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According to the LA Times, the mislabeling of adulterated, low-quality olive oil as “extra-virgin” has duped consumers for years, and is causing some people to fall ill. The USDA will introduce voluntary labeling standards this fall in an effort to address the deceptive practice. In a completely unrelated story, USA Today has just reported that a group of California olive growers has adopted a new planting technique from Spain that will enable the US to increase domestic olive oil production.
Meanwhile, demand for olive oil continues to surge.
If all you do is drizzle the liquid on your salads or use it to sauté vegetables, you’re missing out on some of its more versatile and creative uses. In fact, Fran Gage, a Bay Area food writer, cookbook author, and former patisserie owner, wrote a book last year completely devoted to celebrating extra virgin olive oil. (Gage also profiles producers and ranchers, including McEvoy Ranch Olive Oil in Petaluma.)
Her book, The New American Olive Oil (Stewart, Tabori & Chang), also contains recipes across a broad spectrum -- from crackers, sauces, and tapenades to soups, pizzas, cakes, and truffles. On her website, Gage has a recipe for Almost Flourless Chocolate Cake, which also appears in the book.
Now if you really get hooked on olive oil, you may want to visit Humphry Slocombe, a renegade ice cream shop in San Francisco just profiled in the New York Times Magazine. Among the many unusual flavors in the scoop shop? Yup: McEvoy olive oil.
CHIME IN: When it comes to bread, do you prefer to dip olive oil or spread butter?
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