every one of our 50-gallon barrels and select the best four barrels to be our limited release mono-varietal Gold Series oils. There’s not enough to enter in competitions, but you can know that they are the best of the best we produce. To learn more about these oils and to purchase visit www.apollooliveoil.com.
North Sierra Wine Trail
This spring’s annual North Sierra Wine Trail will be the weekend of April 22nd-23rd, from 12 to 5 pm. Experience 12 boutique wineries nestled in our little stretch of the Sierra foothills between Oroville and Dobbins. Taste small batch artisan wine making at its finest. Meet the real owners and wine makers for answers to all your questions. We’ll be there too, sampling our new oils and sharing our story! Visit www.northsierrawinetrail.com for more information, tickets, and trail maps.
Tip: We recommend checking out the lovely AirBnBs on the Oregon House/Dobbins end of the trail, for a restful mini-vacation out in the country.