Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Olive oil

What do you think of when you hear of olive oil? The sunny shores of Spain? Healthy non saturated fats?A fresh salad?

many people think of this.

Last Friday, I was invited to join the most cheerful friendly bunch of food bloggers on a tour of the Yad Mordechai kibbutz. First there was a lovely drive down south, where a lovely breakfast was waiting for us.


After breakfast we headed to the observation post, where we heard about the proud history of the kibbutz. The kibbutz is named after the leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and sits on the Gaza border and often suffers missile attacks from Palestine. They withheld the Yad Mordechai battle, one of the most terrifying battles of the Israeli Independence War, suffering huge losses, which haunted the families who refused to leave for many years.

Yad Mordecahy - The fallen water tower
The fallen water tower. A monument to the 1948 battle

Then it was time for olive oil tasting and a very interesting lecture on olive oil. The kibbutz produces honey and olive oil from plantations spread across the country, mostly in the deep south, where the land is bright enough to reflect the sunlight back to the fruit, making it ripe and wholesome.

Let me tell you, the oil tasting made me sick to my stomach

Here are facts you probably didn't know about olive oil:
  • Olive oil is right for both seasoning and cooking
  • Professional olive oil tastings are performed with blue glasses, in order to avoid any deviation caused by the color of the oil, which is irrelevant to its quality.
  • Today, most excellent olive oils are blends of several types of olives, which ensures you will get the best of all worlds.
  • Olive oil quality derives from the time it took the fruit to arrive the olive press, the pressing process and temperature and the olive variety.
  • The sharper the taste - the more antioxidants the oil contains.
  • Israelis consume 1 liter of olive oil per year by average. Greeks, who are the world champions in olive oil consumption, consume 21 liters of oil per year by average.
After the tasting, we enjoyed a wonderful Umami cooking workshop with chef Amir Ilan of the famous Hudson restaurant in Tel Aviv. He showed us how to use the kibbutz's premium olive oil in savory sauces for fresh fish and salads. It was to die for!

Chef Amir Ilan
Chef Amir Ilan in action

Fresh tuna with Tiradito vinaigrette and tobikko 

Finally, we received a gift of beautiful premium olive oil and orange flavored honey (I wish we got the ginger honey we had at the tasting, it was divine!) and went on to a nearby hill to plant a little olive tree.

Yad Mordecahy - The fallen water tower
The view from the hill top

I got a baby olive tree, which I named Motti (to remind me of the wonderful experience in the kibbutz). We then headed back to the center, happy and well nourished. I will certainly be joining more events of this beautiful group of people.

Me and Motti
Motti and his mommy

You will be happy to know Motti is now happily setup on my roof garden. I expect to be producing my own little premium olive oil label in about 3 to 5 months, on which event I will surely invite the lovely people I met on Friday for a tasting and probably some cake as well.


Anonymous said...

wow wonderful


JacBer said...

Really interesting, thanks :-)

Sharona R - שרונה ראובני said...

It was so much fun, and yummy too :o)

briskmamma said...

I will answer question from beginning of the post: to my parents home, to south of Croatia where I was born and spent my childhood. Almost every meal was embellished with olive oil. But we did not use it for cooking, it is to precious for that...

Akhil Paul said...

Really appreciative Sharona,looking frwd for newer posts.
pls hav a look in to my blog too
Thanks in advance.

Valerie's Essentials said...

I learned so much! Looks like you had a really great time.

Sharona R - שרונה ראובני said...

I am glad you enjoyed it!

There is another exciting trip, of a similar type, planned for this Friday. This time - meat and chocolate!