Apollo Olive Oil – Extra Virgin Shades of Green

Goodlifer: Apollo Olive Oil - Extra Virgin Shades of Green

Someone puts a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and a bottle of Chianti in front of you. Discounting the labels and any variations in bottle color or shape, the wines will look similar. Yet there’s an understanding that they’ll taste very different, are best paired with different foods, and come from different grapes. So why is it that so many people regard all olive oils as the same? I don’t understand that.

Olive oil is made from an agricultural product, that product is grown in many regions worldwide, and there are a number of commercially-important varieties of that agricultural product—just like wine. Just like wine, the variety or blend chosen will greatly influence the ultimate quality of an olive oil, as will the micro-climate in which the olives were grown. Yet some of the folks who anxiously await the yearly Beaujolais Nouveau events or wouldn’t dream of pairing a Shiraz with a delicate pasta dish buy cheap olive oil in large containers because, according to one friend, “It’s olive oil; the brands are all alike.”
If only he knew…

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I don’t have time or space here to detail what makes an olive oil extra virgin, or whether an oil made from Arbequina olives will be bolder than one pressed from Koroneikis. But I can tell you about a California brand, Apollo Olive Oil, that’s Certified Organic (and a member of Slow Food USA). This is a relatively young business, as olive oil manufacturers go; they’re currently celebrating their tenth anniversary. But either those involved have great natural instincts for olive oil production or have learned their lessons well. Because not only are the bottles beautiful enough to give as gifts, but Apollo Olive Oil produces a small award-winning range of oils that can accompany anything, from a perfect fresh mozzarella to your heartiest minestrone.

Apollo Olive Oil blends: Mistral, Barouni & Sierra.

Apollo Olive Oil blends: Mistral, Barouni & Sierra.

If you like subtlety and nuance in your olive oils, go straight for their Mistral. There’s a moderate olive aroma here, with an initial delicate flavor that grows more complex and slightly fuller. This oil will not overpower most dishes, yet it seems to go well with many. I haven’t tried the Barouni here, but, in contrast to the Mistral, their Sierra is much more robust. The Sierra’s aroma fills your nose and is almost peppery, while the flavor is strongly olive-y and stays with you. There’s a touch of pepper in the aftertaste, as well.

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Apollo Olive Oil claims that their olive mill is the only one in the U.S. designed to maximize antioxidant (polyphenol) extraction. Health benefits (thoroughly listed on the site) in an olive oil are a nice bonus, but I think you’ll go back to these oils for the flavor they add to your foods. Online ordering? But of course! Visit the site and start finding out more about a centuries-old product that still has so much to give.

The Mediterranean Food Pyramid places olive oil in a category all of its own.

The Mediterranean Food Pyramid places olive oil in a category all of its own.

Says Lynne Sanders of Bistro Aix in London, “Using Apollo Olive Oil is like starting with a great wine. It invites you to organize the whole meal around it. It will never be just an ingredient. Its freshness, its complexity and its aromas—what aromas!—take recipes to a different, unexpected level.”

About author
Stephanie Zonis was born with a spoon in her mouth — a tasting spoon, that is. She began cooking (especially baking) at a very early age, and for a short time even ran a highly illegal baking business from her long-suffering parents’ house when she was in high school. After acquiring a Master’s Degree in Foods, she eventually discovered the Internet in 1997. She’s been writing about food and developing recipes, especially where chocolate is involved, ever since. During those few moments when she’s not cooking or writing or thinking about food, Stephanie enjoys reading, walking, political discussions, and volunteering at a local no-kill cat sanctuary. She has been a member of a medieval re-creation group for longer than she’ll admit and loves absurdist humor.
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