At least once before, you’ve probably found yourself at Erewhon, frozen before a wall of cooking oils. With a whole world of oils ranging from safflower, to coconut, to avocado, it’s easy to ask yourself hundreds of questions…
Which oil is the best to cook with? Which is the healthiest? Do they taste different?
But despite all the options, one oil reigns king among the others…
This month, we take a deep dive into the “Liquid Gold” that has nourished the human body for thousands of years and the Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil that our Erewhon chefs exclusively use to prepare nearly all our prepared foods on a daily basis.
What makes Olive Oil so special?
Of all the products you stock in your kitchen, olive oil may be the most versatile. If you want to go raw, you use it as the base of a dip, sauce, or salad dressing. In cooked form, it’s the go-to ingredient for sauteing or marinating proteins and vegetables. With all of its uses, the most consistent cooks use their olive oil on a daily basis.
There’s no denying that olive oil is a source of fat. But don’t let that trick you into believing it isn’t healthy. Olive oil’s fatty acids are concentrated in monounsaturated fats, which are linked to reducing cholesterol, blood pressure, and risk of heart disease. Olive oil is also rich in antioxidants, which are biologically active and provide significant anti-inflammatory properties. A wealth of scientific studies has associated olive oil consumption with decreased risk of Diabetes, strokes, Alzheimer’s, and bacterial infections.
EVOO – is it Really the Best?
While olive oil possesses remarkable characteristics, not every product is created equal. Climate, olive type, and cultivation practice all determine the character and benefits found in a given bottle.
We all know that Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is the good stuff. But what distinguishes it from other olive oils? And is it that much better?
Short answer – yes. The main separation of EVOO from other types of olive oils revolves around oil extraction practices. While other oils use chemicals and heat to separate oil from olive fruits, EVOOs are manually grinded and cold-pressed. The purity of this extraction gives you a superior and more consistent taste and the highest levels of vitamins antioxidants.
If you’re sold on olive oil, then EVOO is the only way to go. And of course we always recommend to go organic to ensure the olives are grown without chemicals or pesticides. Look for both Organic and EVOO certifications and a golden-green color oil in a dark glass bottle.
What kind of Organic EVOO will I find at Erewhon?
At Erewhon, we practice what we preach. In our cafe we cook and finish nearly all our prepared foods using the highest quality organic EVOO imported from the heart of the Mediterranean, the Greek island Crete. The olives have a rich history and a unique flavor and texture, which allows us to provide you with the purest and most nutritious base for our dishes..
We wanted to share this exceptional olive oil with you, so you can now find it bottled and sold at our stores under the Erewhon brand. Let us explain what makes it so special…
With our olive oil, there are no blended oils and no hidden ingredients. Our bottles exclusively use Koroneiki olives, which were savored by the ancient Greeks. These fruits may be small, but they pack a big punch. Koroneiki olives are known for producing oils with a thick texture, robust character, and peppery finish.
Grown in the Heart of the Mediterannean
Our olive oil is sourced from trees in Kalamata and the island of Crete, two hotspots for cultivation. The warm afternoons, chilly evenings, and constant sunlight provide ideal conditions for our olives to reach their full potential. After picking, the olives are transported to the island of Aegina in the Saronic Gulf. They are bottled sustainably, using recyclable materials. Why the dark glass, you ask? Premium olive oils are highly susceptible to sunlight, which can tarnish the flavor and color.
A Touch of History
If you’re still unconvinced about olive oil being such a special ingredient, just look to the ancient Greeks.
According to stone tablets, olive oil was one of the first foods to be cultivated by the human hand. It became a staple of cuisine and culture in ancient Greek society, symbolizing wisdom and peace. Not only was it used for cooking, it was used for healing. Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician, used olive oil to treat sore throats, infections, burns, and wounds. His holistic approach to health led to a phrase that we still stand by today:
“Let thy food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be thy food.”
There’s a reason that olive oil is still the king of all oils. Whether you’re dressing a salad, sauteing vegetables, or marinating a protein, you’re participating in a rich tradition whenever you’re using olive oil. A tradition that honors cuisine, purity, and the health of the human body.