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15 April 2008 @ 11:46 am
Cooking Geekery  
When one loves good tasting food and loves to cook, there are several advantages to coming from a family with two professionals of the field (my Mom is a pastry chef, and my sister is a baker, but both graduated from Western Culinary and thus know a lot in general about fine cooking.)

~ birthday cake becomes a thing of the past. Instead, I get delectable tasting desserts like eclairs, creme brulee, chocolate silk, or tiramisu. And let me assure you, there are no corners cut in the making of any of these things. It's a good thing birthdays only come once a year, though, calorie intake-wise.

~ you get the best cookbooks as gifts, and the best kitchen equipment. I have the largest capacity, "commercial" Kitchenaid mixer in my kitchen. It's probably way more mixer than I technically need, but hey, I love it anyway.

~ you get the best goodies boxes at christmastime. This past year, my Mom really outdid herself. Every year she gets us specialty imported bottles of olive oil and basalmic vinegar, but this past year she also got us some great sausages and cheeses. Mark ate the sausage within days, and has kept talking about it ever since. Sadly, Mom can't get that particular kind anymore, but it started me thinking.

Every year, we use up that olive oil and vinegar, and lament the lesser quality stuff we buy at Costco to replace it. Mark makes this salad dressing that is to die for, and it just isn't the same without the psecial stuff mom buys us. And then last night, as I was using up the last of the olive oil, I thought "Hey, wait. I bet I could buy this stuff online!".

This is the bottle I just finished using:

And this is what igourmet had to say about it:

Fantis Extra Virgin Olive Oil has an incredibly low acidity of 0.3%, making it one of the finest grades of olive oil. Produced in Greece and extracted exclusively from Koroneiki olives. These olives are carefully selected and cold pressed to obtain a full, delicate, but well-shaped fruity taste. The oil itself has a green gold color and lends a wonderful richness to any dish.

Which explains the slightly odd color I always thought it had. After finding it, I decided to browse around and see what other olive oils might be had, and that's when I found (and ordered) this:

Olio Carli Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Large Bottle
In Italy, Carli Olive Oil has always only been sold direct from the factory to the consumer. A fleet of over 100 trucks assures prompt direct delivery to more than 700,000 families, over 120,000 of which have been loyal customers for two or more generations. Why are Italians so religious about their Olio Carli? For one, no oil from pomace or any source other than fresh ripe olives is ever used in the production of Carli Olive Oil. Secondly, although the strictest legislation allows a maximum acidity of 1% in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the maximum acidity allowed by Carli in its olive oil is 0.3%. Olio Carli has been honored frequently at national and international expositions. Embossed on the label of these fine oils, you can read the following distinctions:

1927 By Appointment to the Papacy
1937 By Appointment to the Royal Household

And also: Made only from the taggiasche olive, a smaller olive with tremendous flavor, native to Italy, with hints of almond and a very fresh quality this is oil for those who crave the best the world has to offer. Enjoy this superb extra virgin oil drizzled over steak, salads or especially fish.

With so many glowing reviews added by customers that I had to try it. The larger bottle will last longer, it sounds similar to the other stuff I liked, and really, how could 700,000 Italians be wrong?

If anyone else is interesting in trying it, igourmet has the small quarter liter size on sale right now for $4.99.

I also ordered some basalmic vinegar, sausage, and prosciutto.
"Connoisseurs of Difficulty"kistha on April 15th, 2008 07:00 pm (UTC)

I think if I made more vinaigrette, I would totally be up for this. But I mostly use it in cooking other things, so the cheep costco stuff works.

PS - How much do I owe you for beads again?
rhienellethrhienelleth on April 15th, 2008 07:07 pm (UTC)
I actually prefer Costco EVOO to anything else from a grocery store- it's very mild and smooth. But comparing it to the stuff my Mom gets us is just as big a jump in quality, if not more. And I was shocked the price of the large bottle above was pretty reasonable - about $20. Well worth it, if it lives up to expectations.

On the beads - Hmm, I'll have to add it up again.
shellyinseattleshellyinseattle on April 15th, 2008 08:51 pm (UTC)
I also like the Costco EVOO for a good, basic olive oil.

Just read in their newsletter that they inked a contract with one of the top saffron producers in Spain--THAT's what I'm waiting to try. Well, presuming the price isn't insane.
Mandy: leelu92 black green by MEleelu92 on April 15th, 2008 10:35 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the link to the website. I've become interested in the higher quality olive oil and balsamic and would like to order some of both. Can you recommend a good balsamic?
rhienellethrhienelleth on April 15th, 2008 10:43 pm (UTC)
They didn't have either of the two kinds my Mom has gifted me in the past, but I ordered some of this and also this sampler pack as reasonably priced and good sounding ones to try, at least to start.