FAQs

Here a few of our most commonly asked questions about olive oils and vinegars.

Q: What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Q: What is the best way to store oil?
Q: What is the shelf life of olive oil?
Q: What’s the difference between fused and infused oils?
Q: Are our oils filtered?
Q: Can you cook with olive oil?
Q: What are the health benefits of EVOO?
Q: What is Balsamic Vinegar?
Q: How should I store Balsamic vinegar?
Q: What is the difference between our white and dark Balsamics?
Q: Does the Espresso Balsamic have caffeine?
Q: Do you refill bottles?
Q: What are the advantages of EVOO over seed oils?


Q: What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Comes from virgin oil production only (the use of physical means and no chemical treatment), 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.

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Q: What is the best way to store oil?
Unlike wine, olive oil does not improve with age.  Enemies of olive oil’s longevity are light, heat, oxygen and time.  Reducing any of these factors will increase the useful life of your oil and retain its peak flavor longer.  The best place to store the oil is in a cool, dark place.

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Q: What is the shelf life of olive oil?
Olive oil is a fresh fruit oil and just like any other fruit juice, over time, the quality and taste deteriorate.  We recommend that you use your oil within 3 to 6 months and no longer than a year so that you can reap the benefits of what a fresh oil provides.

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Q: What’s the difference between fused and infused oils?
“Fused” olive oil or what is also referred to as “agrumato” in Italy is made by crushing ripe, sound olives with whole, fresh fruits, herbs or vegetables at the time of crush. “Infusing” is the process of adding flavor to olive oil after it has been made.  For some, infusing olive oil is nothing more than an attempt to cover up poor quality, defective, old oil.  Our infused oils use the freshest extra virgin olive oils available in our collection that are most aesthetically compatible with the natural products  that are used to flavor them with.

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Q: Are our oils filtered?
They are not filtered, they are naturally settled or (racked) meaning that the oil is decanted when settled, leaving any sediment at the bottom to be discarded.  Filtering extra virgin olive oil denatures it. 

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Q: Can you cook with olive oil?
Absolutely. Different olive oils complement different foods and uses. Olive oil can be used for sautéing, browning, stir-frying, deep frying, as an ingredient in marinades and sauces such as mayonnaise, pesto, or romesco, and as a condiment, drizzled over various dishes. Think about olive oil as you would wine. Use different olive oils for different purposes. Strong and robust extra virgin olive oils can be used for cooking fish, meat, to make marinades, or to drizzle on strongly flavored ingredients like peppers or garlic. A medium intensity, well-rounded extra virgin olive oil is great on mozzarella or for bread dipping. We love it mixed with one of our balsamics to make a vinaigrette or drizzled on vegetables for roasting.  A mellow late harvest oil could be used in baking a cake or to make mayonnaise. Keep in mind that abuse under heat will begin to deteriorate the phenols in olive oil, but the higher the quotient of phenols you start off with, the more you will typically be left with at the end of the application.  Better chemistry correlates to being able to get the oil hotter before it begins to reach its smoke point, which is not desirable when heating any type of cooking oil.  Oleic acid is not affected by heat and remains stable. 

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Q: What are the health benefits of EVOO?
Naturally packed with monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants, not only can a good extra virgin olive oil lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, research has shown that it also provides a wide range of anti-inflammatory benefits that can positively impact illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, and asthma.

  • Olive oil is mainly comprised of monounsaturated fatty acids, a healthier type of fat.  In reality, it does very little to reduce harmful LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol, it does, however, raise HDL (beneficial cholesterol) levels.  The use of olive oil provides greater protection against arteriosclerosis and coronary disease (angina and infarction) than any other oil, because it inhibits the oxidation of lipoproteins.
  • High quality extra virgin olive oil, in particular, provides a high content of antioxidants, like polyphenols, vitamins E & K, chlorophyll and carotenoids. Antioxidants are key to strengthening the immune system and protecting the body from the damaging effects of free-radical molecules.
  • Olive oil contains anti-inflammatory agents, like oleocanthal, that act as a natural ibuprofen-like substance.
  • It is important to remember that EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL is considered the best grade to deliver healthy benefits. 

