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If you’ve shopped for olive oil lately, you’re aware of the dizzying array of brands available, all clamoring for space on your local grocery store’s shelves. But when you think about selecting one, keep in mind that olive oil experts maintain that cheaper is definitely not better when choosing this important kitchen staple. Less expensive selections, they say, are likely to be old and rancid – not what you want to incorporate into your sautéed vegetables, pastas or salad dressings.
“Olive oil is a perishable product that tastes best when it is fresh,” notes a recent issue of the Olive Oil Times. “The sad truth,” it laments, “is that most people in the US…are accustomed to the flavor of rancid olive oil.” If you’re not sure what rancid olive oil smells or tastes like, grab your latest bottle and give it a good whiff. If it smells like crayons, putty or old peanuts, and it has a greasy mouth feel, it’s time to “toss it out,” advises the Olive Oil Times, and find a freshly harvested and milled olive oil.
Fortunately for us Sacramentans, freshly-made, truly delicious olive oil abounds in our agricultural region. One of my very favorite local brands is Apollo, crafted in Oregon House. Apollo’s mill – the only one of its kind in the U.S. (and one of only five in the world) operates under vacuum, which dramatically reduces the olives’ exposure to oxygen, retaining important volatile aromas, delicate flavors and healthly anti-oxidants that are normally lost in a conventional mill. Apollo’s oils range from the elegant Mistral and more robust Sierra to the complex, captivating Barouni.
These delectable olive oils can be found at the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op and a number of grocery stores in the region. To locate your closest supplier, call Apollo at (877) 776-0703.