I’ve been meaning to catch up on posts, but I’ve spent the last two weeks watching the Olympics and gaining weight. Doesn’t seem right, does it?  Shouldn’t athletic performances be transferable through TV and result in fitness, despite the popcorn? Apparently not.

But that’s not why I’m posting now.  Three weeks(ish) ago, I hosted a salt, olive oil, cheese, and wine event for the Vegas Wineaux Wine Club.  I wanted to spend this time revisiting the Olive Oil.

First, a little science.  Olive Oil is healthy. There are very few scientists/food historians that would debate that fact, although there are a few who would.  However, I look at the people who have had Olive Oil as a part of their diets for millennia and figure that they know what they’re doing.  And science backs me up on that.  Lots of research laud the qualities of Olive Oil.

First and foremost, the type and quality of Olive Oil are very important.  The International Olive Council has created a way to determine the different grades of Olive Oil.  The best grade is Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) because it is raw, minimally processed, and rich in naturally occurring nutrients. It is the oil produced from the first press and may be cloudy in the bottle.  Other ways of determining its Extra Virgin status includes levels of fruitiness and acidity (sound like wine?).

Other grades include Virgin Olive Oil, which may or may not be from just the first press; it depends on its fruitiness and acidity.  Every grade after Virgin is inferior as far as taste and nutrients are concerned, but can be used for cooking. Extra Virgin – especially the very high-quality labels – is never recommended to be used for cooking. Ideally, it is only used raw, as a dressing, condiment, or – as in some countries – to be sipped.  Really!  The countries who use Olive Oil in this manner have demonstrably lower incidents of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other diseases of modern civilization.

Its health benefits have been studied and have been shown to have positive effects on cardiovascular disease, skin, immune system, digestive system and ageing.  When you’re buying the Olive Oil, be sure to check the label, as many unscrupulous manufacturers will declare Extra Virgin Olive Oil on the label, but the small print will reveal that it’s been mixed with other oils, such as Canola, Soybean, or even a lower grade of Olive Oil. So beware and ensure that the Olive Oil that you’re buying is truly Extra Virgin.

So why am I talking up Olive Oil? Because The Wineaux Guy™ and I are going to be visiting The Olive Festival in Paso Robles next week! It’s been while since we’ve been to our favorite wine country area, and we’re going to make a long and lovely weekend of it.

We’re very excited about it because not only will we get an opportunity to see some of our wine friends, but we’ll also be enjoying the festival that will be held in the park downtown (y’all who have visited will know what that means).  Some of the features will be Olive Oil tasting, sampling of Olive products, Wine and Beer tasting (!!!), a cooking contest, and tastings of Olive Oil ice cream.

Can’t wait.

I’ll be taking my camera with me so that I can record the events, and will be sharing the excitement with you when I return.

I promise to do within a few days of arriving back home instead of two weeks. It should be easy. The Olympics will be over by then.

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