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The Olive Basket Blog

All About Truffle Oil

All About Truffle Oil

Truffle oil, with its distinct earthy aroma and rich flavor, has become a staple in gourmet kitchens around the world. Among the varieties available, black and white truffle oil stand out for their unique characteristics and versatile applications. From enhancing simple dishes to adding complexity to gourmet creations, black and white truffle oil offers endless possibilities to elevate your culinary experience.

Exploring Black Truffle Oil:

Black truffle oil, derived from the prized black truffle fungus, brings a deep, musky flavor profile to dishes. Its intense aroma and robust taste make it a favorite among chefs for adding depth and complexity to a wide range of recipes. One popular use of black truffle oil is drizzling it over freshly popped popcorn or crispy French fries for an indulgent treat. The earthy notes of the truffle oil complement the savory flavors of the snacks, creating a luxurious snack experience.

Another way to enjoy black truffle oil is by incorporating it into pasta dishes. Whether tossed with al dente spaghetti or mixed into a creamy risotto, a few drops of black truffle oil can transform a simple pasta dish into a gourmet masterpiece. Its rich flavor infuses the entire dish, adding depth and sophistication that will impress even the most discerning palate.

Exploring White Truffle Oil:

On the other hand, white truffle oil offers a more delicate flavor profile, with subtle hints of garlic and nuttiness. While not as pungent as its black counterpart, white truffle oil still packs a punch and can elevate dishes with its unique aroma and flavor. One popular use of white truffle oil is drizzling it over a freshly baked pizza or a creamy mushroom risotto. The delicate flavor of the white truffle oil enhances the earthy flavors of the mushrooms, creating a harmonious balance of tastes.

Another way to incorporate white truffle oil into your cooking is by using it as a finishing touch for roasted vegetables or grilled meats. A drizzle of white truffle oil adds an elegant touch to dishes, imparting a luxurious flavor that will delight your taste buds. Whether tossed with roasted Brussels sprouts or brushed onto a juicy steak, white truffle oil brings a touch of sophistication to any meal.

Kayla Leung
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Olive Pairings: Elevating Your Cocktail Experience

The Classic Martini: Perfecting the Olive Garnish:

As we all know, martini's and olives are a perfect pairing. One way that you can upgrade your martini is with our Delizia Olives! Our orange and lemon stuffed olives can be the perfect garnish, a cross between the classic fruit twist and olives. Elevate your cocktail experience with these vibrant bursts of citrus-infused flavor, delicately nestled within plump, briny olives.

Beyond the Martini: Olives in Other Cocktail Classics: 

Another drink our Delizia Olives can help provide a excellent twist on would be the classic gin & tonic. This cocktail combination celebrates the flavors of the Mediterranean region, with the aromatic essence of rosemary and the subtle pungency of garlic enhancing the botanical complexity of the gin. The briny and savory olives serve as the perfect finishing touch, adding depth and character to each sip.

Craft Cocktails: Creative Olive Pairings:

In the realm of mixology, innovation knows no bounds, with bartenders constantly pushing the boundaries of flavor to craft cocktails that surprise and delight the senses. One such example is the marriage of the classic Moscow Mule with a Mediterranean twist—a combination that may seem unconventional at first glance but promises a tantalizing flavor experience unlike any other. 

  • The addition of an olive-stuffed with feta cheese as a garnish brings a Mediterranean flair to the classic Moscow Mule. The creamy saltiness of the feta cheese inside the olive complements the zesty kick of the ginger beer and the tartness of the lime juice. This unexpected garnish adds a layer of richness and complexity to the cocktail, making it a standout option for those seeking a unique and flavorful twist on a beloved classic.
Kayla Leung
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How White Balsamic Vinegar Can Elevate Your Recipes!

White balsamic vinegar can elevate your cooking in several ways:

  1. Bright Flavor: White balsamic vinegar has a milder and slightly sweeter flavor compared to traditional balsamic vinegar. It adds a bright and tangy taste to dishes without overpowering other ingredients.

  2. Versatile: It can be used in various culinary applications, such as dressings, marinades, sauces, and reductions. Its versatility allows it to enhance the flavor of both savory and sweet dishes.

  3. Balancing Sweetness: White balsamic vinegar's subtle sweetness can balance the flavors in a dish, especially when paired with rich or fatty ingredients. It adds a pleasant acidity that cuts through richness and adds complexity to the overall flavor profile.

