Say Goodbye To Olive Oil Bottles In European Restaurants

olive oil
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It’s an old tradition here in Europe: sit down for a meal and at the center of the table is a little bottle of olive oil for using on your bread and other food. In the finer restaurants you’ll often get a dipping bowl too.

Now the Guardian reports that the European Union has banned serving olive oil in anything but sealed, throwaway containers. The EU says this is to stop fraud, claiming some restaurants substitute cheaper olive oil than what they advertise, a bit like how some bars put cheaper brands into their top-shelf liquor bottles. In fact, few restaurants actually advertise which olive oil they’re serving.

The new move is also supposed to improve hygiene, although of course it will increase the amount of trash restaurants produce.

Several newspapers are lambasting the move, saying it’s pointless meddling by a bloated bureaucracy that should be tackling the economic meltdown. The move has already passed, however.

So the next time you go to Europe, your authentic local meal will be a little less authentic.

New smartphone app helps food enthusiasts with all of their olive oil needs

olive oil iq A new smartphone app for iPhone and iPad has just been released that will help food enthusiasts answer all of their questions and solve all of their problems concerning olive oil. The app, Olive Oil IQ, was created by luxury travel writer and olive oil aficionado Sharri Whiting. Every November, Whiting spends time in Umbria, Italy, growing, harvesting, and pressing olives to make fresh olive oil. Now, she shares her knowledge on this app.

On her blog, Whiting writes, “Like grapes, the taste of olives develops according to geography, soil, air, altitude, time of harvest, type of tree, and climate. [Also,] there’s a lot of talk about fraud and certainly some of it is true. It’s really important to read the labels, but it’s even more essential to try the oils.”

Tips on how to choose, buy, taste, and use olive oil are given to users, as are recipes and cooking tips. And, for those who want to make an olive oil inspired trip, there is information on Italy’s Olive Oil routes, farmstays, museums, and cooking classes.

History is also offered through the app, as users will learn about the past and present of the olive oil trade in the Mediterranean. And for those who love fun facts, the app includes interesting conversation starters like superstitions regarding olive oil and how the product is related to sex.

Olive Oil IQ is $2.99 in the App Store. Click here to learn more and download the app for yourself.

Food & Wine Classic in Aspen celebrates 29th year; get discount tickets until March 15th

food and wine AspenBetter put your cardiologist on speed-dial; it’s almost time for the 29th annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. The nation’s most-lauded culinary festival will be held June 17-19, featuring food, wine, and cocktail seminars, cooking demos and competitions, grand tastings, and book signings by celebrity chefs like Tom Colicchio, José Andrés, and Michael Symon. Get your tickets before March 15th, and you’ll save $100 off the $1,185 ticket price. Hey, no one said gastronomic blowouts in Colorado’s ski town Shangri-la come cheap.

The price includes attendance at five Grand Tastings, where you can sample the goods from over 300 vineyards, breweries, and distilleries, as well as charcuterie, cheese, olive oil, and chocolate.

Think it sounds a little too high-falutin’? Take note of a few of this year’s witty new seminars: “Sauce on the Side: Wine, Wieners & the Works,” with restaurateur Danny Meyer; “Global Street Food” with chef/one of half of Two Hot Tamales’ Susan Feniger, and “One Pot Meals” with Ming Tsai. Also sure to be popular: “Sophisticated Sipping Rums,” “Top Chef: Salty and Sweet,” with Gail Simmons and Tom Colicchio, and “Cheeses and Wine from Spain.”

FOOD & WINE donates two percent of the net proceeds from all Classic tickets sold to Grow for Good, benefiting Wholesome Wave Foundation. Grow for Good is FOOD & WINE’s national initiative dedicated to supporting local farms and encouraging sustainable agriculture. To purchase, call 877-900-WINE or click here.