Olive oil is one of those rare foods where just about everyone on the planet can agree on its health benefits. It has antioxidants, healthy monounsaturated fats, and a variety of phytonutrients, among other benefits. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) comes in superior for its health promoting benefits, and provides richer, deeper flavors than the standard stuff. There’s no doubt that high-quality olive oil can and should be part of your healthy diet.
I had the joy of sampling the Kasandrinos Extra Virgin Olive Oil sold by my friend Tony Kasandrinos. I’m impressed by the dedication to purity. This evoo is made from only Koroneiki olives, which are picked and pressed within 24 hours. Most brands available in the US mix olives from all over to produce a lower-quality oil for the less-discerning American market. Kasandrinos oils are also guaranteed to contain at most 0.3% acidity, even though the standard for the “Extra Virgin” label is to be at most 0.8%.
The Kotinos variety is a golden yellow with a mild flavor, although still deep and throaty. I prefer using this oil for making salad dressings because its flavor lends itself well to fresh herbs, mustard, and light vinegars.
Even though the Kotinos oil hasn’t be certified organic, the olive trees haven’t been sprayed or treated. According to Tony, “Olive trees are actually very hardy trees that live for hundreds of years. They do not require much more than the sun, Mediterranean breeze and water. Chemicals and pesticides are not generally used on olive trees.”
Extra Virgin olive oils should always be reserved for cold uses (salads or finishing a cooked dish) instead of for cooking because heat degrades the beneficial elements that you’re paying extra for. A standard olive oil is a good choice for cooking, but stable saturated fats like ghee and coconut oil are better options.
The Kasandrinos company is a family affair. Tony’s uncle has imported olive oil for the past 10 years, and Anthony is taking the family business into the 21st century by making it available for purchase online. He has been passionate about olive oil his entire life. “My family has had olive farms in Greece for a few generations. It is a staple in EVERY kitchen in Greece. To me, it is something that has always been a part of my life, along with most Greeks.”
Kasandrinos evoo a product I seek out for its superior taste, health-promoting qualities, and sourcing. I recommend stocking up on a 3L can when they’re available because it’s the most cost-effective, and who doesn’t want more of a good thing?
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