Back in October at the start of the olive harvest season I was invited to learn all the things about olive oil production. It was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had so far being a food blogger. Spending a few days with Corto Olive Co. really changed my mind about buying the cheapest olive oil on the shelf.
Who else is guilty of buying that $5.00 olive oil in a plastic bottle?? I was – 100%. I used to look for Italian olive oil specifically thinking it was the best of the best, but the thing is Italian olive oil is not regulated, but tightly controlled within Italy so we really don’t know what is in those bottles. The tampering of what is in those Italian oils are so prevalent that 60 Minutes even did a story on it. I watched it, yet I still bought the cheap stuff. It wasn’t until I saw how much planning and care is put into producing that bottle of olive oil that I started appreciating it.
What is striking about olive oil in California is that only a small portion of growers choose to grow olives. To give you an idea of the scale, there are approximately 1 million acres of almonds grown in California as opposed to 40,000 acres. This makes California olive oil pretty rare and special. We are pretty lucky to have it grown here just a few hours from San Francisco.
From how it’s grown, to how it’s pressed, stored and packaged it all makes a difference and it all starts during harvest season between October and November.
Olives are deemed ripe when they start turning from green to purple. It’s a very small window to harvest olives at peek.
The trees were planted and pruned exactly like grape vines at Corto. This is so that they are able to use the same equipment used in harvesting grapes. It makes for fast harvesting and keeps the olives intact by using the harvester machines gentle picking fingers. The faster you pick ripe olives the better to keep the amazing macro nutrients found in olive oil.
Just a few hours after the olives are harvested they are transported to the Mill where they cold press the olives to extract the oils. It’s very important to extract the oil as fast as possible as the olives start fermenting right when they are picked. They start losing nutrients as the minutes go by.
All the olives are optically sorted before they are crushed and milled into mush and then cold pressed into olive oil. The smell when you walk into the mill is amazing. The only way I can describe it, is that it smelt so green and fresh. Everything is temperature controlled and the oil is protected from oxygen through out the whole process.
During the tour we had the opportunity to taste the freshest olive oil ever. These olives were just harvested and pressed. The taste is amazing and because the nutrients are still intact you can feel a slight burning sensation in your throat when you swallow it. That burning feeling are antioxidants being released into your body.
After our olive grove and mill tour we had lunch at the Corto family residence. You know when you have made it in life when you have so much property that you have to give your house of residence a name.
Walking through San Tomo was a dream and when we saw where we were eating for lunch our jaws dropped. It was in the middle of a private olive grove next to the guest house.
The amazing food was prepared by Chef Emily Kendall. All of her dishes were lovingly prepared and highlighted the freshness of Corto olive oil beautifully.
One of the best things I ate during the trip was this olive oil gelato. It inspired me to create my own spin on it – a vegan olive oil pudding.
After our epic lunch we sat down to learn more about olive oil with the Master Miller David. He is a man of many talents and one of them is knowing when and how to extract the best olive oil ever.
We spent a few hours tasting olive oil from the best to the worst. We also learned the chemical structure of an olive (it was THAT detailed). Detailed yet informative.
My key take aways from the olive oil tasting and science section of the trip were these things:
We ended our day with a surprise visit from a real life God Father Dino Cortopassi the founder of Corto Oil Co. We spent the night getting to know each other more and really spending the night like family.
I think you can see it through these photos – through out the whole trip there were lots of smiles and laughter. The Corto Olive Co. is a family run business and we felt it. Every person that we met really loved their job and what they do and all they really want is for everyone to be educated about how good olive oil is produced.
I am so happy to have taken part in this year’s harvest. It’s so unforgettable that I still talk about it. This olive oil is so fresh that I want one of you to be able to taste it. You will not be able to find Corto in the supermarket, but you can find it online here.
So I have the pleasure of giving away one Corto’s TRULY EVOO 3 liter FlavorLock Box to one lucky person living in the US. To be eligible all you have to do is comment below what you would do with 3 liters of the best olive oil in the world. You must also be a resident of the United States. That’s it! So simple.
Giveaway closes on Tuesday the 5th of December 2017 at 9pm PST.
*** Update Giveaway is now close and the winner Alice has been contacted! Thank you everyone who entered and I hope you learned more about olive oil in the process!***
I love olives! They are so tasty, healthy and great to add to most dishes! I am crazy about the fact that you grow them from nothing and use it to deliver all that pleasure to people’s tables!
I would make olive oil cake and share it with my family and coworkers! I love how simple it is to make olive oil cake, yet it tastes so special and unique!! That on top of drizzling it on everything like toasted or grilled bread.. some tomatos.. YUM!
