|Pork confit with potato bread|
Food Diary (January 14, 2012)
Breakfast: Rolled oats with banana, coconut, sunflower seeds and flax seeds
Lunch: Falafel with bread
Dinner: Pork confit with potato bread and wine glazed carrots
Baking/sweets: Chocolate pudding
Today's Favourite Photo
Source: Everyday Food I Love
Thousand Layer Cake
Today’s Favourite Blog
Source: Daily Mail
It seems the extra virgin olive oil may not be as virgin as claimed. At the supermarket I don’t remember seeing virgin olive oil. I haven’t looked carefully but it seems most if not all olive oil is labeled as extra virgin. Unfortunately there is bad news. Olive oil is a valuable commodity and as such this attracts criminals. This goes way back. Clay tablets found at Ebla, in Syria, describe the activities of a 2,500 year-old anti-fraud squad who were responsible for ensuring the purity of oil, while the classical philosopher and doctor Galen complained of unscrupulous traders adulterating their olive oil with liquid lard to make it go further.
One former producer claims that 98 per cent of what is sold in Italy as extra-virgin olive oil is actually nothing of the sort. The most common fraud involves diluting extra virgin oil with a lesser grade such as lampante, or lamp-oil, judged unfit for human consumption because of its high acid content. Another option is to substitute a different type of oil entirely, often originating outside the EU where production is cheaper.
Last year, two Spanish businessmen were sent to prison for selling extra virgin olive oil that turned out to be 75 per cent sunflower oil. In another case a shipment of Turkish hazelnut oil arrived in southern Italy as Greek olive oil. Miracles do happen, water was turned into wine and now shipping agents turn sunflower oil into olive oil.
In 2004, an olive oil producer called Andreas Marz, concerned about the declining quality of Italian olive oil, decided to conduct his own test. He bought 31 different kinds of extra virgin olive oil from German supermarkets, and sent them to three expert tasting panels in Florence for analysis. Only one was judged to meet extra virgin standards, nine were downgraded to virgin, and the rest, including offerings from several major Italian brands, were graded as lampante.
Now I wonder how virgin my Italian oil is, and whether it is actually from Italy. Italy is one of the world’s largest importers of olive oil, much of which is then blended, stuck into suitably Italian packaging and re-exported. About 80 per cent of the oil produced in Jaen, southern Spain, for example, is shipped to Italy, where it can be packaged and sold by Italian brands as ‘packed’ or ‘bottled in Italy’, for a far higher price.
The article offers little advice on buying tips. If its cheap there is probably a good reason for it. And look for dark bottles which will protect the contents from damaging UV rays that make it rancid, and search out the longest sell-by date you can.
Or maybe you can avoid uncertainly and buy lampante, or lamp-oil. It will save you money and you can use it for your lamp too. Smoked line caught wild salmon salad with chili lime lampante dressing sounds like a dish that can sit comfortably in an award winning restaurant. And punters will willingly pay a premium for it. Maybe they already are. Ah well, what you don't know you don't miss.