Where does your olives oil come from?
We are a family business based in North America with long ancestral roots in Croatia. Our special relationship with the Old Country allows us to source our extra virgin olive oil directly from small-scale farmers (seljaci, or village folk) living in the heart of Dalmatia, Croatia, whose orchards are on average twenty minutes inland from the Adriatic Sea.
When do you harvest your olives?
We spend a full week hand-picking our olives from our family orchards on the 15th of every November, each year. At the end, we all get together and celebrate with a feast, where we tell stories, sing folk songs, and stuff ourselves with the finest wine (vino), cheese (sir) and prosciutto (pršut) we can get our hands on.
What olive varieties do you use?
Our Seljak extra virgin olive oil is blend of three olive varieties that are indigenous to the Dalmatian coastal region along the Adriatic Sea. Those three varieties are Orkule, Bužva, and Oblice.
What’s with the terms “extra virgin”, “cold pressed” and “unfiltered”?
Extra virgin olive oil comes from virgin oil production only (the first cold press), contains no more than 0.8% acidity, and is judged to have a superior taste. Extra Virgin olive oil accounts for less than 10% of oil in many producing countries.
First cold pressed olive oil is extracted from fresh olives by mechanical means at a temperature of 81 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil contains high amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids, polyphenols and antioxidants that provide many health benefits.
Unfiltered olive oil is an intermediate product of olive oil extraction. It is actually the initial cloudy juice of the olive drupes soon after crushing, separation and decanting and before final filtration. Normally this oil is either filtered, or stored in tanks to settle for a period of weeks or months to allow sediments to be separated from the oil. In our opinion, filtering the olive oil degrades its quality.
You can test for yourself if your olive oil is unfiltered by leaving it in the fridge. After a day, it will separate into components, a clear liquid and cloudy soup. Don’t fret, however! This just means it’s the good stuff. Give it a shake or two and it will re-assume a “normal” appearance.
Can you store olive oil in a clear bottle?
Pure extra virgin olive oil is not actually as sensitive to light and oxidation as it is generally perceived to be. If your olive oil comes in a dark or green tinted bottle this may be because it is not in fact pure olive oil, but a combination of canola and other industrial seeds oils that have been heavily chemically processed.
In fact, some highly processed olive oils come in totally opaque aluminum cans, because they are extremely sensitive to outside environmental influences.
Generally, it is safe to assume that extra virgin olive oils that come in clear glass bottles are derived from the strongest grades because of their ability to resist degradation.
Why do you cork your bottles instead of using a screw lid?
We have been doing it this way for generations. Whether superstition or if there is something more to it, we will never know. But we will not mess with tradition. Our recommendation is to just cover the bottle with plastic after it is uncorked, and store it in a pantry at room temperature when not used, as well as out of reach of children or pets.
How do you use your olive oil for cooking?
Most don’t know that olive oil is not just for cooking or for salads! We Croatians actually find this humorous. In fact, cooking olive oil typically degrades the omega-3 fatty acids that make it worthwhile to consume in the first place. Olive oil is best reserved for eating directly, on salads and meats. Foreigners find it strange that we pour it on just about everything but a frying pan.
We pour our olive oil on our steak (with minced garlic), pork, chicken and other meats, as well as directly into our chicken soups to add even more flavor to the broth.
Olive oil goes great will seafood such as tuna, salmon, prawns, shrimp, octopus and squid. The list goes on! I personally take two tablespoons straight from the bottle, once in the morning to cleanse my palette from a long sleep, and once at night to sooth my throat before bed.
Are there any health benefits associated with regular olive oil consumption?
Yes, there are plenty. It helps keep weight off, improves memory and focus, fights mood and depression, protects the heart, prevents skin and breast cancers, is a general anti-inflammatory agent, and has been shown in some instances in increase testosterone and improve fertility in men.