Flavoring our Oils & Vinegars
Our flavored extra virgin olive oils are flavored using extra virgin olive oil based flavorings. (Most companies use a canola oil based flavoring). The flavorings are extracts and essential oils made from plant-based product. Therefore they are “natural.” The flavorings are added to the oil and stirred.
All of the flavorings are natural, vegan and allergen free. They use a process of combining different components to mimic flavors. There is no cheese in our Parmesan flavoring, no meat in our bacon flavoring, etc.
The flavorings for the balsamic vinegars are the same concept, but with an alcohol base… similar to a vanilla extract, for instance.
There are some olive oils in the marketplace that use another method: some people call it fused; I call it whole-fruit crushed. This is where they throw fresh lemons, limes, oranges, basil, etc. in the hopper with the olives while they are being crushed. While this may seem more romantic, there is very little control over the resulting product. You really don’t know how it is going to taste until it is done and it can only be done one time per year (per hemisphere). Trying to guess how much you will sell for the entire year is a challenge, creating a situation where you either run out or have too much. It’s also difficult to create consistency from one batch to another with this method.
Our method allows for better consistency in flavor from season to season as well as the ability to have product available year-round. We also feel our method provides for “fresher” flavor. Not are our oils and vinegars made to order, the flavorings themselves are not made for us until we order them. We feel this provides the freshest flavor for you, our customers.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Testing
There have been articles and media attention since before we started this business about fake or adulterated extra virgin olive oil – most recently there have been TV segments on 60 Minutes and Dr. Oz (who is actually being sued right now because of his “false attacks” by the North American Olive Oil Association). Most of this press is focused on large brands that are sold in supermarkets – giving you an added reason to purchase from a specialty olive oil business (such as ours), a business that focuses on olive oil as one of their main products, not as a minor product in a sea of thousands of others.
First, we have our producer/supplier provide us with a CoA (Certificate of Analysis) which includes chemical testing data showing that it passed all the tests to qualify as extra virgin. This is where our competitors stop.
We go a step further and we send a sample of each batch to an independent testing lab here in the United States – SGS Labs in Louisiana. These samples are tested to make sure it meets or exceeds the criteria to qualify for extra virgin.
We also have them do a separate purity test – additional testing to make sure that there are no other oils beside olive oil in the sample. It is possible to pass the initial chemical test to qualify as extra virgin with the addition of other oils such as canola, sunflower, hazelnut, etc. blended in. This is one of the ways unscrupulous vendors lower their costs and increase their profits.
It is important to note that the independent testing is done after the oil has landed in the United States. Because the initial chemical test is traditionally done in the country of origin very soon after harvest, we want to ensure that the middleman who imports the product hasn’t adulterated the oil before or during transit to us. The testing is done prior to us purchasing the oil from our supplier so that we don’t end up purchasing an oil that doesn’t meet our requirements (we don’t ever want adulterated oil anywhere near our warehouse).
Our base extra virgin olive oil is from the largest producer in Tunisia and they have a company-owned warehouse here in the United States… in Texas. There is no middleman.
To go one step further, we will be doing random testing throughout the year so that we can help our customers feel even better about purchasing from us and can feel confident selling our products to their customers.
We can provide all the CoAs and Independent Testing documents for our customers. To my knowledge, we are providing our customers with the ultimate resources within our power so that you can feel 100% confident in purchasing a quality product.