Award Winning, Gourmet, Chilean
We tend to associate olive oil with Mediterranean countries because the olive tree is native to the Mediterranean basin. Archeological evidence suggests that olives were being grown in Crete as long ago as 2,500 B.C. “In ancient Greece, athletes ritually rubbed it all over their bodies. Olive oil has been more than mere food to the peoples of the Mediterranean: it has been medicinal, magical, an endless source of fascination and wonder and the fountain of great wealth and power.” (Wikipedia) The Greek author Homer called it "liquid gold." And how right he was!
The “liquid gold” that we are fascinated with is Las Doscientas, a fabulous extra virgin olive oil from Chile, South America. The name Las Doscientas, “The 200” in Spanish, represents the 200 plots of farm land south of Santiago, Chile that comprises the Las Doscientas estate where the olives are currently grown. The farm land in this area – the Maule Valley with its great diversity of climates and soils – is perfect for growing olives. The company produces two extra virgin olive oils: Arbequina and Picual. They are as distinct as the olives used to produce them.
Las Doscientas, founded in 2001 by Juan Fernando Waidele, harvested its first crop of olives in 2005. Each year since 2006, both olive oils have received numerous awards in the United States and Italy. Both types are single varietal – which means made from one type of olive – and cold pressed and are distinctly different in taste:
• Las Doscientas Extra Virgin Arbequina is made with 100% Arbequina olives. It has a delightful fresh, fruity, smooth flavor; perfect for salads, vegetables, poultry and fish. We first used it on fresh salad greens – mixed it with a little Balsamic vinegar, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper. The olive oil elevated a simple green salad to “outstanding.”
• Las Doscientas Extra Virgin Picual is made with 100% Picual olives and, like the Arbequina, is fresh tasting. But the similarity stops there – the Picual is intense and peppery and has a peppery “kick”. We loved it! It is best used for searing meats, roasting meats and potatoes, and cooking risottos and stews. We made oven roasted potatoes and sprinkled the potatoes with the Picual, some sea salt, freshly ground pepper and roasted at a high heat – fabulous!
Our final tasting of both olive oils was our favorite – we took fresh, crusty bread and dipped it into the oils. The olive oils were so good they did not require the addition of any spices – just straight Arbequina and Picual.
Dawn Foster, founder of Foster Fine Foods, LLC, is the person responsible for introducing these delicious gourmet olive oils to the U.S. She shared some interesting insight into the uniqueness of Las Doscientas Chilean olive oil:
“Chilean olive oils tend to have fresher, greener flavors than other olive oils because the trees are younger. These olive oils are single varietals (each is only made with one type of olive) which is rare on the shelves today. Most olive oils are blends of different olives and often the olives used are not listed on the bottles. It is a similar concept to wines that are made with one type of grape – a Merlot will taste very different from a Cabernet Sauvignon just because of the type of grapes used to make that wine.
These olive oils are true extra virgin products and you can probably taste the difference. A lot of people tell me that they really taste like olives which are what all olive oils should taste like because olive oil is really olive juice. They are estate grown, handpicked and cold pressed within minutes of harvest which gives them that fresh taste. This is not the case with many olive oils on the shelf today and consumers really do have to be cautious with what they are buying.”
KosherEye thinks that both varieties of Las Doscientas olive oils are outstanding and will occupy a spot in our pantry. Treat your guests to a wonderful Celebration of Olive Oil appetizer. And finally, treat yourself to a bottle, or two, of this fabulous find.
According to most Rabbinic authorities, extra virgin olive oils do not require a kosher certification. For information on where to purchase locally, please visit FosterFineFoods.com. Las Doscientas can also be purchased on Amazon.com: Picual, Arbequina, and a Combo Pack.
May 24, 2011