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Q: What is Balsamic Vinegar?
There are three types of balsamic vinegars:  DOP Traditional Balsamic, Condimento and Commercial.

  •  DOP Traditional Balsamic (Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale):  Produced from the juice of just-harvested white grapes(typically, Trebbiano grapes).  The juice is cooked over an open wood fire and boiled down to approximately 30% of the original volume to create a concentrate or must, which is then fermented with a slow aging process which concentrates the flavors.  The flavor intensifies over the years with the vinegar being stored into old, fired wood barrels which were used to age balsamic in years past.  These barrels are made of different woods (chestnut, cherry, mulberry, juniper wood and oak) and become progressively smaller as the product becomes thicker and naturally evaporates over time.  The barrels as well as the product they once contained, add character to the must over time.  Nothing is ever added to the cooked, caramelized must of DOP Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.  It slowly ages in this manner and turns into “vinegar” by itself over the course of many years, hence the scarcity and price tag.  If a particular producer’s balsamic meets very strict criteria, it is then certified DOP, wax sealed and numbered for individual sale.  Furthermore, this product is never used for cooking.  It is far too prized and expensive.  For this reason, it is served drop by drop on a spoon after a meal and sometimes on a small piece of cheese. 
  • Condimento:  The primary difference between DOP Balsamic and our condimento is that out of the gate ours is inoculated with a very small amount of premium quality aged red wine vinegar which introduces the natural acetic bacteria and yeast and begins the process from cooked grape must to Balsamic Vinegar Condimento.   It is then aged (up to 18 years) using the Solera method described above.  The similarity between our Balsamic Vinegar Condimento and DOP Traditional Balsamic is remarkable.
  • Balsamic Vinegar of Modena:  is a commercial grade product that imitates the traditional product.  They are made of wine vinegar with the addition of colouring, caramel and sometimes thickeners like guar gum or corn flour to artificially simulate the sweetness and thickness of the aged Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale.  There is no ageing involved, and hundreds of thousands of litres can be produced every day.

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Q: How should I store Balsamic vinegar?
Store in a cool, dark place, away from heat.

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Q: What is the difference between our white and dark Balsamics?
The white balsamic condimento is less complex, aged Up to 12 Years, and has not been caramelized over an open wood fire in copper kettles, as the dark condimento has been.  The dark is aged in fired, old wood barrels that previously held older batches of balsamic.   The white is aged in new wood barrels which have not been fired on the inside.  They are both made from Trebbiano grapes in Modena.  The dark condimento has a rich dried fruit characteristic reminiscent of figs and raisins, whereas the white is a bit more acidic, and “cleaner” lacking the complexity of the fired wood, and caramelizing that occurs over open wood fires in the copper kettles.

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Q: Does the Espresso Balsamic have caffeine?
No

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Q: Do you refill bottles?
Yes!  Run the bottles through your dishwasher and allow to dry completely (any moisture will compromise the quality of the product).  Bring them back to the store and we will refill them and take a dollar off your purchase price.

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Q: What are the advantages of EVOO over seed oils?

  • Ideal composition:  Its distribution of fatty acids, with monounsaturated oleic acid prevailing, comes the closest to the optimum for meeting the recommendations for the prevention of heart disease.
  • Better flavor:  the aroma and flavor of olive oil are more pronounced than those of seed oils, which are quite tasteless.
  • More natural:  Its production process is simpler and more natural than that of seed oils. Extra Virgin olive oil is not refined nor is it processed with solvents, as most seed oils are.  Additionally, extra virgin olive oil does not contain trans-fatty acids.
  • More stable:  Since it contains fewer polyunsaturated fatty acids, it is more stable than seed oils.  It lasts longer before becoming rancid and producing dangerous peroxides.
  • Better for frying:  Resists higher temperatures without decomposing.  For this reason, it is appropriate for frying.
  • Greater medical value:  Studies regarding the Mediterranean diet have demonstrated that extra virgin olive oil protects the heart more than any other, thus leading, on the whole, to the cardiac benefits of the Mediterranean diet.

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