I recently came across an interesting video here on chow about Roundpond Olive
Oil and their attention to quality. Anyone interested in oil production should
give this a view:
After watching this video, I have to laugh at the attitudes of some of the larger production houses and what they consider to be quality A while back I started to do a great deal of research on oils wondering why some of these oils sold in supermarkets tasted like, well, nothing. After a few phone calls I learned that most of these oils were treated with heat, chemicals and even "secret proprietary processes" that couldn't be revealed! Huh?
Anyone that ever tasted really fresh oil (a few hours old) can vouch for the fact that it'll scar you for life, as it did for me. Try drizzling some Manni oil over your next meal and you simply can't ever buy from the supermarket again.
When you buy quality oils, they'll tell you when the olives were picked and how long it took to reach the bottle. You'll know the exact age of the oil down to the hour. Ever try and decipher the age of olive oil from supermarket varieties? It’s tough because they intentionally try and hide the production dates by using “lot numbers”.
As an example, take Colavita. Now before I move on, please make sure you watch the Chow video first. Colavita customer service will tell you that they’re oil has a shelf life of 2 years (from when you buy it!). First off, wow! Second, I asked them why they couldn’t just print the date the oil was made on the bottle? Couldn’t really get an answer on that one. But I did manage to squeeze their coding system out of them, after a few more phone calls.
If you pick up a bottle of Colavita oil and read the lot code, here how to interpret the manufacture date of the oil. This is a cut and paste directly from the e-mail they finally sent me:
Re: PLACEMENT AND INTERPRETATION OF LOT CODE
To Whom It May Concern:
A lot code is imprinted on every imported container of olive oil produced by Colavita. The code can be found either on the back label (if a glass bottle) or on top (if tin). The format is as follows:
L00 000 A XXXX
Where: “L” means Lot.
“00” indicates the last two digits of the year
“000” indicates progressive day of the year (from 001 to 365).
“A” represents the first daily shift, “B” the second and “C” the third.
“XXXX” refers to an internal tracking number used to trace the product throughout the entire production process.
Each outer carton is also marked with a lot code. This code is identical to the one imprinted on each container packed therein.
If you have any questions, please contact me at (908) 862-5454, extension 124.
Teresa M. D’Errico
Director of Client Services
At the time I had a bottle of Colavita Extra Virgin bought from one of those huge liquidator stores and, after I did the math, the oil was over 4 years old! No wonder it had no taste. Now add the claim that it has a shelf life for another 2 years! It just blows my mind when I hear ads for them claiming such quality and all the worthless claims of the olives coming from Italy. Who cares? It's usually too old to even matter.
I recently heard Chef Michael Colomeco, talk show host, on the radio saying it the best oil he's ever tasted. Ouch Mike! Ah the fibs we tell for the sake of sponsorship…
I’d like chowhounders to look under their cabinets and see what they're really pouring on their salads. I steer clear of any oil that doesn't clearly label the production date on the bottle. I just think deception and food should never go together. When it comes to olive oil, unlike motor oil, the age is a significant factor regarding quality.
Billy Parsons, over and out
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