Wednesday 11 December 2013

Essential Oils

One of the coolest things about belonging to Events and Adventures is going to an event that you would never have considered or even knew existed, before viewing the E&A calendar.

This week I was lucky enough to join the club for a private tasting at the Vancouver Olive Oil Company, in Kitsilano. Olive oil, I know…crazy eh?!?! Like I said, I never even knew it was a 'thing', but after two hours I had sampled over a dozen oil varieties and just as many balsamic infusions. I left with a wider knowledge of the oil and vinegar industry, a couple of new friends, a gift set for my Mom (cross that off the list) and a clear throat. I swear, there was something magical in that oil. And it wasn't that old silk hat I found.

The evening started with an educational talk by the owner and operator, Michealanne Buckley. There is a short video at the bottom of this post that explains her founding of the Vancouver Olive Oil Company. During her talk, Michaelanne explained the correct way to sample an olive oil. She also introduced the term polyphenol and explained the health benefits of consuming only fresh oils. Her current stock is imported from the Southern Hemisphere, mostly South America. In the New Year, her focus will swing to Europe, as the Northern oils become available.

Some of the chemistry in the presentation was a little over my head, but for some of the other members it made perfect sense. What I took away, was that a higher polyphenol count results in a more robust taste and a healthier oil. The highest count in the showroom was an oil with a phenol level of 535; standard store bought olive oils max out at 220.

After the talk we walked around and chatted, sampling some of their infused oils and balsamic vinegars out of the beautifully displayed fustis. Each product had a brief description about the specific taste the oil or vinegar provided and the culinary uses.

There was also a helpful framed pairing guide that provided combination ideas. I used this list to match three oils and three vinegars for a boxed gift set for Mom.

I think each member walked away with at least one bottle of oil or balsamic vinegar.

Oh! And my cold…

I had been suffering with a cold for just under a week and my throat was quite scratched from coughing so much. When I left, the oil seemed to have coated my throat and magically repaired the damage caused by my cold. I didn't cough again. The liquid gold cured me.

Now if only they had a love potion that worked just as well. Maybe in the New Year? An Italian oil perhaps…

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