We are so excited about this new addition to our shelves!
Olive oil on tap has been something we have been wanting to do for a loooong time. Finally, everything fell into place all at once: Not only do the lovely people from Honest Toil offer Greek olive oil in bulk (as well as in pretty bottles, if you prefer) it also is of the finest cold pressed, unfiltered and unblended quality, and because we get it direct from the producer avoiding any middlemen, the price is crazy good value. Oh, and the olive trees grow just nearby from where Katerina's grandfather came from!
We could not be more happy with the quality of the oil: it comes exactly how you'd get it in the village, fresh from the press. It’s completely unfiltered, so once pressed, it isn’t put through any additional processes. Everything is pressed the same day it’s picked and the oil has an acidity of between 0.2-0.3%, which is impressively low. It is also completely unblended: unlike most “extra virgin olive oil” found on supermarket shelves, it really is small-batch production, and isn’t mixed with inferior oils or oil from previous harvests. No wonder it tastes ridiculously good. It is also unfiltered, so it contains the sediment from olive skins and pips, giving it a great green opaqueness with a thick texture, and the raw, grassy result is pretty much the same thing the ancient Greeks would have consumed!
Both the lands and the village presses in the area (Messinia on the Peloponnese) are locally owned and run as family businesses – groves with a few hundred trees are considered large farms, which is in stark contrast to the intensive, large-scale olive oil production characteristic of other big olive cultivating regions. Olives are harvested with traditional, manual, low-impact methods, using sticks to bat the olives from the branches, letting them fall onto large nets spread underneath the trees. The olives are then gathered into sacks and taken to the village press in the evening.
While all around the Mediterranean people have been using olive oil for thousands of years, in Britain it is still considered a bit of a speciality item, to be drizzled on fancy salads. For those of you who want to learn more about the benefits of using olive oil as the main oil in your kitchen, here is an article about why olive oil is healthier than other vegetable oils, and here is some research about why it is safe to use in cooking.
Our first batch of the olive oil arrived in the middle of the recent February freeze - as you can see on the photo, the unfiltered olive oil heavily coagulates in cold temperatures. This became a bit of a challenge as the tap on our fancy stainless steel dispenser got all clogged up by the solid oil droplets and refused to pour any oil. We have solved this now, so do come in with your refill bottles!