How is your Olive Oil Flavored? A Guide from SECOLARI

 

Not all flavored olive oil is the same, and some flavored olive oils can even create a risk of botulism – so, consumers beware!

 

In general, there are two ways to flavor an olive oil. The more common method is by infusion, but the preferable method is by fusion. Producers of infused olive oils will add the herb, pepper, or fruit after the olives are pressed. Typically, one will see the actual ingredients floating around in the oil. If not done properly, such infused oils can lead to the growth of botulism. Even if done properly, the addition of any foreign substance in such a manner will quickly accelerate the deterioration of the oil. One will often find such infused oils in clear glass bottles so that the consumer can view the infusion. Yet, exposure to direct sunlight is completely contrary to the best practices for storing an olive oil. And if not used up in a matter of a few weeks, the oil quickly will become rancid.

 

To avoid this olive oil dilemma, some producers will add after pressing either natural or artificial extracts to the oil in order to flavor it. The flavor profiles will vary greatly.  With artificial flavors, one might experience a metallic or artificial  taste in the oil. It is just not a natural taste of basil or lemon. In contrast, use of natural flavor extracts will assure the producer or farmer a consistency of flavor not otherwise found. In our experience, we have found some flavored oils with natural extracts to be relatively good, and others a bit questionable.

 

After tasting a countless number of flavored oils, my wife and I have found those oils using the rare “Agrumato” method of pressing and flavoring to be far superior to anything else one might find on the market. This is where “art” meets “science.” Developed by generations of Sicilian artisans, the fruit, herb, or pepper is added with the olives during the pressing process. The flavor is fused with the oil at the time of pressing. The oil will absorb the flavor of fresh produce, and that freshness will keep for 18 to 24 months if the oil is properly stored. The flavor is absolutely incredible! One need only reach for the bottle of their favorite flavor to experience this fresh taste -- Blood Orange, Rosemary, or for the more adventurous: Jalapeno or Habanero. And you’ll find that this fresh taste shines through even during the dead of winter!

 

At SECOLARI, we specialize only in those flavored oils that employ the “Agrumato” method of flavoring. In fact, there are only a handful of select California farmers and producers that have perfected this method into an art form.  Because of this meticulous method of creation, our flavored finishing oils might be a bit more expensive, but they are exclusive to SECOLARI and cannot be found anywhere else nearby.

 

Place an order or come visit us and taste for yourself. We are conveniently located on the Outdoor Plaza at The Mall in Columbia. You can find directions to our Tasting Room location here. We look forward to seeing you!

 

Bon aperitif!  

Bart deRosa