  4. Enhanced Presentation: Its light color makes it an excellent choice for dishes where you want to maintain a bright and vibrant appearance. It can be drizzled over salads, grilled vegetables, or fresh fruits to add visual appeal and a pop of flavor.

  5. Marinades and Glazes: White balsamic vinegar is ideal for marinating meats, seafood, or vegetables, as it helps tenderize and infuse them with flavor. It can also be used to create flavorful glazes for roasted or grilled dishes, adding depth and caramelization.

  6. Dressings and Sauces: It serves as an excellent base for homemade salad dressings, adding acidity and complexity to simple vinaigrettes. Additionally, it can be reduced into a syrupy consistency to create flavorful sauces for meats, seafood, or desserts.

Overall, white balsamic vinegar is a versatile ingredient that can elevate the taste, appearance, and presentation of various dishes, making it a valuable addition to any kitchen.


All white balsamics are 10% off this March only! 

Kayla Leung
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Unlocking Health Potential: Embrace the Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil are powerful antioxidants that play a crucial role in promoting overall health. These natural compounds have been associated with numerous health benefits, contributing to the oil's reputation as a key component of a healthy diet.

  1. Antioxidant Powerhouse: Polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil act as potent antioxidants, helping to neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. This oxidative stress reduction may lower the risk of chronic diseases and support overall well-being.

  2. Heart Health: Studies suggest that polyphenols in olive oil may have a positive impact on cardiovascular health. They are believed to help lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and reduce inflammation—all key factors in maintaining a healthy heart.

  3. Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Chronic inflammation is linked to various health issues, including arthritis and heart disease. The anti-inflammatory properties of polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil may help mitigate inflammation and contribute to the prevention of inflammatory diseases.

  4. Brain Health: Some research indicates that polyphenols may play a role in supporting cognitive function and protecting against age-related neurodegenerative diseases. Consuming extra virgin olive oil may be a delicious way to support brain health.

  5. Cancer Prevention: While more research is needed, there is evidence to suggest that polyphenols in olive oil may have anti-cancer properties. They may help inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells and reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer.

  6. Blood Sugar Regulation: Polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil may contribute to better blood sugar control, making it a potentially valuable dietary addition for individuals with or at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Incorporating extra virgin olive oil into your diet, particularly in place of less healthy fats, can be a simple and flavorful way to harness the potential health benefits of polyphenols. Our Portuguese Lentrisca has a polyphenol count of 613.28, perfect for supporting overall wellness. 

Kayla Leung
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Is Your Oil Cold-Pressed?

We get this question all the time.  The short answer is yes, all of our olive oils are cold-pressed.  But like many things, the answer isn't that simple.

The reason this isn't a simple answer is because the term "cold-pressed" isn't a regulated term, but rather a marketing term dreamed up to help sell olive oil.  One can find definitions of "cold-pressed" out there, but those definitions are not regulated by any government or industry body, so it doesn't have any real meaning.
The term that is regulated is "extra virgin".  This is a term that was created in the 1960s to help consumers be sure of the quality of the product they are purchasing.  Virginity comes in several levels (with extra-virgin being the highest quality) and is defined by the International Olive Council (www.intrnationaloliveoil.org).  The USDA and the European Commission have slightly differing standards for extra-virgin olive oil, but they both conform to the IOC standards.
Here at The Olive Basket, our Extra Virgin Olive Oils are true extra virgin oils.  Technically, EVOO can only contain olive oil and nothing else, so our Infused Olive Oils and Fused Olive Oils do not fit the bill.  
Our Infused Olive Oils start life as true EVOO, but once essential oils are mixed in to create the desired flavor profile, they can no longer be called extra virgin.  While our Fused Olive Oils are produced using the same methods as traditional EVOO, they contain more than just olive oil, so they can't be labelled as EVOO either.  We are comfortable calling these products "cold-pressed" since they are made using the highest quality methods.
Eric Gisler
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President's Day: Thomas Jefferson And The Olive Tree

Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, was known for his many passions, including politics, science, agriculture, and food. Did you know that one of his particular interests was in the cultivation of olive trees and the production of olive oil?


Jefferson first became interested in olive oil during his time as the United States Minister to France in the late 1780s. While there, he encountered a variety of Mediterranean foods, including olives and olive oil, which he found to be both delicious and healthy. Jefferson believed that olive oil was a key component of a healthy diet and encouraged his fellow Americans to consume it as well.

In 1787, Jefferson began to experiment with growing olive trees at his home in Virginia, Monticello. Despite the fact that olive trees are not native to Virginia and the humid climate is not ideal for their cultivation, Jefferson was determined to succeed. He obtained a variety of olive tree cuttings from Europe and began to plant them on his property.