That sounds like the most perfect way to use this olive oil!
I learned early on with clothes that it was worth having one quality sweater to a bunch of cheap ones! Funny how it took me longer to understand that with food, but like you, once I’ve tasted quality I’ll never go back!
That is so true! It’s so much better to spend on the good stuff!
Omg, I could cook all the recipes I haven’t been able to make using quality olive oil. Would so love to win this!
Good Luck Judith!!! It’s a great way to use the olive oil!
I would make great dishes and present the dishes to others to enjoy. Bon appétit !
Since I cook on a near-daily basis, it would be ideal to use olive oil of such superior quality! I also happen to use it for skincare application and as a makeup remover- it’s just such a versatile oil…gentle yet effective!
I would learn how to cook with olive oil. I never use it so it would be a great experience
I will use it to cook great Italian food!
Homemade salad dressing every night!
I would use it in cooking!
Good for salad dressings ! Love the table set up .
I would make lots of dipping sauces for my family.
It might sound odd, but I would make CAKES! I know several fantastic recipes that call for olive oil – and the more distinctive the oil’s flavor, the better, like a savory rosemary and sea salt cake, or a sweet cardamom and orange olive oil cake, and I would give them to friends and family as holiday favors.
I would use it in all my cooking so we would be eating healthier.. thanks hope to win
I would use it in cooking and that’s something I should have been using already
Oh I would use it to make herb infused flavor oil oil for dipping a great bread, would cook with it makes you food taste so good and believe it or not my grandmother always used only a great oil oil a few drop every morning and night on her face . When she was in the nursing home the nurses would say your grandmother has the softest skin and hardly any wrinkles. She told us she uses oil oil I said yep that’s what’s in that little bottle in her bathroom. 🙂 Thanks for a chance , Merry Christmas!!
A good olive oil is gold! Best appreciated with a piece of bread! This sounds like such a wonderful experience!
i would make rosemary bread cuz virgin oil deserves the best
Very education! I use a lot of extra virgin olive oil in my cooking so it’s hard to narrow down. But for starters, if I got my hands on this special olive oil in time for Christmas I would make some big batches of my popular kale pesto to give as part of some DIY Christmas gift packages.
I use olive oil almost daily in my normal cooking routine. I feel that it is much healthier than other cooking oils. My husband and I follow a strict keto diet, and olive oil fits perfectly into it!
I use olive oil in all my cooking, we especially love using it on my fresh tomato salad with basil and drizzle of good olive oil. Thanks for the chance to win this wonderful olive oil!
I would use it for cooking daily. I’ve also started to substitute olive oil for part of the butter in my baking to cut back on saturated fat.
I use Olive Oil everyday on everything from salads to dipping bread , but mostly cooking so I would cook a nice Italian meal with it
I would make aioli, toss with pasta and garlic, make an olive oil cake, an bake some bread for dipping, too.
use for every day cooking,fresh salad
I love olive oil I have been using for 14 yrs. I use it in everything it’s an excellent source for your arteries and Diabetes. I would love to try your olive oil please. Thanks for chance!
Use it for bath oil; and skin protection!!!!!!!!! Its the BEST of the very BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I would use it to cook and bake with.
I would use it for cooking and baking.
I would use it for drizzling over veggies for roasting, and for much of my everyday cooking.
I would cook veggies with this olive oil and put it in salads.
I would cook meals
I’d use as much of it raw as I could — drizzled on bread or peppered avocados, in taponades and dressings — things like that.
I would use it in all my cooking…and use it with herbs for bread dipping!
Interesting! I’ve always worried that the olive oil I was buying was fake or diluted, which is why I try my best to go for California olive oil. With all that olive oil I would definitely be making lots of salad dressings and bread dips!
I would make tons of amazing pasta dishes and use it for dipping sauces
I love to cook. I would just Love to try real Olive oil, instead of the cheap stuff I have been buying. If I love it, I will always buy this. I might even let my daughter use it too, Lol , who always uses Olive Oil to cook with. . Good Luck to everyone that enters.
I would start cooking more often at home
I would make margarita pasta with it! It is a simple penne pasta with olive oil, garlic, basil, and tomatoes. 🙂 I usually add mushrooms as well and serve it with grilled chicken breast, yum!
I would make lots of yummy Italian food!
ncprincess96 at yahoo dot com
Dip lots of homemade bread in it,lol.
I’ll make fried rice with chicken and shrimp with my virgin oil.
I would make lots of stir fry,salad dressing,and my chicken Parmesan!
