It’s hard to believe I’ve been bringing in Amelia Oil to Vancouver since 2007. When my daughter Rachel persuaded me to start this importing business, I quite honestly didn’t know much about olive oil. She kept saying that there really wasn’t much in the way of fresh olive oil available in North America, and that was the reason it didn’t have much flavour. I did some research and snooped around the gourmet and better grocery stores to see if they had any fresh olive oil. At that time about the best I could do was to occasionally find a best by date. It occurred to me this could be dated way into the future to suit the needs of the seller. It still didn’t tell me how old the olive oil actually was.
My latest research tells me that a few producers are doing a little better in revealing the age but it is still a rare find. Considering the price of a litre of olive oil is all over the board I think the least an expensive brand of olive oil could do for the consumer is justify the price by revealing when it was pressed. It is of huge importance considering the oil, however good it was when it was first pressed will loose some of its flavour as it ages.
At Amelia Oil we mark each bottle clearly with the harvest date which is always be at the end of the calendar year–if the oil was harvested in November 2012, we will call it the 2013 oil. That is the year it will be ready for consumption.
The other thing I noticed is that some olive oil on the shelves is still in clear bottles. Light is the enemy of olive oil, as is heat. It speeds up oxidation, which makes the oil loose flavour. Our oil only comes in dark bottles (500ml) or traditional food grade tins.
There is some beautiful packaging out there but it doesn’t mean a thing if there is no harvest date on the bottle.