Unfortunately, Jefferson's early attempts at growing olive trees were largely unsuccessful. The trees struggled to survive in the Virginia climate, and many of them died. However, Jefferson did not give up on his dream of producing olive oil in the United States. He continued to experiment with different varieties of olive trees and planting techniques in the hopes of finding a way to make it work.

Finally, in 1805, Jefferson's persistence paid off. He successfully harvested a small crop of olives from his trees and pressed them to produce a small quantity of olive oil. This was a significant achievement, as it was the first time that olive oil had been produced in the United States!

Despite the fact that Jefferson's olive oil production was never able to achieve commercial success, he continued to champion the benefits of consuming olive oil throughout his life. Along with wine and books, Jefferson considered olive oil as a "necessary of life" and personally imported 4 gallons every year for his own consumption.

Today, Jefferson's legacy in the world of olive oil lives on. While the United States still imports the vast majority of its olive oil from Europe and other parts of the world, there are now a growing number of American olive oil producers who are following in Jefferson's footsteps. Some of these producers are even located in Virginia and other parts of the United States where the climate is not traditionally conducive to growing olive trees.

Thomas Jefferson's passion for olive oil was an example of his curiosity and persistence in pursuing his interests. While his attempts at cultivating olive trees in Virginia were not entirely successful, his efforts laid the groundwork for a growing interest in American olive oil production. Today, Jefferson's legacy in the world of olive oil serves as a reminder of the importance of exploring new ideas and pursuing one's passions, even in the face of challenges and obstacles.

Eric Gisler
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Balsamic Vinegar: How it is Made

The history of balsamic vinegar can be traced back to the medieval era in Italy, where it was originally used as a medicinal tonic. Today, balsamic vinegar is enjoyed worldwide, with its production and aging methods strictly regulated to ensure its quality and authenticity.

Traditional balsamic vinegar is produced in the Modena and Reggio Emilia regions of Italy by cooking the grape must (unfermented juice of crushed grapes) to concentrate its flavor and then aging it in barrels made from various types of wood, including chestnut, oak, cherry, and juniper. The must is transferred from one barrel to another, with the aging process typically taking several years to complete. The type of wood used and the length of time that the vinegar is aged determine the flavor and texture of the final product.

White balsamic vinegar is made a little differently.  The grapes are crushed and cooked the same, but then the must is filtered to remove skins and mixed with a little white wine before being stored in new oak barrels for the aging process.  The result is a lighter, more tart balsmic with a light color.

Shoppers should be aware that commercially produced balsamic vinegar, which is made from a combination of wine vinegar and caramel, is often sold in stores and passed off as the real thing. Naturally, traditional balsamic vinegar is more expensive than commercially produced balsamic vinegar, but it is also considered to be of a higher quality, with a more complex flavor profile.

In order to be labeled as traditional balsamic vinegar, the product must meet strict quality standards set by the Consorzio del Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena. The consortium sets guidelines for the type of grapes used, the production process, and the aging process. Traditional balsamic vinegar is also subject to rigorous testing and tasting to ensure that it meets the required standards.

In addition to its culinary uses, balsamic vinegar has also been credited with a number of health benefits. Research has shown that balsamic vinegar contains antioxidants, which help to protect against cellular damage, and has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. Balsamic vinegar is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help to reduce pain and inflammation in the body.

Whether used as a condiment in cooking or as a finishing sauce for dishes, balsamic vinegar is sure to add a rich, complex flavor to any meal. With its numerous health benefits and its versatility in the kitchen, it's no wonder that balsamic vinegar remains a popular ingredient in kitchens around the world.

Eric Gisler
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Oleocanthal, The Secret of the Mediterranean Diet Revealed!

Ever heard of oleocanthal?  It’s fun to say!  It’s also good for you and is found in quality extra virgin olive oils.

Oleocanthal is one of the many, many different biophenols (aka polyphenols) found in real extra virgin olive oils that tend to disappear when the oil is treated with heat or chemicals, and is yet another reason that ensuring your EVOO is authentic is worth the extra effort.  

This amazing compound was first discovered and isolated by Dr. Gary Beauchamp a biomedical researcher at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia after attending a molecular gastronomy conference in Erice, Sicily in 1999!

