(Posted by T.A.P.)
I’m definitely not an expert on olive oil, the way it should taste, the different nuances, the proper color, etc. But, much like wine, I do know what is pleasing to my palate. So when Atlas Olive Oils asked if I would sample their olive oil I thought I’d give it a try. I wouldn’t be able to offer an “expert” opinion, but I would be able to give it a review based on my taste.
Atlas Olive Oils estate (Website) is located in the dry areas of Morocco where they cultivate over one million olive trees. The olives are harvested directly from the tree, never coming into contact with the soil, and the time period between harvesting and crushing never exceeds 20 minutes. It’s the attention to details such as this that make for a very high quality product. Just taking a look at their website one comes to see that olive oil is a passion for those at Atlas Olive Oils, not just a business.
They offer two olive oils. Desert Miracle, aptly named because it seems a miracle to be able to produce olive oil out of a desert, and Les Terroirs De Marrakech which is their ultra-premium extra virgin olive oil and has a limited production of 25,000 liters. (Note: The oils recently won 3rd best olive oil in the world for 2009 at the MARIO SOLINAS olive oil competition. Website [internationaloliveoil.org])
The following are my tasting notes on these oils. Since I don’t consider myself an expert, you’ll notice that ratings were foregone.
Full Disclosure: The following oils were sent as press samples.
Recommended Retail: $11.29 USD
Notes: Hints of dried pineapple and banana on the nose, with a buttery and lovely palate that leads to a slightly peppery finish. Very nice and great as a salad dressing. See note below.
Les Terriors de Marrakech
Recommended Retail: $11.86 USD
Notes: A very green smelling and tasting olive oil, a bit like cut grass with a mellow palate that leads into a buttery aftertaste that shows no bitterness. Great drizzled on a variety of foods.
Mixed Baby Greens
Strawberries – sliced
Red Onion – very thinly sliced
Crumbled Feta Cheese
Sweet & Spicy Walnuts
Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette (See Below)
Sweet & Spicy Walnuts
Spray pan with non-stick spray and place over medium heat.
Add desired amount of walnuts to pan.
Sprinkle brown sugar, (white sugar can also be used), a pinch of salt, fresh ground black pepper, dash of cayenne pepper and a sprinkle or two of cinnamon over the nuts.
Stir the nuts continually until all of the sugar has melted and each nut is coated.
Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Once nuts are cooled, sprinkle over salad and enjoy!
Specific amounts are not given as the spices can be adjusted to taste. This recipe is more of a method rather than exact measurements.
Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette
The Desert Miracle is a great oil to use in this vinaigrette as the green notes of the Les Terriors de Marrakech and other subtle flavors would probably be overwhelmed and masked by the flavor of the vinegar. We choose to use an Industriale type of affordable balsamic vinegar available from most grocery stores. The ratio of oil to vinegar keeps the subtle flavors in the oil from being overwhelmed, and the addition of a bit of sugar helps to cut through the acidity of the vinegar. Salt and pepper balance out the flavors.
Serves 6 well dressed salads:
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons Desert Miracle Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pinch of cane sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Measure the vinegar into a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in the Olive Oil, whisking briskly to emulsify the mix until there is no separation between the oil and vinegar. Add a pinch of sugar and season with salt and pepper. Whisk until fully combined then drizzle over salad until lightly coated.
For more info visit www.atlasoliveoils.com
Note: The oil will be available for purchase in the USA very soon.