I would guzzle that olive oil down like it’s water. Lol no jk, I would cook with it like crazy and also use it as hair conditioner. Olive oil is bae <3
I would do so many different things. I love olive oil french bread, I would make a bunch of breads with the olive oil, maybe some pizza dough. I would also use for all of my homemade salad dressings. So many ways to use olive oil.
I would cook my butt off. I use olive oil for everything, but I always have to settle for lower quality brands because of the cost. I would be in heaven if I won this.
I would make delicious pasta for my Mom. She loves pasta with olive oil. Yum!
I saved this post. So helpful, thanks!
Cook dishes with it
I would start by making a Delicious Eggplant Parm and invite my friends over x
I would cook with it.
I would use it for all of my sauteed dishes as well as to make my own salad dressings.
Totally agree….never buy the cheap stuff. I always have a few different levels of oil in the cupboard….but NONE are in the cheap area. You get what you pay for in taste for sure.
What a great oil for a simple pasta dish! Love the story and photos. Incredible!
Oh my goodness, I love olive oil!! If I had the best olive oil in the world, I would reserve it to be enjoyed with salads, bread dipped in oil and pesto, and other fresh indulgences. 😀
I’d use it to make popcorn!
Mmmmmmm sauteed veggies
Oh my! Yes, once you have the “good stuff” there’s no going back to the cheap ingredients. I can think of so many things to make with this…the first that popped into my head was EVOO bisuits!
It would be nice to cook with the best olive oil, my budget doesn’t allow me to spend much so I’m sure that I am missing out by using a inexpensive brand, that I hear isn’t even 100% olive oil.
I don’t think I have ever seen a 5$ olive oil bottle on the shelves in Europe or in India. However I have tried my fair share of olive oils and most are heavily mixed with other things. These days I appreciate the olive oil we get here, which is imported by a local from Crete and he has been specializing in kalamata olives and olive oil from the region. But of course good olive oil comes with a price tag. 🙂 Thank you for taking us along on this fun looking food trip!
I would use it to make salads and pasta dishes
I would use it for everything!
I use it for frying, in salad dressing and making my own spray for my skillets so food doesnt stick!
This is so interesting. I’d never considered Italian olive oil not being regulated
I use Olive Oil for everything i fry!!! and make my salad dressing!!
Great post and even better photos! Sounds fun!
I’m jealous! I’ve always wanted to see first hand how anything is made. Love anything from scratch. That dinner table looks absolutely GORGEOUS!!! loving all your photos too. Thanks for the tour!!
Thank you for teaching us about the process of making Olive Oil. Our favorite dinner uses Olive Oil three ways. First, I make oven roasted chicken and I start by rubbing the chicken in Olive Oil and then seasoning with salt & Pepper. Secondly, I make a light and delicious salad with fresh spinach and goat cheese. The dressing is a Vinaigrette with Olive Oil, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Lastly, I like to make a loaf of home made yeast bread and I serve the meal with a small bowl of olive oil with course black pepper for dipping of the bread. It is a simple yet delicious meal and the only thing better is the leftovers the next day. The photos are lovely and the table is beyond beautiful!
Hi Alice!!! Thank you so much for the kind words and your recipes sound so delish. Congratulations you have won the olive oil. Please email me at hi@rezelkealoha:disqus .com and send me your full name and mailing address so we can get this to you ASAP!! Again yay!!! Congrats!!
I would love this… The oranges on our trees are almost ready, and I would make vinaigrette with the Olive Oil and our fresh oranges to put on the butter lettuce which is growing in our garden (perk of California, is that my winter garden is the same as my brothers fall garden in Tennessee). Also in the garden is an assortment of winter veggies (cauliflower, beets, brussel spouts, onions, garlic, etc) and they would all work well with an olive oil bath before popping them in the oven to roast them. Fresh and quality ingredients make a huge difference, and I would want nothing less to pair with the bounty that comes from our yard, after all of the hard work that went into growing it! Finger’s crossed.
not at all sure why the comment appears as personal account… if only I could figure out how to edit that….Nancy (ig @thephotocottage)
This is amazing – I never knew any of this! I love all the photos too 🙂 I would use the olive oil to make an olive oil cake – I’ve seen a few recipes for them and have always wanted to try it out! 🙂
Olive oil is the best and I am not even Italian
Wow what a great experience! I love olive oil. It can make a recipe or break it so I always make sure I use only the best!
What a fantastic post Rezel! and these photos are stunning! I watched that same 60 minutes episode and really started upping my olive oil purchasing. I don’t think I’ve ever tried Corto before. I absolutely love drizzling a flavorful olive oil over a summer tomato salad or having a small dish of it on the table to dip some chunks of fresh crusty bread… delicious!
