I was never a fan of olive oils. The smell was never amusing to me and I wanted nowhere near it (not to mention adding it in my food, HELLLLL no). I assumed this was because of the lack of exposure I had to olive oil while growing up as a child. I mean, what other kind of fat does the typical Chinese household cook with other than vegetable oil?
A few weeks ago, I had to pleasure of meeting Val, the owner of Olive That! Tasting Bar (who, by the way, is seriously one of the sweetest and most outgoing ladies EVER). Shout-outs to Jo (@JoannaSable) for the intro! Olive That has more flavours of balsamic vinegar and olive oil than you can ever think of. Some balsamic vinegar flavours include Wild Berry, Dark Chocolate (I kid you not this tastes like chocolate), and Gravenstein Apple (this was a blogger favourite!), and more. If you want to learn some interesting facts about olive oils, please read on.
Food photo credit goes to the talented @Hypebelly
Kale salad dressed with Limonato Olive Oil and Apricot White Balsamic
Caprase salad drizzled with some Hojiblanca EVOO and 18-year balsamic
Strawberry bruschetta toasted with EVOO, spread with goat cheese, and topped with reduced dark chocolate balsamic
During our conversation, we came up with the idea of inviting some of our fellow food-loving friends over for a private tasting party at the Markham location. Since Val already has experience from hosting them before, this couldn’t be more perfect! We got to enjoy appetizers and a dessert that were made with goodies from the store (image above) and tested samples of different oils and vinegars (no, they were not gross; quite refreshing, actually) sold by the store. Val had us fooled because the last sample of olive oil we tested was actually from a regular grocery store! She had us all desperately reaching for our cups of sparkling water (which rids our palates of the oil). Many of us compared the taste and smell to paint! Here’s why:
- Not all extra virgin olive oils (EVOOs) are made the same. 70% of grocery store olive oils are not true to their labels. This means that slapping an EVOO sticker on a bottle doesn’t make it the real deal.
- Only less than 10% of the world’s olive oil is actually EVOO. Real EVOO doesn’t stick to your mouth. It should have a refreshing aroma and taste. When breathing it in, you should feel a pepper kick at the back of your throat. That’s the polyphenol in the olive oil, validating its freshness. All of the EVOOs from Olive That are lab-tested and are the freshest in the world because they source them from both hemispheres.
- Olive oils have excellent health benefits. When consuming the right ones, EVOOs can provide health benefits such as fighting heart disease, reducing the chance of getting Alzheimer’s (by 40%), act as a natural anti-inflammatory, and also proven to retard breast cancer genes.
We all had such a great time at Olive That. It feels awesome to know more about what the types of olive oils we’re putting in our mouths. You can also private tasting party at Olive That! Bring 10 friends or more for an entertaining and tasty evening. What’s more fun than sipping on some 18-year aged balsamic with a group of close family and friends?