The variety of olive oils available in supermarkets these days is quite mind boggling, and from my own experience the taste and quality varies enormously. I always feel that it is worth paying a bit extra to ensure a good quality oil, made from a single variety of olive rather than a cheaper blended oil. The concept is a lot like when buying wine, the better the quality of the ingredients, the better the end result. I was sent some Oi1 Viannos to sample, a top quality product made to the highest standards using the best quality olives.
Oi1 use only a single variety of olive grown on small local farms in Crete. The grove location makes a significant difference to the taste of the oil. The olives used to make the Viannos oil come from mountainous and coastal regions giving a more robust, fruity and peppery taste to the oil. The soil in which they grow is unspoilt by pollution adding to its purity.
Being a genuine extra virgin olive oil, the oil is pressed mechanically, a process that does not involve chemicals. It is judged to be a superior oil with better taste, some fruitiness and no sensory defects, giving it the label of 'extra' virgin. Its acidity is less than 0.8%.
The Oi1 comes in a specially designed tin with a spout incorporated into the design for easy pouring. Sunlight and oxygen can ruin the quality, taste and health benefits of olive oil as it breaks down the naturally occurring beneficial chemicals. The tins prevent this by by cutting down oxygen and sunlight contact.
I love the packaging, not only is a very practical way to retain the product in its optimum condition, it also looks really high quality and attractive. The Oi1 would make an excellent addition to any Christmas hamper for gourmet loving, foodie or health conscious friends. I love making up food hampers in wicker baskets to create a really personalised and useful gift at Christmas.
The Oi1 is excellent for dipping bread. It is such a simple starter, but so very delicious! I fill a bowl with Oi1 and top with a little balsamic vinegar and serve with chunks of French stick. It feels very sophisticated and is perfect to start a Mediterranean themed dinner party. The kid love it too.
The Oi1 has a good taste with a lovely peppery note. It's flavour makes it great to drizzle over pasta, salads or vegetables. I do also use it for cooking, which does make me feel like a bit heathen, but it does impart its flavour beautifully to lightly sauteed cabbage!
The difference between the Oi1 and a cheaper blended olive oil is very noticeable, especially in terms of flavour, and the packaging is quite unique.
You can find Oi1 oils in Tesco stores nationwide for £6.50 for a 500 ml bottle. You can find out more at www.candiasoil.com.