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Sunday, October 15, 2017

5 Good Reasons for Considering Organic Wine

Swirling, Sniffing and Sipping Organic Wine from Provence: why wine drinkers are switching



Looking for a gentle way to say goodbye to the summer, I finally took time to discover our very own Maison des Vins here in Provence.  Home to around  800 red, white and rosé wine from the Côtes de Provence, this is where wine producers showcase their produce and an excellent way for wine lovers like me to taste and appreciate fine blends of Côtes de Provence wine.

What I found refreshing during my session with the resident oenologist was the choice and taste of organic (bio wine in France). Up to now, I had not paid much attention to organic wines but I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised at the fresh taste and wanted to find out more about organic wine here in France.

  Here are 5 good reasons why you should take organic wine more seriously:

1.       Winemakers make the switch because they realize the damage that constant use of pesticides   causes to their domaines. Chemicals rob soil of their natural properties. Today, more and   more vintners are seriously making an effort to protect their domaines and the environment.Organic grape farming requires grapes to be organic which means no chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides but using instead 100% natural products.

2.      Farmers are the first victims of the substance intensive-based agriculture. If it’s that harmful to them, it must also be unhealthy to us. It takes three years for them to convert their soil from traditional grape growing too organic.

3.      The organic wine industry is growing considerably In France.  According to Agence Bio, the French Governmental body for organic affairs, French households bought nearly 800 million euros of organic wines in 2016. 

4.      Wineries that make organic wine have to follow specific guidelines not only in the vineyard but also in the vinification process. To get the certified organic label in France winemakers turn to organizations such as Ecocert which ensures that all European regulations are met.

5.   French households bought nearly 800 million euros of organic wines in 2016. More organic  wine is available these days; it’s easy to opt for healthy organic wine not only in supermarkets but also in restaurants.

One thing is clear, more and more of us are keen on a  healthier lifestyle and thankfully, we are paying more attention to the environment. Don't you think these are  perfect reasons for taking organic wine seriously? Wine drinking should always be a pleasure and if we pay attention to our beautiful planet, even better!!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The First National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Tasting Team Championship in France

Tasting skills of olive oil enthusiasts to be assessed in Provence 

France will be hosting its first ever national olive oil tasting competition September 16 in Lançon-de-Provence, an exciting event for olive oil producers, growers, and olive oil enthusiasts. The country might not be known as a big olive oil producing country, but France’s exceptional terroir produces sublime extra virgin olive oil and what better way to encourage excellence in extra virgin olive oil?

The main organizing committee for the competition Savantes, The Association FrancaiseInterprofessionnelle de L’ olive (AFIDOL) and Cécile Le Galliard creator of  Jus d’Olive are understandably thrilled to be a part of this exceptional competition where the main focus will be on the olive oil tasters and not  on extra virgin olive oil.

Founder and Director of Savantes Simon Field from Australia will be working together with the organizing team to oversee the championship: The Savantes tasting program is recognized worldwide also for its marketing program for extra virgin olive oil.  Also assisting in the competition will be the technical team whose task is to ensure the highest technical standards.

Tasting Teams

The organizers say they hope to ‘create a relaxed atmosphere around olive oil,’ they say they would like the teams to enjoy a pleasant day surrounded by other olive oil enthusiasts.
Cécile Le Galliard, French olive oil expert  says enthusiastically: “We have been planning and working hard to prepare this event since last year. We have 15 teams registered. “
She says that participants do not have to have to be experts on olive oil tasting to take part that they should relax and enjoy the day.

The tests

The first test will test each participant’s knowledge individually.
The second test will be a team effort where each team will be given the same blend of extra virgin olive oil.  Points will be given for correct identification of the given oil.
Test 3, also a team effort involves analyzing 6 six monovarietal numbered samples from 6 producing regions.

The setting up and organizing of this competition at Château Virant in Provence is a tremendous achievement, a superb opportunity for French olive oil enthusiasts to test their knowledge and to discover new extra virgin olive oil. What’s great about this sort of event is that that participants will be discussing that primary method of describing olive oil – the flavor of course.

                                         Olive Oil expert Cécile Le Galliard judging olive oil at a recent competition

Credits: terraolivo Jeruslame 2017

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

5 Things you should know about Oleocanthal in extra virgin olive oil

Have you heard of Oleocanthal?  Here are the basics about the extraordinary virtues of this olive Oil component. 

    --  Oleocanthal is an antioxidant discovered purely by chance when an American researcher Gary            Beauchamp was invited to participate in an olive oil symposium in Sicily in the  90’s.

-- Oleocanthal is what causes that sting, the peppery sensation in the back of your throat when you swallow olive oil neat. Oleocanthal comes from the purist of olive oil: if it stings a little the olive oil contains little oleocanthal but if it stings a lot, it contains a good deal of oleocanthal.

-- Oleocanthal has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties similar to ibuprofen. Oleocanthal like ibuprofen inhibits production of the two enzymes that cause arthritis. This is good news for people with arthritis when you think that over two million people in the US alone suffer from the disease.

        -- Research studies by Professor Amal Kaddoumi on mice show that oleocanthal leads to reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a neurodegenerative disease that is characterized by an accumulation of β-amyloid (Aβ) and tau proteins in the brain. Her  experiments were conducted on mice, but she says “What we see in animals we can see in humans.”

-- These are only two health benefits of Oleocanthal. Researchers keep finding more health benefits every year. They say we should include a daily dose of extra virgin olive oil in our diet every year-- around three tablespoons say the experts.

The International Oleocanthal Society

The discovery of oleocanthal made such a buzz amongst researchers and health professional that they formed a society the International Oleocanthal Society(IOS)  comprising of scientists, nutritionists, dieticians and chefs meeting regularly not only for research but also to promote and raise awareness of how oleocanthal can make a difference.

The Society met in May this year. This is what Professor Kaddoumi reported:

The International Oleocanthal Society in Malaga 2017

 The meeting in Malaga was great and exciting for multiple reasons. First meeting and come to know new people who share similar interest as mine in relation to olive, EVOO and oleocanthal in addition to other phenolic compounds in EVOO. Also, it provided the opportunity to build collaboration with other scientists in this field.  What I found really interesting in this meeting is having olive oil. 

The authors of 7 Wonders of Olive Oil were delighted to receive a gold

diploma, an award for their work on Olive Oil. Thank you to the International Oleocanthal Society for this recognition.