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I was recently asked to be a part of the Flavor Your Life Campaign. I didn’t really know what it was about until I started doing some research on it. Flavor Your Life is a campaign (supported by the European Union, Unaprol, and the Italian Ministry of Agriculture) geared to educate and empower North American consumers to make informed choices and to learn about the benefits, misconceptions and uses of extra virgin European olive oil.So let’s take a minute to learn a little more about Olive Oil.
- Olive Oil is made from the drupe (fruit) of the olive. Did you know that olives are technically considered a fruit?
- An Olive Oil is considered “Extra Virgin” when it is cold pressed without heat or chemical use.
- An Olive Oils taste greatly depends on the region in which the olives are grown and when they are harvested. Olives harvested early in the season (under-ripe) produce a greener, bitter and more pungent oil. Olives harvested at the end of the season (over-ripe) produce a a mild and buttery oil. Spanish oil is typically golden yellow and tastes fruity and nutty. French oil is usually mild and pale in color. Greek oil tends to be green and pack a strong flavor and aroma.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains virtually no acidity (less than 0.8%), while Virgin Olive Oil is usually closer to 2%.
- Olive Oil can stand up to high temperatures. It has a 400° degree smoking point. This allows it to be used in many ways: frying, sauteing or baking.
- When you store your Olive Oil, you want to store it in an dark cool place with an airtight lid. Don’t store it on the counter or near the hot stove and never store it in the refrigerator.
- Spain is the largest olive oil producer, followed by Italy and Greece.
- Olive Oil is best when used within 6 months of opening and approximately 18 months after purchasing. It is not like wine and does not get better with age.
I learned some new things, did you? Flavor Your Life has partnered with Zucchi Extra Virgin Olive Oil and so I got a bottle to play around with (cook, bake, fry). Check out the yummy recipe below! Zucchi is an Italian Olive Oil and has been around for over 200 years (not the oil itself, the company-haha)! It started in 1810 as a small family business. They have an artisanal way of blending oils and their commitment to quality shows in the excellent taste.
I love cooking with olive oil and I found this one to have a very good strong smooth flavor. I thought it was neat that each bottle contains a QR code that allows you to trace the origin of the oil. I would recommend Zucchi as a high quality olive oil that you can trust to be pure.
White Bean Bruschetta
Here is what I made using my Zucchi Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I combined a few recipes that I found and really enjoyed it! I hope you will too!
Zucchi Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 French Baguette (Cut into 1/2 inch slices)
5-6 Cloves of Garlic (sliced thinly)
1 Can of Small White Beans (drained and rinsed)
4 Sweet Mini Bell Peppers (diced)
1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes (diced)
1/4 Cup Fresh Basil (Sliced into small ribbons)
1 TBS. Balsamic Vinegar
Salt (I recommend Lawry’s Garlic Salt- ummmmm) & Pepper to Taste
- Preheat oven to 425°. Brush each side of sliced bread with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until slightly golden crusted. Let cool.
- Add a few TBS. of olive oil to cover the bottom of a small saute pan. Saute’ sliced garlic on a Med heat until a light golden brown (approx. 1 minute). Careful not to burn it. Set aside fried garlic on a paper towel to drain. Reserve oil.
- Mix all other ingredients together and also toss in warm reserved oil from pan.
- Scoop generously on to toasts and top with garlic. Enjoy!