What is olive oil?
Olive oil is a fat. Olive oil is one of the healthiest substitutes for any fat used in any cooking recipe. Try substituting olive oil for butter or shortening in a recipe. Olive oil is a good fat unlike butter or lard. Olive oil contains absolutely no cholesterol. Olive oil contains more monounsaturated fatty acids than any other fat or oil. Olive oil is the most easily absorbed edible fat. Using olive oil in place of saturated fats as the main fat in your diet will actually reduce your cholesterol levels. Ultra Fresh, Ultra Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains a large number of antioxidants: carotenoids, polyphenols, Vitamin E, Vitamin K; as well as fiber. Antioxidants help to protect the body from the damaging effects of free radical molecules. Olive Oil contains anti-inflammatory agents, like oleocanthal, that act as a natural ibuprofen-like substance reducing dangerous inflammatory responses in the body.
How is olive oil made?
After harvesting the olives, they must be taken to an olive mill for processing as quickly as possible – preferably within a few hours. Leaves, twigs and debris are removed, the olives washed, and then the olives are ground into a paste either using huge millstones or by mechanical means. In the traditional process, the paste is spread onto circular mats and entered into a press, which pushes out the juice, leaving the “pomace” behind. The juice is a mixture of oil and fruit water, so it’s now left to stand for an hour during which time the oil and water will naturally separate. The oil is then siphoned off to another vat where any particles drift to the bottom allowing the pure olive oil to be collected. The more modern method presses the olives using centrifuges to separate the juice from the pomace and then oil from the juice water.
What does Extra Virgin mean?
It is the purest and best quality olive oil. It must be made from the first pressing of the olives and the temperature during the pressing must be below 90 degrees Farenheit. The Free Fatty Acid (FFA) limit is 0.8g per 100g or 0.8%. It must also have a Peroxide Value less than or equal to 20 (mEqO2/kg). Extra Virgin Olive Oil provides the most health benefits.
Can you use Extra Virgin Olive Oil for cooking?
You can cook and even fry with olive oil. When used in frying, olive oil coats food instead of being absorbed. It also contains high amounts of antioxidants and can be reused multiple times before being discarded unlike other fats and oils. You can also bake with olive oil. Just substitute the same amount for the fat called for in the recipe with olive oil. The result is moist, even textured baked goods. Check out our recipes for some amazingly delicious ideas.
What is the smoke point for extra virgin olive oil?
Smoke point refers to the temperature at which a cooking fat or oil begins to break down and produce smoke. Depending on the quality of the oil the smoke point will differ. Extra virgin olive oil with a lower free fatty acid level will have a higher the smoke point. A high quality extra virgin olive oil will typically have a smoke point above 400°.
What are Polyphenols?
Polyphenols are critical antioxidants, i.e. natural anti-inflammatory agents, found in highest concentrations in high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil. One of the most important health components of olive oil is hydroxytyrosol, a potent polyphenol. Hydroxytyrosol can slow the aging process in the skin by stabilizing the cell plasma membrane. Research also supports that diets rich in olive oil especially those olive oils with high polyphenol levels are associated with healthier breast tissue, colon function, cholesterol levels and cardiovascular function including substantially reducing the risk of stroke. Links have been found that show that people who follow a Mediterranean diet have a lower mortality rate than those who follow a more traditional Western diet with high amounts of saturated fat.
What is the best way to store my VSOP Extra Virgin Olive Oils & Aged Balsamic Vinegars?
The best place to store them is in a cool, dark place like your pantry or cabinets. Keep them away from your stove, ovens and windows. The main enemies of Olive Oil’s longevity are heat, light, oxygen and time. Keeping these factors to a minimum will help to extend the life of your EVOOs thereby allowing them to retain their peak freshness & optimal health benefits. VSOP’s green glass UV resistant bottles will help keep your oils fresher for a longer period of time.
What is the shelf life of my VSOP Extra Virgin Olive Oils & Aged Balsamic Vinegars?
Extra Virgin Olive Oil decreases in flavor and health benefits over time. Fresh crushed olive oil is like fresh squeezed fruit juice in that it contains the most flavor and nutrients. We recommend that you use your oil within NINE (9) months of purchase (maximum one year) when stored properly. Your Aged Balsamic Vinegars will maintain their quality for 3 to 5 years when stored properly.
What is the difference between VSOP’s White & Dark Balsamics?
All of VSOP’s Aged Balsamic Vinegars are made in Modena, Italy using Ultra Premium grape must from Trebbiano & Lambrusco grapes. The must is cooked over an open wood fire in copper kettles and the Balsamic Vinegars are then aged in a succession of wood barrels according to the age old Solera (in perpetuum) Method. For the White Balsamics the grape must is not caramelized and the vinegar is aged in new wood barrels which have not been fired on the inside. The result is a bit more acidic with a crisp, clean taste and a lighter color. In contrast, the grape must for the Dark Balsamics has been caramelized and the vinegar is aged in fired wood barrels that previously held older batches of Balsamic. The end product is velvety, potent & rich in fruit flavors with a balanced complexity and an incredibly smooth finish.
Why does VSOP source olive oils from all over the world?
VSOP believes the best quality olive oil starts with the freshest olive oil. If you could obtain quality olive oil as soon as it was pressed, you would be months and sometimes years ahead of what is in the supermarket shelves. The olive oil season in the Northern Hemisphere begins in early October and extends till late February. For the Southern Hemisphere it begins in April and continues through June. By sourcing olive oil from both hemispheres, VSOP has the ability to provide you with olive oil that was recently pressed. If we relied solely on the Northern Hemisphere, we could only provide you with fresh olive oil annually. Keep in mind the flavor profile and health benefits of olive oil begin to degrade soon after pressing.
Does VSOP ever sponsor Private Tasting Events?
Yes, our beautiful retail space and outdoor patio is available for after hours Private Tasting Events. It is the perfect event space for your charity, corporate gathering, book club, trade organization, birthday party, "Girl's Night Out", or even just a group of friends. You'll be able to mix and mingle while getting to sample all of our wonderful products in addition to learning about Extra Virgin Olive Oils & Balsamic Vinegars. VSOP will ensure that you and all of your guests have a truly fun and memorable experience. Please contact us to arrange your unique event.
Does VSOP refill bottles?
YES, we are a company that strives to be environmentally friendly, one that encourages our customers to reuse and refill our bottles. We ask that you bring them to us CLEAN & DRY (any moisture inside of the bottles can compromise the quality of the EVOOs/Balsamics). You can run the bottles through your dishwasher or wash them by hand and allow them to dry completely. You are always welcome to refill your bottle with any variety you would like, it doesn't have to be what was previously inside of that bottle. VSOP will give you a $1.00 discount on the refill of any 200 ml, 375 ml, or 750 ml bottle. It's our way of saying "thank you" for saving the planet one bottle at a time.