Food Crawl: Virgin olive oil diaries

Top notch Italian olive oil has roots in Vancouver

Potentially the best thing to come out of the popular low-carb lifestyle is the championing of healthy oils. As grains become passe for those keeping up with the latest health trends, oils especially olive oils are the healthy eaters new best friend.

A local company, Domenica Fiore, has brought a particularly elite version of olive oil to market on Canadian shores.

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Chief operating officer Kim Galavan explained that it all started in 2001 when she visited Orvieto in the Umbria region of Italy as a tourist and fell in love with the beautiful land and people.

On her return trips home, Galavan would bring treasured bottles of extra virgin olive oil, sourced from local farmers in Tuscany and Umbria. These were guarded as gold by her friends, to be used sparingly until her next visit.

Galavan subsequently moved to Orvieto, and began producing her own olive oil for personal use. Canadian friends clamoured for bottles of her oil pressed from a friends property with 500 olive trees. One of these friends was businessman Frank Giustra, who subsequently purchased Domenica Fiores first property. Their first oil was pressed in 2010 and named Domenica Fiore after Giustras mother. Galavan returned to Vancouver in the fall of 2010 to begin marketing Domenica Fiore.

Domenica Fiore now has over 9,000 trees, all traditional central Italian varietals, and organically grown. Their overseer, Cesare Bianchini, is from a longstanding Orvietani family. He maintains the estate and its trees, and supervises the picking and processing of the oil.

The olives are harvested early in October when they are at their peak. They are currently made into two types of oil: Olio Reserva, a certified DOP Umbria Orvietani Colli blend, and Olio Novello, a newly pressed extraction sold as quickly as possible, when the olive oil is at its freshest and most robust, explains Galavan.

Each bottle of Domenica Fiore is personally signed, dated and numbered by Bianchini. They are handsome stainless steel bottles, nitrogen sealed.

It seems almost a shame to open my samples but for you, I must!

The Olio Reserva comes in a 500 ml stainless steel bottle. Its a cold press of their organic extra virgin olive oil. Light yellow green, it has a wonderfully rich, fruity flavour with just a hint of spice on the finish. This isnt an oil, this is a Mediterranean elixir!

The Olio Novello comes in a 250 ml flask. Its a bright, fresh tasting oil, almost like an olive juice, such is the forward presence of the olive fruit. It has a spicier finish and incredibly round mouth feel. How can I ever go back to cheap, bland supermarket olive oil? Thanks for that, Domenica Fiore!

Domenica Fiore oils can be purchased online at domenicafiore.com or locally at Gourmet Warehouse, Cioffis, Les Amis du Fromage, Lusso Verde and Sebastians Organic Meats.

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