Today I have here with me, T.J. Robinson, aka "The Olive Oil Hunter ®," is one of the world's most respected authorities on all matters olive oil. Known for his “platinum palate,” he is one of the few Americans invited to serve as a judge in prestigious Italian olive oil tasting competitions.
These days he is dedicated to importing rare fresh-pressed olive oil, the most flavorful and healthiest extra virgin olive oil on the planet, until now virtually impossible to obtain year-round in the U.S. All his oils are independently lab tested and certified for 100% purity.
T.J. serves as a personal “olive oil sommelier,” traveling the world, following the sun, seeking out only the best-tasting oils and acquiring them for his Club members right during the olive harvest, as the olive presses are running, when the oils are miraculously flavorful —like no other olive oil you can find in the U.S.
In this episode, T.J. opens the show describing the difference between his olive oil and mass-produced oils. The highest quality olives should still be green, whereas bulk producers will use overripe olives because of the high oil content. Then, T.J. explains the process he goes through to harvest olives and how much work goes behind creating his blends. Stay tuned to hear T.J. talk about the myths behind cooking with oils and what to look for when tasting olive oils.
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[00:30] About T.J. Robinson
- J. joined a harvest party with a Sicilian family in Italy. The moment T.J. tasted fresh olive oil, it changed his whole life.
- Fresh olive oil could change the world, people’s diet, and their health.
[04:30] The Difference Between T.J.’s Olive Oil and Mass-Produced Olive Oil
- Bulk oil is made up of oils from different countries. When you look at the label, it may have five or six different countries on it. There is very little care with these oils.
- Some bulk oils can sit in vats for years and years before ever making it to your pantry.
- J. works with small family farmers who do not have access to the United States market. It is a highly curated collection, following a seasonal harvest. After trying hundreds of oils, T.J. makes test batches and eventually sends the oils out to his club members.
- The health qualities cannot be compared between T.J.’s olive oil and bulk olive oils.
[08:20] About the Olive Harvest
- There are over five hundred different olive varieties in Italy.
- After playing with the varieties, T.J. creates blends.
- The ripeness of the olives will alter the flavor profile. As the fruit goes from green to black, more oil is created inside the fruit.
- If the farmer is producing oil for bulk oil, they will leave it on the tree for an extra few months. During this time, it goes from 10% oil to 30% oil.
- The health-promoting qualities of olive oil are the greatest when it’s super green and not as ripe.
- Harvesting the fruit when it’s green is not as cost-effective as harvesting it when it’s overripe. Bulk producers harvest when it’s overripe because it produces more oil.
[17:30] Staying Satiated
- Olive oil is one of the best fats for staying satiated.
- Ben will take a shot of olive oil as a crutch when fasting.
- J.’s olive tastes so good that you can drink it out of a shot glass.
- The media is finally picking up on the good fats in olive oil. They realize the younger olive oils are better.
[21:00] The Myth About Cooking With Olive Oil
- Myth: you shouldn’t cook with olive oil. The antioxidants in fresh oil protect it from oxidizing, whether it’s in the body or the frying pan.
- J. heats his pan first, at the very last minute, T.J. will add his oil. Do not let the oil sit and burn.
[26:40] Taste-Testing Olive Oils
- Professional taste-testers drink olive oil out of white cups. The color is an indicator of quality. Quality olive oils will have a green tint. Then, swirl the oil and put the cup in the palm of your hand to warm the oil.
- The first evaluation of the oil will be on the nose. When it is extra-virgin, the oil goes through a professional tasting panel and a chemistry panel. Take a whiff of the oil. You should notice that it smells like being in a vegetable garden.
- After you have smelled the oil, it is time to place a teaspoon of oil on your palette and chew the oil. T.J. tries to draw a little air in when he tastes. During this, you are looking for bitterness and spiciness. You should feel a tingle in your throat.
[35:20] Uses for Olive Oil
- Ben takes a shot of olive oil to stay satisfied. He also uses it for eggs, salad dressings, and sautéing vegetables
- J. likes to use it as a finishing oil. It would be best if you used it as a sauce and can use it to roast vegetables.
- Fresh olive oil has incredible benefits for the gut microbiome.
AND MUCH MORE!
Resources from this episode:
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