On January 2nd and 3rd, 60 Minutes ran three segments, The “FBI of food”, Don’t fall victim to olive oil scam, and AgroMafia, exposing Mafia involvement and the fight against it, in the entire Italian food chain, including olive oil fraud of course. Exports are certainly no exception. Estimates run as high as 80% that what is labeled as Italian extra virgin olive oil here in the U.S., simply aren’t. An easy way fake olive oil is made from colorless, flavorless seed oil is shown, using chlorophyll and beta-carotene. Americans are also deceived by another practice – doctoring a defective olive oil, and calling it ‘Extra Virgin’. Watch the segment here.
Back in November Apollo Olive Oil had the honor of being chosen as a Finalist for a 2016 Good Food Award. At last on January 16th, the winners were ceremoniously announced and Apollo was among them! Gianni received the award from the hands of Carlo Petrini, the founder of the International Slow Food Movement. There were a total of 1,927 entrants from across the U.S., with just 242 winners in 13 categories. Of the 11 winners in the ‘Oil’ category, only five were for olive oil, of which two others were also extra virgin olive oil. The Good Food Award recognizes that the Sierra and Mistral are of excellent quality and produced with sustainable methods benefiting local food economies.
We are very proud of winning this Good Food Award because it is the only competition that includes sustainability as a critical component. The application included many questions pertaining to farming practices, processing, and packaging that were all aimed at choosing those producers with the highest sustainability standards. So with Apollo Olive Oil you can be sure you are not only getting the healthiest and highest quality olive oil, you are also getting the one using the highest standards of production from farm to table.
With Apollo Olive Oil, you have several gift-giving options – the beautiful golden gift box, your gift message on a nicely printed card, and the extended 15% holiday savings for orders over $100.
Now, in keeping with our Holiday tradition, when you place an order over $100 just enter the SUPERSAVER coupon code for the 15% discount. That’s a perfect way to stock your pantry AND do your holiday shopping in one transaction.
Our gift to you: A 15% savings PLUS free shipping on any order over $100 by using the coupon code SUPERSAVER.
Good from Today through New Year’s Eve!
A new study from the University of Granada shows that cooking with extra virgin olive oil increases the phenol content over that of the raw vegetable. Some in the past have thought that the cooking process destroys the polyphenols in EVO where this study shows the polyphenols are absorbed by the vegetables. The cooking method that displayed the highest level of increase was deep frying, at the same time it showed the highest increase in fat content. Sauteing in EVO showed a moderate increase in phenol content. While boiling in water showed a decrease in phenol content. While not addressed by the study, the water from boiling vegetables is generally considered to be full of nutrients and can be used beneficially in other ways, such as for soup.
They also found that cooking in EVO actually breaks some bonds that free up more polyphenols. This shows evidence that disputes the theory that the polyphenols in real extra virgin olive oil are destroyed during the cooking process.
Once again we are proud to sponsor this year’s harvest festival on September 26th and 27th, 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 60 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.
As far as we can tell we are the only California producer that makes a mono-varietal from the Grossane olive. With over 20 varieties we are constantly experimenting with making some of California’s most interesting oils. With the Gold Series we choose the varieties that produced the very best oil for that particular year. This year we felt the Grossane was particularly distinctive and so we bottled a very small quantity that is only available on our website at www.apollooliveoil.com.
GROSSANE is originally from France. Our beautiful, young trees stretch across the western face of our orchard, and produce pleasant walnut, grassy, and fresh-cut vegetable flavors. With its long finish, GROSSANE is best raw, on steamed vegetables and fresh salads. (Delicate intensity – Milled December 2014 – 375 ml)
Legend has it that the GROSSANE was brought back from the crusades to the southern part of the Rhone valley. There, its plump, rosy pink and green olives are harvested for oil production, and later when the big olives have ripened black, for table olives.
[Certified Extra Virgin and Certified Organic | Free Fatty Acid: 0.25% |
682 mg/Kg polyphenols + 196 mg/Kg tocopherols = 878 mg/Kg total antioxidants]
Each year after the season’s milling is over, we start tasting the various batches of new oil and begin putting together our blends for the year. We always produce our MISTRAL and SIERRA flagship oils, aiming for the same award-winning flavor profiles and sufficient quantities for the growing demand for these, our Premium Extra Virgin oils. Then, we turn our attention to the Gold Series oils. We select a few distinctive barrels of pure, unblended oil from specific cultivars and microclimates of our orchard. With almost 20 different olive varieties to work with, there are many special flavors and varying intensities to choose from each year. Finally, we consider the SALÚTE, (pronounced suh-loot-tay) meaning “Good Health!” in Italian. It is the final blend made each year from our remaining batches of oil. Harvested and milled to the same exacting standards as all the rest of our oils, the flavor profile of the SALÚTE can change from year to year. This is our all-around oil that we offer in two larger sizes as our Economy oil, still organic, still certified extra virgin. You will never buy an inferior oil from Apollo.
