Greek Olive Oil - Direct from the producer!

It's not often I get a request to review a product I can honestly say is 'real food'. As a result, product reviews are few and far between. However, when I'm asked if I would like to try some olive oil, or a local veg box, maybe a new type of free range sausage or a whole-grain flour I leap for joy - pleased to be able to do my bit to remind the world that it's not all supermarkets, ready meals and packet mixes out there. When Pelia asked me to taste their olive oil and let them know what I thought - how could I say no?

Olive oil is great stuff! Full of monounsaturated oleic acid that reduces levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood. Olive oil aids absorption of lycopene from tomatoes, has antibacterial qualities, tonifies the liver and may even keep you regular!

It's important not to overheat olive oil as it is only moderately chemically stable. Unstable fats cause inflammation in the body and should be avoided at all costs. So add your olive oil to food after it has been cooked, or stir a little into your tomato ragout at the end of cooking. If you are gently roasting meat, fish or vegetables (160ºC or lower) then use olive oil for this - otherwise, use a stable fat such as duck fat, lard (also high in oleic acid) or coconut oil that can survive the heat.

I'm generally a fan of Spanish olive oil. I like the extra virgin unfiltered stuff, deep golden green and cloudy, sweet, buttery and fruity - without the pepper kick you get from an Italian olive oil. Pelia is a Greek Olive oil sold in 3 litre packs direct from the producer. It's cold pressed from manaki olives and has a light olive gold colour.

When I tasted it I was reminded of kalamata olives - although these are black and fruity, the oil shares some of the walnut flavour you find in the olives. It's light, creamy textured and with very little acidity - which is great if like me you don't appreciate an oil that burns the back of your throat! High on grassy, seedy flavours in a way that is specifically Greek, I found it was beautifully balanced by my sweet / tart cherry tomatoes at breakfast this morning. Quite moreish actually...

If you're looking for an oil that tastes really distinctive, without the challenging aspects of some more worthy brands, I would visit the Pelia website and check it out yourself. Salad weather is surely on the way and you want to be ready with your olive oil and lemons to celebrate its arrival!