Authors: Registered Dietitians
(HealthCastle.com) Quick and flavorful cooking just got a lot easier with the opening of Blue Door Oil and Vinegar. Blue Door Oil and Vinegar shares 29 of the world’s highest quality olive oils, 3 specialty oils and 21 balsamic vinegars (traditional and flavoured)! I had the chance to speak with Bruce Gillis, co-owner, who gave me the inside scoop on extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).
A Primer on Olive Oil terminology:
Bruce explained the many intricacies of olive oil terminology. In Canada, olive oil products must meet the standards and definitions set out by the International Olive Oil Council (IOOC).
- EVOO is different from virgin olive oil. EVOO has less free fatty acid content than virgin olive oil. All EVOO has to be first pressed and cold pressed. Anytime EVOO has flavors added to it, it must be called an olive oil, not extra virgin olive oil.
- Cold pressed – the pressing of olive oils without any chemical means, without the use of any solvents for extraction. The temperature must be below ~27 degree C.
- First pressed – this is the oily juice that is released when the olive paste is pressed under high pressure.
Bruce clarified that there is actually fewer and fewer oils in the world that are still “pressed” which makes the IOOC guidelines a bit trickier. Most oils are now produced in a more efficient centrifuge so the proper term should be “first production” and “cold production”.
Steps in olive oil production:
Bruce gave a detailed overview of the olive oil production process. In short:
1) Olives are picked
2) Olives are crushed and malaxed (slow stirring of olives), giving optimal oil extraction and good rates of antioxidants and flavor).
3) Olives are then pressed/produced into oils. If the producer stops here, you get EVOO. If there is a second and third pressing, we get olive oil. If there are any flavoring added to the EVOO, it is no longer defined as “extra virgin” but rather, a flavored olive oil.
The time in between picking and pressing should be short to maximize freshness, and the nutritional benefits of the EVOO. Bruce indicated the olives that make their EVOOs may be picked, processed and on their shelves in as little as 4 months!
Bruce described other ways that EVOOs can vary in their quality. For example, there is no guideline from the IOOC for “freshness” which is the key component to an olive oil’s taste and natural health goodness. A very high quality EVOO will likely be rancid after significant time has passed.
Determining the freshness of EVOO:
After crushing, EVOO has approximately a 2-year life span. Bruce said that most EVOO’s are labeled with an expiration date, which does not give us much information about how old the oil is. Bruce suggests asking for the crushed date, which is a better indicator of the freshness of the EVOO. Sun, oxygen and time all kill olive oil by oxidizing the fats. Blue Door Oil and Vinegar oils are all stored in small fusti [small vats] to protect the EVOO and maximize its quality.
How can there be so many different kinds of olive oils?
Just like wine, there are different varietals of EVOO, all with different flavor profiles. An EVOO’s flavor depends on:
- type of olive
- age of the olive tree
- growing conditions
- the region in which the olive tree is grown
Blue Door Oil and Vinegar has a tasting bar!
Sample their delectable products and choose one that best suits your preference.
You can choose from:
15 single varietal EVOOs including those labeled as mild, medium and robust. I was surprised by the increasingly bold and peppery taste as I progressed from the mild to robust EVOOs.
14 flavor-infused olive oils including:
- Organic Tuscan herb blend – I brought this one home and added it to my roasted potatoes, providing instant flavor of herbs but with a smooth mouth feel.
- Organic Persian lime
- Organic Basil
- Organic Garlic
- Wild mushroom and sage – I also brought this one home. It added earthy flavor notes to my roasted butternut squash.
- Harissa (chli pepper, garic, cumin and coriander)
- Whole fruit lemon
- Organic herb de Provence
- Organic butter
- Cilantro and roasted onion
- Whole fruit blood orange - This one came home with me too. I enjoyed it in my homemade pineapple fruit salsa.
- White truffle.
- Whole chili fused olive oil
3 specialty oils
- Roasted walnut
- Roasted sesame – this was a very intensely flavored oil. You wouldn’t need much to add a flavor punch to your food!
- Roasted almond
And there’s more! In addition to their oils, Blue Door Oil and Vinegar also offer:
- 21 Balsamic Vinegars, including 9 white balsamic vinegars, 1 traditional balsamic vinegar and 11 flavored dark balsamic vinegars
- 2 Specialty Vinegars (Serrano Honey & Champagne)
- Gourmet Sea Salts
- Specialty jams
- Specialty pastas (coming very soon).
Their EVOOs, flavoured olive oils, and vinegar are all available for purchase in small/medium and large bottles. However, if you are like me and want to try them all, you can choose a 6-pack sample pack where you can mix and match the different oils and vinegar.
With their products, you can achieve quick, simple and instant flavor. They even provide a recommended flavor pairing list of their oils and vinegar. Located in the SW of Calgary, Blue Door Oil & Vinegar is a destination store – and it is most definitely worth the trip.
*Thank you to Bruce for allowing us to use some of his photos.