Choosing the best olive oil for freshness and flavour

Choosing the best olive oil for freshness and flavour

March 26, 2017

Choosing the best olive oil for freshness and flavour

Clovely’s Executive Chef, Mike Kirwin, talks about his long appreciation of artisan olive oil and gives tips for stocking your pantry.

Living in London as a child, my Sicilian grandmother only visited a few times and I remember hearing about the olive trees on her farm in Catania. It was only when she passed away and my mother returned after sorting out her estate that I was first introduced to fresh pressed olive oil.

My mother brought home 12 bottles of olive oil in a mixture of old wine bottles. I must have been about 15 at the time and it was just a whole new world of flavour for me. I was instantly struck with how fresh and vibrant it was – this amazing concoction of ripe olive fruit touched with pepper was just incredible. It was so different from a supermarket olive oil and I’ll never forget that first taste.

Years later in Brisbane, working at Urbane and Jelly Fish, I came across olive oils that took me right back to being that 15 year old boy. As it happens, both of those restaurants were using Clovely Estate olive oils long before I had any idea that I would end up working for Clovely Estate and getting to know their oils even better.

If you’ve never tasted single varietal, fresh-pressed olive oil – or if you’ve tasted it in restaurants or overseas but have been under-impressed by what you buy at the supermarket – it’s time to add a fresh local star to your pantry. Clovely Estate olives are grown and pressed in the South Burnett and each season’s produce is sold fresh – not five or six seasons old as much of the supermarket oil is by the time it’s stored, bottled and transported.

Like our wines, each olive oil has a distinctive character. A fresh, artisan olive oil will enhance your dishes and add an extra dimension of flavour to even the simplest of family meals.

Here are my Top Three recommendations for newcomers to our world of olive oil. With these three in your pantry, you’ll have heart and soul for just about every occasion.

      1. Clovely Estate Koroneiki – this is the perfect oil for dipping in bread and salt, with or without an antipasto plate of cheese, olives, salami and your other favourites. I cannot praise this oil highly enough. It’s just an awesome oil with an amazing balance of flavour; sweet ripe fruit meets green fruit flavour with just a touch of pepper in all the right ways.
      2. Clovely Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil – this is our signature blend of Clovely olive oils and is a high quality multi-purpose oil that you can use for just about everything. It’s robust enough for cooking and light enough for dressings with all the sunny character of the South Burnett olive groves. (Note you can cook or roast with olive oil but do not use for high-temperature frying as it has a low smoking point and will taste bitter.)
      3. Arbequina – the olives for this oil originate in the Catalan region of Spain and it is a lighter, sweeter, more buttery oil. It’s great if you prefer a subtler oil with less of a pepper hit or need something for a more delicate dish. I’ve even used it in ice-cream!

Once you’ve started using these delicious oils, they’re not likely to last too long but keep them in a cool, dark place and consume within 12 months for the best flavour and to make room for the next year’s fresh press!

You can buy Clovely Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil here. Keep your eyes open for the new season’s single varietals in late April or you can fill your own container at our City Cellar Door.

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