Κυριακή, 16 Ιουνίου, 2024

American Olive Oil Expert Visits Greece

A good Greek extra virgin olive oil is ldquoan amazing value for the quality of the product itrsquos really well priced in the American market,rdquo says American olive oil expert Alexandra Kicenik Devarenne With a ldquogreat fondness for Greecerdquo and an interest in Greek culture, Devarenne argues that ldquoGreek olive oil hasnrsquot made the mark it deserves in the US marketrdquo

Devarenne hopes that is changing now, so Americans can realize ldquothis is a great productrdquo When I discussed the olive oil world with Devarenne in Heraklion, Crete recently, she told me she is ldquoalways happy to see Greek olive oil getting positive attention It still amazes me that most Americans are barely aware of Greek olive oil,rdquo although they may be able to name some Italian brands

In contrast, Greek olive oil has always been ldquothe brand thatrsquos sold at the delirdquo or in the Greek-American community, mostly in an ldquoethnic nicherdquo in the US, ldquoand occasionally in supermarkets, depending on the regionrdquo It may also show up in a specialty store, but ldquono onersquos been able to plant a flagrdquo for Greek olive oil on a larger scale That may be changing soon, since Cookrsquos Illustrated, companion of Americarsquos Test Kitchen, recently selected Gaea Fresh as its ldquoCrowd Pleaserrdquo favorite in a tasting of premium extra virgin olive oils EVOOs

Currently a consultant and educator at CalAthena, ldquoa company dedicated to educating consumers and improving the quality of olive oil by working with producersrdquo during all phases of the production, evaluation, sales, and marketing processes, Devarenne also writes about and judges olive oils, serves on the advisory board of the UC Davis Olive Center, and volunteers with the non-profit Extra Virgin Alliance, an international group she co-founded with Paul Miller to inform consumers and celebrate wonderful olive oil and extra conscientious companies

Devarennersquos interest in olive oil was inspired decades ago during ldquoa stay with my sister in the suburbs of Rome,rdquo as she wrote on the CalAthena site ldquoThere the importance of olive oil as a flavoring — as a condiment — not just as a cooking medium or salad dressing ingredient — became clear I learned that putting olive oil on, well, almost anything, made it taste better That sensibility came back to the States with me, and things have never been the same sincerdquo

When Devarenne tastes olive oils, she told me, she tries ldquoto be as fair as possible to each oil, asking how well it expresses that particular variety,rdquo whichever variety it may be For her, olive oil is all ldquoabout naturalness, flavor, culture, making healthy foods taste delicious, pleasure — the whole EVOO experience No other product can beat us if we keep that whole picture in mindrdquo Devoted to ldquothis wonderful worldrdquo of olive oil, she adds that its ldquostory is really beautiful it has roots that go back millennia, and it has roots in the landrdquo So much of Greek culture, for example, ldquois steeped in olive oilrdquo

For Devarenne, ldquopart of what makes olive oil important in the world is knowing the producer and the culturerdquo For that reason, she laments that ldquomany restaurantsrsquo olive oil is anonymousrdquo and hopes that ldquoone outcome of the interest in food and sources of food is for olive oil to be honored as an ingredient ndash spring fava with XYZ olive oil ndash and the producer gets the credit for it Thatrsquos where it really starts to clickrdquo She would like to see restaurant menus discuss the key features and backgrounds of the different types of olive oil they select for different dishes

ldquoThe truth is there is no one best olive oilrdquo As with wine, it depends on ldquowhatrsquos for dinner Whatrsquos the best wine in the world? What do you want? Strong, fruity, Italian, Greek? What flavor notes, pairing?rdquo For a restaurant with a global menu, she says, ldquowhy not have a Greek olive oil, an Italian olive oil, a Spanish olive oil ndash because theyrsquore so different ndash and pair them with dishes they fit, and say it on the menu Itrsquos part of the story ndash people are really interested in olive oilrdquo So ldquoletrsquos seize the moment and give them that extra bit of informationrdquo about the olive oil in their food ldquowhere does it come from, what is it made of, what is it like?rdquo Menus and waiters can explain the special qualities and origins of olive oils, and chefs can offer creations that highlight them
__________

Alexandra Devarenne will be the keynote speaker with a Greek translator at a free event on quotQuality as a Factor in the Economic Value of Olive Productsquot organized by the Society of Olive and Olive Oil Products of Certified Quality EL3P in Athens on March 23 Thanks to Devarenne for sharing the photo of her in front of the Acropolis

source Lisa Radinovsky, greekliquidgoldcom

Σχετικά άρθρα

Ακολουθήστε μας

5,044ΥποστηρικτέςΚάντε Like
1,570ΑκόλουθοιΑκολουθήστε
119ΣυνδρομητέςΓίνετε συνδρομητής
Ελιά & Ελαιόλαδο: Τεύχος 105

Πρόσφατα άρθρα

Επιλεγμένα