(Updated from a few years ago....)
Olive oil has been an old friend of the family and a staple of my diet since I was a baby. I use it on my lips as a balm, on my bread instead of butter and always, ALWAYS on my salads.
Greek vs Italian: Many years ago I had the pleasure of meeting a family of Greek immigrants who settled here in Colorado. And boy, did they love their olive oil! I thought MY family was into olive oil, until I met this colorful, and slick family (yeah, a pun). They taught me the art of dining like a true Greek and the difference between the Greek habits of using olive oil and my old Italian ways. The Greek habit is to use WAY more of the stuff than the Italians, who tend to be more delicate when adding olive oil in the kitchen or at the table.
I especially enjoyed the Greek breakfast and to this day I strive to recreate it when I am feeling particularly nostalgic for those old world flavors. I rack my brains here, to remember those first memories of breakfast a la the Greek Isles:
"Lightly toasted bread with lots (and I MEAN LOTS > think Everest) of feta cheese, onto which you pour a rich, fruity, olive oil until you have an enormous pool (think the Atlantic) and then sprinkle all of that with some dried oregano, add on the side a few slices of thinly sliced ham (or if you are like me, smoked turkey), with all of this enjoy a very small, but WOWS-ER-hits-you-an-hour-later cup of Turkish coffee and you have the complete picture. It was always such a fun way to start the day, I loved it! And without the olive oil this breakfast would not be as special."
Don't you think that olive oil has the romance of wine and the mystic of Europe rolled into one liquid paradise? Take for example the vintage poster above by the Italian artist Boccasile 1948....that salad bowl is fantastic! where can I get one? and her dress! I want that hanging in my closet...but wait...is she dressed in a maid's uniform? aah! Those Italian designers even know how to dress the maids! And look, she's so happy pouring the olive oil onto the salad for the family. Squisito! Romantico!
And I personally like the idea of having a throw pillow that has an "Olive Oil" label design sewn onto it and the good people at Pottery Barn don't disappoint with their new charming pillows. Pottery Barn is custodian of all things homey and classic and in celebration of their new olive themed merchandise they provide all the details needed to throw your very own Olive Oil Tasting Party. What fun!
I feel proud to be an American when I purchase Certified Organic Olive Oil from California. It's important to buy organic olive oil as much as possible because it guarantees no pesticide residues will be in the oil. When olive oil is not organic, you rely on the processors to wash the olives before they excrete the oils...leaving one to wonder how well a job they did washing off the crap. I'm not opposed to the brands that are not organic, some of them have wonderful flavors, but with the organic version I can rest assured that I am serving something truly healthy. I usually cook at home with the organic oil and when I am out I enjoy whatever is available.
The logos below are fresh new designs for bottle labels and I just love what the artists have created. Cliff Olive Oil is a product of the Cliff Bar Family Winery in Northern, California. And the sunny California biker girl is a design by artist Sheryl Chapman, who worked up this label for the Olive Oil Co.
I once read that adding 2 tablespoons olive oil to a salad is enough to make you loose weight without changing the rest of your diet....are we dreaming or what?!!