Here’s the experience as described in “Extra Virginity” by Tom Mueller:

A SHARP SEAR came at the back of Gary Beauchamp’s throat, together with an overwhelming sense of déjà vu. As his eyes filled with tears and he started coughing convulsively, a eureka moment came of the kind that scientists dream of, a chain reaction of interdisciplinary inspirations ricocheting through biochemistry, immunology, and human history. All triggered by one sip of extra virgin olive oil.

The reason for Dr. Beauchamp’s déjà vu?  He had been working on a study comparing ibuprofen to acetaminophen.  Ibuprofen, when chewed and swallowed, produces a very distinctive burn on the back of the throat, and Dr. Beauchamp experienced the same burn when tasting olive oil in Sicily!

He took some of the olive oil back to his lab, isolated the individual compounds, and began tasting them.  When he tried (what he would later name) oleocanthal, there it was again.  That distinctive burn in the back of the throat.

After further experimentation, they confirmed that oleocanthal - like ibuprofen - inhibited COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes in very similar ways.  Inhibiting COX enzymes is the main chemical property that gives ibuprofen its pain relief and anti-inflammatory effects.

OK, that’s a little deep.  I’m not a scientist so please don’t ask me anything ore about COX inhibitors!

It is also worth noting that - unlike ibuprofen -  we already know that olive oil contains a whole host of additional compounds with numerous health benefits!

Before I wrap up this post, a little bit about the name oleocanthal.  Dr. Beauchamp and his staff named the compound by combining the latin words “oleum” (oil), “aculeo” (sting), and “aldehyde” (aldehyde).

Since the term “Mediterranean diet” was popularized as a healthy approach to eating in the 1950s, researchers have been trying to figure out why.  Oleocanthal may not be the only reason, but it is certainly a major factor!

Additional reading:  Google is your friend, but this short article from the IOC is great!

Eric Gisler
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Olive Tree Facts!

This is going to be the easiest blog post ever, thanks to our friends over a trees.com!

Trees.com is a site where you can find all sorts of great information on trees and order trees to plant in your own yard, and they have a fantastic infographic on the Olive Tree, along with a page packed with even more information!  Check it out!


Olive Tree Information


Eric Gisler
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New Year, New Adventures!

New Year

Now That That's Over...

Whew, the holidays were busy around here and the shopping season was good to us here at The Olive Basket!  Of course, the doldrums of January are in full force now.  :)

I've been too busy to do any blog posts recently, so this one is a little different.  This one is more of a business update and insight into changes we're thinking about.  Thank you for your business in 2021, and we hope we can continue to be helpful in 2022 and beyond!


We tried a few new things in 2021, starting with moving to a new location.  The new store in Epps Bridge Centre in Athens, GA is getting a lot more foot traffic, which is great!  Unfortunately, the rent is a bit higher too!  For 2021, I think it about evens out, but we have seen so many new customers this year that I'm sure it will prove to be a good decision in the future!

We added a Membership Rewards program in 2021 and I'm pleased to report we have over 450 members already!  If you haven't checked out our rewards program, what are you waiting for?

We also added a review system to our website!  As of now we have 184 reviews!  And most of them are 5-star!

2022 Plans

Focus on In-Store Sales 

Don't worry, we're still going to ship orders from the website, we're just going to redirect our marketing budget to try to get more in store traffic.  The truth is that online orders have a lower margin, and by the time we add in the marketing, it's even lower.  It just makes sense to focus on in-store sales.  A lot of our other ideas are driven by this focus as well

Customer Education

I've had a plan now for a while to offer an olive oil education / tasting event a few times per month.  I am hoping we can do that in 2022, but it really depends on how this whole COVID thing goes.  I just don't feel like it is responsible to have a lot of people in the store with masks off tasting olive oils.  

Cooking Demonstrations

This one isn't fully baked, for much the same reason.  Also the new store is so much smaller than the old one so space is an issue.  I'm looking at how we can do some simple demonstrations or sponsor a dinner at a local restaurant.


I haven't taken any steps yet, but I have been researching and crunching numbers on getting a real, Italian Gelato counter for the store, so we can offer a few flavors.  I'll admit, this is driven by my own desire to have real gelato.  Also, it should help attract people into the store.  :)

Thanks to all of our customers, we really appreciate you, and we're looking forward to bringing you the freshest oils, the best balsamics, and the highest quality gourmet food items (and treats!) for years to come!


Eric Gisler
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Cooking With Extra Virgin Olive Oil

It is one of the biggest myths about extra virgin olive oil, and I can't believe I haven't written a post about it yet:

"You Should Never Cook With Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  It Can't Take The Heat!"

