Dirt and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I remember when I held extra virgin olive oil on a pedestal. As recently as several years ago, extra virgin olive oil was, in my opinion, as close to liquid gold as liquid gold itself. I watched as food personalities would liberally pour this viscous fluid as if they were baptizing their pans — and the more, the merrier. With the recent popularity of Nicholas Blechman’s feature “Extra Virgin Suicide. The Adulteration of Italian Olive Oil” in The New York Times, the greasy mess of the olive oil business was revealed. It had me thinking about when I first learned the dirty tricks of olive oil bottling and how my image of extra virgin olive was spoiled. Several years ago, I was shocked by P.J. Huffstutter’s article in the Los Angeles Times titled “Researchers at UC David finds problems again with purity of imported olive oil.” I felt betrayed and angry that I had been duped into thinking that extra virgin olive oil was pure olive oil. How many years had I been purchasing blended oils labeled as extra virgin olive oil thinking it was pure olive oil? Around the same time, I found that ‘Italian’ olive oil may not be truly Italian and may contain olive oils from other countries — as long as it was bottled in Italy. After discovering this harsh reality, I began seeking ‘single estate’ extra virgin olive oils. I found one or two Italian single estate extra virgin olive oils, but fell in love with domestic single estate extra virgin olive oils. I’ve used and strongly recommend California Olive Ranch Olive Oil. California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil is smooth, slightly floral and not overly peppery. It is my go-to olive oil and perfect for almost every dressing.

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