The oil from the olive tree is part of the Mediterranean mankind culture since its origins.
Besides used as food it was used for medicine and beauty purposes among others. Five thousand years ago egyptian women discovered its benefit to skin and started using it as such. From then on the first soap lotion was created mixing olive oil with plant extracts and ashes for its perfume. The Greeks used it for massages relying on its power to improve beauty and virility.
It is proved that olive oil is a way to maintain skin beauty, as well as nails and hair health.
Vitamins A, D, K, and E are present in its composition and is a powerful antioxidant, which helps to delay the age of skin.
The olive tree is capable of regeneration and self protection.
Fats are 33% of total energy daily consumed. For a healthy diet, it is essential to replace the saturated fats by monounsaturated ones proving once more the virtues of the olive oil for a healthier life.
- Helps to prevent the atherosclerosis and diminishes its risks;
- Improves current running of stomach and pancreas;
- Better digested than any other fat;
- Does not contain any cholesterol and provides same energy as other oils;
- Speeds up organs metabolism;
- Protects and has tonic effects on human skin;
- Boosts the uptake of calcium and mineralization.
Use of olive oil reduces the cholesterol and helps to prevent cardiovascular diseases due to its high grade of monounsaturated acids. Also uncountable researchers, doctors and nutritionists have registered that the olive oil is very rich in vitamin E which is a protection against cancer and heart diseases.
In Portugal the olive trees are traced from ancient times, but only by the XV and XVI centuries the culture has widespread all over the country. Several historians give credits to the romans as the introducers of the olive trees on the Iberian Peninsula.
The arabs were the great developers of this cultivation and its development placing the olive tree above all the other tree species.
There is a popular saying “The best cook is the olive oil cook” and traditional Portuguese recipes prove this. The olive oil has a role in almost all of them. The olive oil gives taste, scent and colour, improves texture, conveys calories. Its versatility, as only a few ingredients do, embraces food engraving and identifying a dish. Good and ancient olive oil is present in a good portion of our cooking history.
Traditional kitchen, even the most sophisticated one, elects the quality of an olive oil and knows how to make the right mixtures. On buying the oil the consumer has to choose in accordance with his final purpose.
The traditional olive oil bears a unique taste and scent to a dish and is known as the healthier of all fat. It is a fact that the olive oil, as opposed to other fats, is resilient to heat up to temperatures of 200º C. It is the only fat that does not show substantial modifications in its structure when submitted at 200º C. That is why is commonly recommended for fried food.
Mediterranean diet is known as one of the healthier food standards worldwide and the olive oil is common and of regular use in it.
The increasing popularity of the Mediterranean diet in some of the European countries concurs to increase even more the prestige of olive oil.
Besides its dietetic qualities the olive oil has no substitute in cuisine. At the present time is part of a certain “art of living” and its ingestion is not restricted to the geographical areas where it occurs. It is also one of the symbols of a balanced diet.
Recently rediscovered as a fundamental ingredient of a modern, well-adjusted diet, olive oil use has spread to distant areas of the globe such as Japan and Australia.
How to Taste the Olive Oil
- Savouring temperature must be at about 28º C. Amid each testing and, in order to remove the taste of the previous one, a piece of apple should be eaten and some water should be drunk.
- Use a covered glass with a concave glass cover. Stir the glass to wet the walls.
- Remove the cover and approach your nose to the glass in order to understand the scents of the oil.
- Notice the fruit flavour of the oil and the aromas of the almond, tomato, apple…
- Taste the oil in a way to wet all your mouth.
- Understand the properties of the bitterness (at the rear part of your tongue), hot spice (in your throat) and a sweet feeling (on the front of your tongue and a bit all over your mouth).