This year there are five different Gold Series oils, available only on our website, www.apollooliveoil.com. In the next few newsletters we’re going to tell you more about each of these, starting here with the TAGGIASCA.
TAGGIASCA comes from Liguria, the Italian Riviera along the northwestern coast of Italy, and is known across the border in France as Niçoise. Unlike many other olive cultivars, TAGGIASCA is able to thrive in Liguria’s diverse microclimates from sea level up to 2000 ft elevation. More than that, the oil of TAGGIASCA is prized for it’s soft, fruity flavor, and is considered throughout Italy as one of the best olive oils. Amazingly, the ripe olives are so soft and mild it’s said they don’t need to be cured when used in cooking. (We’ll try that next harvest!)
TAGGIASCA does well in our orchard, flourishing at 1950 ft elevation, and producing an excellent, sweet oil that leaves a clean feeling palate. With a scent of cinnamon, flavors of sweet almond and arugula, TAGGIASCA is ideal raw, with fresh bread, mild foods, and creamy dishes.
Delicate intensity – Milled December 2014 – 375 ml
Certified Extra Virgin and Certified Organic
Free Fatty Acid: 0.25%
630 mg/Kg polyphenols + 165 mg/Kg tocopherols = 795 mg/Kg total antioxidants
Pesto sauce comes from Liguria, where the mild TAGGIASCA is considered THE oil for making pesto. If you want to prepare a real Pesto alla Genovese, here is the official Italian ‘Pesto alla Genovese’ recipe by the Consorzio del Pesto Genovese. Translated as follows by the Italy Magazine:
Ingredients: (Makes sauce for 600 g of pasta)
Genoese basil – 50 grams, preferably young and fresh.
Ligurian Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 1/2 cup
Grated Cheese – 6 tablespoons of Parmigiano Reggiano DOP or Grana Padano DOP
and 2 tablespoons of Pecorino
Garlic – 2 cloves
Pine nuts – 1 tablespoon of nuts from the Mediterranean
Walnuts – (optional) 1 tablespoon may be substituted for pine nuts
Coarse Sea Salt – a few grains
Wash the basil in cold water and set aside to dry on a towel.
In the mortar, crush the cloves of garlic with a few grains of salt until the garlic has softened. Begin adding basil leaves (but don’t add all at once!)
The essential oils of basil are stored in the veins of the leaves. For the best taste, you must be careful not to tear or shear the leaves. Use a gentle circular motion, slowly crush the basil by moving the pestle around the edges of the mortar.
When you notice a bright green liquid being drawn from the leaves, it is time to add the pine nuts.
Once softened, add the cheeses, and finally the olive oil in a very thin stream.
Preparation should take place at room temperature and the sauce should be served immediately to avoid oxidation. So pour it over the pasta, possibly linguine or strozza preti, and enjoy!
We keep running across website claims that extra virgin olive oil must be less than a year old to be fresh (often promoted by suppliers of imported oils from the southern hemisphere). Well, we wanted to put our oils to the test and see how they held up against that claim, so we sent last year’s Mistral and a two and half year old Sierra that had been opened for two weeks to the lab for analysis. The results just came back. Both oils still easily passed all the tests for extra virginity, and to boot, retained very high levels of antioxidants:
Mistral milled in December 2013
0.2% fatty acid
537 ppm antioxidants, only a 4% decrease since its initial testing
Sierra milled in December 2012, and open for two weeks
0.25% fatty acid
684 ppm antioxidants, only a 10% decrease since its initial testing
These results are so remarkable they even surprised us. Our oils start out with such high levels of antioxidants, it seems they are just about impervious to oxidation and aging. The antioxidants protect the oil like they protect our bodies.
It is the season when the results of the international olive oil competitions are announced. 500 olive oils were entered into the Los Angeles International Competition and only 298 received any kind of medal. There, our Mistral won a Gold medal and was also the Best In Class and our Sierra won a Silver medal. Of the 700 entries in the New York International Competition only 233 oils received medals. There, the Mistral won a Gold medal and was also the Best in Class and the Sierra also won a Gold Medal.
Our Mistral was the only oil to be awarded Best in Class in both the New York and Los Angeles competitions. It was also the only domestic oil to be awarded Best In Class in New York. Certainly, we thought these oils were excellent even before getting these enthusiastic results. Anyway, we are very pleased to see our efforts of producing top quality oils so highly awarded.
Both the Mistral and the Sierra are extremely rich in antioxidants (837 and 972 ppm respectively), which is way above the average compared to other good extra virgin oils.
This confirms our belief that it is possible to make olive oils that are very beneficial for our health and also have great flavor.
In addition, this year we produced five Gold Series mono varietal oils, of about 50 gallons each, that are equally excellent and especially rich in antioxidants (from 795 to 1,017 ppm).