False.  False.  False.  A thousand times false!  Let us explain why:

It's Healthy

First and foremost, extra virgin olive oil is packed with healthy organic compounds! 

  • Biophenols have antioxidant properties to help rid the body of free radicals  
  • Oleic acid is the most prominent monounsaturated fatty acid found in olive oil and has been proven to lower total cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol) levels
  • Oleocanthal found in quality extra virgin olive oils is chemically similar to ibuprofen and acts as an anti-inflammatory

Most cooking oils don't have any of these properties, so already EVOO is ahead!

Heat Resistance

In addition to the heart health benefits listed above, monounsaturated fats are highly resistant to heat.  This means that even when heated, oils containing monounsaturated fats do not break down as easily.

Most cooking oils (canola, vegetable, soybean, etc...) are primarily polyunsaturated fats, which not only break down and oxidize under heat, but have been shown to produce harmful compounds when they do!

Smoke Point

This is the big one.  Everyone says EVOO is a poor cooking oil because it has a low smoke point.  

That is not only false, but it is misleading!

Smoke point is a difficult thing to determine, but is defined as the point that an oil begins to smoke, indicating that it is breaking down and producing harmful compounds.

However, when a cooking oil begins to give off smoke, it may not be an indication that chemical bonds are breaking.  This is for two reasons:

    • Free Fatty Acids - EVOO has a very low FFA content by law, but it does contain some FFA.  Oils with higher FFA content will appear to have lower smoke points because the fatty acids will "cook out"
    • Trace Nutrients - Because EVOO cannot be legally refined and can only contain oil from the olive, it also contains all of the nutrients listed above (and more!)

Refined oils that are typically used for cooking contain very little free fatty acids and almost no trace nutrients. 

EVOO on the other hand contains both, so it will appear to reach its "smoke point" long before the monounsaturated fats in the oil begin breaking down.

What all of this boils down to is that EVOO can have a smoke point between 375-400°F, plenty high enough for most cooking applications!


We're not going to lie and say that EVOO is impervious to heats involved in cooking.  Heat will make any oil degrade, but contrary to popular belief EVOO is actually very resistant to heat compared to several other popular cooking oils.

In addition, EVOO contains nutrients that simply cannot be found in refined oils.  While the application of heat to EVOO will "cook out" some of these nutrients, the fact that they are there to start with means that at least some of them will make it to your plate.

For cooking with EVOO, we recommend using an EVOO with a higher phenol count.  Starting with a high phenol count means that more biophenols (and other compounds) will still be in your food at the end of the cooking process.

Bon Appetit! 

Eric Gisler
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Fused Olive Oil - The Best Thing You've Never Heard Of

Fused Olive Oil may be the best thing you've never heard of, but we're about to change that!

Blood Orange Agrumato Being Made

Fused olive oils have an interesting history.  In the Abruzzo region of Italy, farmers would crush ripe lemons or oranges in with the olives in their mill to produce a very special olive oil that had a beautifully balanced citrus flavor, thus inventing what is now known as the fused process.

Only today, the fused process is no longer restricted to citrus fruits.  Citrus still creates a wonderful fused oil, but so do peppers and herbs!

With an infused olive oil, oil extracts are mixed with olive oil (preferably extra virgin!).  It is relatively easy to experiment with proportions until the right mixture is obtained.  Not so with fused oils.

Because every fused oil is made by crushing the olives along with the produce, a small test batch isn't really feasible.  In addition, the ratio of olives to produce will be different for different fused oils, so the only way to get it right for a specific type of produce is trial and error over the course of years, even decades!

Blood Orange Agrumato Production

The trial and error involved in producing a quality fused means it is expensive, time consuming, and difficult to produce.  This, of course, means that it is rare and somewhat expensive.

But oh is it worth it!

The flavor that a quality fused gives is absolutely fantastic and really can't be duplicated.  Blood Orange or Lemon fused oils can be used in confectionery applications, on grilled vegetables and light meats, even over ice cream!  Pepper-based fused oils can take a salsa or intentionally spicy dish to the next level.  And, you haven't lived until you've drizzled Rosemary fused oil over roasted potatoes!

All of the Fused Olive Oils here at The Olive Basket are the product of decades of experience and fine-tuning and are produced by our supplier's mill in Tunisia, where they are careful to produce within hours of harvest, for both the olives and the produce.  The result is a collection of absolutely amazing tasting oils that we hope you will enjoy!

Eric Gisler
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