I would use it to try a few new recipes I want to make this holiday season.
What I would do?! I am new to the vegan world as I have had bariatric Surgery and am trying my best to try all kinds of new recipes. I have noticed that a lot of them call for olive oil and I’m sure that with your olive oil my new lifestyle change will be easy to adapt to as your oil is the best in the world to enhance my new diets flavors. I was afraid of trying vegan and I’m learning it’s not too bad. But like I said if I could get the oil…. it will be a breeze. 🙂
I would use it to make holiday recipes and stir frying
I would use the three liters of the best olive oil in the world for cooking and eating.
My husband is a chef, and we use a LOT of olive oil! I know I’d make pesto with it- basil, rosemary, ramp, and others… I’d dip crusty hot bread in it, too..
this would be amazing. we ae a family of 6 and i love to use olive oil but we can never afford it.
I love cooking with Olive Oil, Thank you so very kindly for this wonderful opportunity! Enjoy your Holiday Season!
We use it for all of cooking from the morning eggs to cooking all the vegetables sn meats
i would cook every dinner using this olive oil.
Besides using EVOO to cook with, I use it to make homemade shampoo, soap, body oil, lotion, beard oil, and just about all my cosmetics and dog cosmetics too. I also add it to my dog/cats food as well. We love EVOO a lot as you can tell. lol
I would have a cooking get together with the family.
Lots of delicious cooking 🙂
I would use it for dipping bread.
I would use this for hosting my family over the holidays.
I would saute veggies
I use olive oil in cooking and salad dressings almost every day! I would put it to great use!
I would very happily making my favorite dishes all of the time! Like chicken parmesan, lasagna, homemade pizza and more.
I would use it all the time in my cooking!
I would make pasta and salad dressings.
I would cook like crazy and make some diy hair and scalp products
Cook, cook and cook some more
Exquisite bread and parmesan!
eat it with bread and make lots of pasta!
I would use it with pasta, salads, and chicken.
I would use them for cooking!
I would use the olive oil for cooking or drizzled over tomatoes and cheese. I bet it would be amazing!
I’d have olive oil and fresh bread with every meal for a year!
My husband is Lebanese and we use a lot of olive oil- basically in everything we eat. He has a large family and we have dinner at his mothers each Sunday- I’d share some
Olive oil with her to pour over the fresh hummous and fatoosh salad. Nothing sets flavor off love olive oil!
I would do some serious stir frying.
I would roast a bunch of veggies in the oven and cook all kinds of delicious food with this olive oil. Thanks
I would make herb infused flavored oils for dipping and for cooling great meals. I only use olive oil in my cooking . Thanks for a chance Merry Christmas…
I would use it to make a dipping sauce for my favorite bread I make and in all my recipes! gmom2paisley at gmail dot com
I would use it for cooking. This sounds like it was a really interesting trip!
I would cook up some of my favorite dishes with it: Pasta and vegetables. And I would dip my favorite French bread in it. Yum. kneecree at gmail dot com
definitely use in it cooking…one of my favorite simple pasta dishes is oil & garlic spaghetti !
I would use it to cook with. Quality olive oil not only makes the most delicious dishes, it also makes for the healthiest bodies!
I would make some amazing food dishes.
Thank you for the share. Very Informative and educational
My husband and I both cook daily so we would happily use every drop together 🙂 Happiest of holidays, cheers!
heatheranne99 at gmail dot com
I would use it in cooking and stir frying.
I would use it in cooking and for drizzling on bread.
I love olive oil. I use it in most of my savory dishes. I use it almost everyday and would love to win!
i would use it in my cooking.Lots of it
I would use it to cook everything! We go through lots of Extra Virgin Olive oil weekly! Plus I use it as a moisturizer on my dog! I mix it with water and rub it through her once a week!
I’d use it to cook with!! Olive oil in cooking is amazing, and to have the BEST olive oil in the world to cook with, now that’s something to be proud of in my kitchen <3
I’d love to try a few dishes with it these holidays.
We would use the Corto TRULY EVOO to sauté vegetables !!!
I would do so many things with it. Salad dressings, using it in marinades, to add flavor to dishes and much more!
My wife loves Italian cooking. She would use it in her recipes.
I cook a lot! I would use it in so many recipes!
I’d cook for everything with at!
Lots of Italian food. It’s our main diet 🙂
I use olive oil for cooking, frying, and for bread dips. I also drizzle it on crackers with prosciutto and mozzarella and a little basil. There are so many things to use it for.