Olive Crazy: All About Olives and Olive Oil
Nov 012011

The argument of old versus new always seems to gin up emotions and opposition. Whether it’s olive varieties and growing techniques, olive oil packaging, or membership in the Old World Club (aka International Olive Council/IOC) passions are inflamed. Inflamed or not, the world is changing and so are the olive and olive oil industries. Here are a few observations about packaging and my freely proffered opinions.

If you do or don’t like what I have to say about olive oil packaging, give me an intelligent argument and not an outburst. Discussions about olive oil packaging can get heated.  There is the clear glass vs. dark glass debate; the glass vs. plastic debate; the decant vs. keep it in original container debate; and now thanks to two innovative companies, one in South Africa and one in Australia there are some new packaging debates to enliven your future. Let’s explore them.

This past June I read an article by South African journalist, food and wine critic, and sausage entrepreneur, Peter James-Smith. It was entitled Pink Sauce but toward the end of the article he mentioned a new type of olive oil bottle created for and used by the South African olive oil producers at Willow Creek. Peter and I emailed a bit and he sent me the press release about Willow Creek’s award winning olive oil squirt bottle and then I settled in for a think about the bottle’s virtues or weaknesses.

In the meantime, I received a comment from an incredulous Olive Crazy reader accusing me of the atrocity of supporting the squirt bottle, even though I had merely stated that it existed. However, now ye of little inventiveness and foresight, bring it on. I officially have decided that I like the squirt bottle. MAIS NON!

I have a tendency, just like a lot of folks, to go with the tried and true and ignore the virtues of the new, but I’ve decided to stop giving in to the intellectual laziness of succumbing to tradition in an industry that is again vibrant and new. So squirt bottle, I am venturing into newness by liking you and bowing to the end of the dribbling and puddling in my kitchen each time I drizzle or pour my favorite extra virgin olive oil. I also like that your bottle is dark and even though it is plastic, it doesn’t have the nasties that some plastic bottles contain. Thumbs up.

Now for the second, new, olive oil packaging, there is the Barossa Olive Oil Company’s Ollo Extra Virgin Olive Oil in an airtight, collapsible-bladder, food-service packaging. For the folks in a commercial kitchen instead of big tin cans that are difficult to completely empty, this seems like an improvement.

I also read about the Ollo packaging, in retail form, on Australian scientist, Richard Gawel’s blog, Slick Extra Virgin. I haven’t seen it available in stores in the Atlanta area, but that doesn’t mean isn’t available somewhere on the continent. You must read his comments on the packaging. I couldn’t have said it better.

Whether it’s packaging or anything else about the olive and olive oil industries these days, you can be sure controversy isn’t far behind and I look forward to fanning the flames.

May the sun shine through your branches.


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