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The Food Programme
Sunday 12:30-13:00,
Rpt Monday 16:00-16:30

Investigating every aspect of the food we eat
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Programme details
Sunday 14 January 2007
Listen to this programme in full
Olives (courtesy of Ida Fabrizio)
Sheila Dillon finds out about olive oil. What elements contribute towards the best oils and how do you buy them? And can the new world hope to rival the established European producers in the future?
Puglian olive oil
In Europe the harvest is between November and February.  Reporter Ida Fabrizio travels back to her family home in Puglia, a region that produces more olive oil than any other in Italy, to see the harvest.  She talks to olive farmer Lina Benvenuto and joins British homeowner there Jane Hope Kavanagh to see her olives being pressed.

Sheila is joined in the studio by Charles Quest Ritson, author of the new Eyewitness Companion to Live Oil and the first English man or woman to qualify as an olive oil taster in accordance with EU standards at the Italian National Organisation for Olive Oil Tasters.
They discuss the different elements that contribute to good oils – olive variety, region, climate, terroir, methods of harvest and pressing. And they discuss how to buy a good oil.
Chilean olive oil
About 90% of olive oil is produced around the Mediterranean, but increasingly the new world is moving into production: Argentina, Australia, Chile, New Zealand.  To find out about the emerging Chilean olive oil market our reporter Jane Chambers visited two olive plantations.  Firstly she spoke to Christian Silva one of the owners of the newly planted Olivas Ruta del Sole, and then to managing director Juan Pablo Barrios and owner Elvio Olave at the Olave plantation, producers of a range of olive oils including an award winning organic blend.
 Further information
Advice on how to buy olive oil by Charles Quest Ritson

1. It needs to be fresh and should be consumed within a year of the harvest.  Harvest date should be on the back of the label, if present at all. Ignore the sell by date – this is irrelevant.
2. Buy only extra virgin oil.
3. Ignore anything that says ‘cold-pressed’ (all extra virgin oils are).
4. Beware of “made from selected olives” - it means the producers bought them in.
5. Beware of “made in Italy” – the olives are likely to be imported from places like Tunisia or Greece and only bottled in Italy.
6. Look for a DOP - Italy, DP- Spain or AC – France sign. These are appellation controlles based on the French wine model, and are indications of quality as well as regional style.
7. Single estate olive oils are often the best because they have to compete on quality not brand familiarity.
8. Own labels can be variable and reflect often low technical expertise amongst buyers.

Oils featured in the programme:

Mani® Organic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, produced by Fritz Blauel

Giardino di Ponente – single estate Ligurian olive oil, Waitrose (£9.90 for 500ml)

Tesco’s Spanish extra virgin olive oil, (£3.08 for 500ml)

National Organisation for Olive Oil Tasters

Olive Oil Clubs

Olive Oil by
Charles Quest-Ritson
published by Dorling Kindersley
ISBN 1 4053 0751 X

Olive Oil Companion
by Anne Dolamore (illustrations by Madeleine David)
published by Grub Street
ISBN 0-948817-32-1
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