Welcome to Emerald Coast Olive Oil
Located in Pier Park - Panama City Beach, FL
From ancient times to the present day, olive oil has been used to enhance food. Now evidence shows that a diet based on olive oil can add years to your life and may even prevent diseases. We at Emerald Coast Olive Oil are happy to provide you with the best Ultra Premium olive oils the world has to offer. We stress quality, freshness, and variety. Our olive oils come from around the world, and they include both natural 100% extra virgin olive oils and delicious fruit- and herb-flavored 100% extra virgin olive oils to take your meals to new heights of flavor.
In addition, we offer an amazing array of aged balsamic vinegars that enhance dishes from soups to desserts. Come let us show you a delicious world of oils and vinegars where quality is in every product.
Ultra Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Ultra Premium (UP) is a new category of olive oil that distinguishes the highest quality olive oil in the world. The UP standard was created in response to the growing need to separate high quality extra virgin olive oils from what dominates the so-called “gourmet” and “premium” olive oil markets as well as the broader category sold in mass markets the world over under thousands of brands and private labels. The absurdly low standards created and fostered by numerous trade groups and government agencies responsible for policing them has only contributed to the confusion and misinformation. For more information on the Ultra Premium Designation, scroll down to the bottom of this page.
Not All Olive Oil is Created Equal
Quality is everything when it comes to olive oil. It is important to start with the freshest premium olives. They must be taken from tree to crush to storage in the quickest possible time to avoid oxidization which degrades the oil. Cleanliness is critical, as is temperature control. Our olive oils go from tree to crush to storage in approximately six hours done under premium conditions, far exceeding international standards. (The minimal time standard of the International Olive Oil Commission is 24 hours from picking to container in order to be considered extra virgin.)
After the first crush, the remaining olive pulp, skins, and stems are crushed again and again with heat and water, which destroys many of the health benefits and allows more time for oxidization to occur. The resulting oils are what is often referred to as pure, refined, or light olive oils. Often, other types of oil, such as canola are added to “lighten” the oil as well.
Beware! Olive oils in the US can claim to be extra virgin if they contain only 12-15% actual extra virgin olive oil. The rest of the content can be poorer grades of olive oil or even other types of oil, such as soy. The consumer is not aware that they are getting oils seriously lacking in the health benefits they expect. If the bottle doesn’t say 100% extra virgin olive oil, it is almost certainly not all extra virgin olive oil.
The University of California at Davis, the premier US research facility on olive oils, did a study of grocery store olive oils in 2010 and discovered that not a single olive oil tested was 100% extra virgin olive oil, many being as low as 12-15% extra virgin. Our olive oils at Emerald Coast Olive Oil are all 100% extra virgin. (Our flavored oils were made with 100% extra virgin olive oils and then have had natural flavors added, such and Tuscan Herb and Chipotle, so they are no longer technically 100% extra virgin.)
What Makes a Good Olive Oil
Olive oil is the pure oil obtained from the fruit of olive trees. There are many different olive varieties from which oil can be produced, and each brings a unique flavor and nature to the oil. While some olive oil is made by blending different olive varieties together, mono-varietal or mono-cultivar olive oils are made using just one. It is the variety of the olive along with the maturity of the fruit that contribute most to the flavor of the oil. Ours are all single variety.
Olive oils described as “virgin” are those that have been obtained from the original fruit without having been synthetically treated. Once the olives have been picked, washed, and crushed, no other processing takes place besides decanting, extracting the oil using a centrifuge, and then filtration. The best quality olive oil is described as “extra virgin” — in short, meaning it comes from the first crushing of the olives using the methods described above. This oil retains the maximum health benefits.
None of our oils has been synthetically treated. They have not been obtained using solvents, re-esterification processes or been mixed with other vegetable oils such as are many on the market today. We are very proud to provide our customers with the finest olive oils available.
How to Choose an Olive Oil
Just like different types of apples have different flavors, each variety of olive has a different flavor. Olive oils vary in flavor based on the variety, environmental conditions, ripeness of fruit when crushed, and treatment during processing. There are more than 100 “notes” described by professional olive oil tasters. However, the easiest way to describe the flavor components of good olive oil is through a couple of general categories:
Having pleasant mildly fruity flavors characteristic of fresh, nearly ripe olives. These oils are milder, aromatic, buttery, and sometimes floral.
Green fruit yields oils that are grassy, herbaceous, and very straight-forward in taste. They can have hints of artichoke or green banana flavors as well.
These oils give a sensation of black pepper in the mouth and throat, similar to arugula.
Bitter (or Pungent)
These oils create a mostly pleasant acrid flavor sensation on the tongue. Often, the more bitter the oil, the higher the polyphenol (or anti-oxidant) count, and the better they are for you. However, all of our oils, no matter how high the polyphenols, are significantly fresher and healthier than typical grocery store oils.
Adding More Extra Virgin Olive Oils in Your Diet
Extra virgin olive oil gives a naturally good flavor to cooking. Don’t save your best olive oil just for salads. If you want the health benefits, then use the best oil every day. Olive oil is also a great substitute for butter. Use it on breads, potatoes, vegetables and when cooking. Extra virgin olive oils work well in salad dressing. Roast vegetables coated with extra virgin olive oils in the oven or place coated vegetables on the grill. Dress your food with extra virgin olive oil immediately after cooking. You’ll get more flavor and more nutrients from your oil. 100% extra virgin olive oil sold in opaque or dark colored containers are the best to prevent exposure to light and preserve the polyphenol content.
Why “Ultra Premium” Makes a Difference
We are always asked where our oils come from — fun to know, but not critical to quality of the oil. The over-emphasis on “where” an extra virgin olive oil is produced continues to dominate perceptions of olive oil at the expense of the far more significant “when, what, and how” the oil is made. The principle barometer of the UP standard relies on chemistry and freshness. These two variables can be objectively measured, quantified and certified. Since the highest quality EVOO comes from high quality fruit coupled with high quality production processes, the UP standard encompasses strict requirements for both the production process and the end-product.
No matter how high quality the fruit, and production methods, the best oils in the world are never as good as when they are fresh. There are no standards for shelf-life of EVOO, and the current “best buy” date is intentionally misleading and utilized as the whim of the bottler and retailer. As a quality EVOO ages, it naturally oxidizes, losing positive sensory qualities as well as inheriting defects. Newly developed tests can objectively quantify the “freshness of an EVOO and are referred to as the “Fresh Pack” tests encompassing both the Diacylglycerol Content (DAGs) and Pyropheophytins (PPP).
Ultra Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oils are indeed a cut above the rest. European Union producers are actually given a perverse incentive in the form of government subsidies to keep their oils in storage until market conditions improve. This practice clearly demonstrates the governmental complicity with bottlers and retailers to sacrifice quality for price. Lack of enforcement and testing by trade associations and government agencies has led to a marketplace dominated by inferior oils and rife with adulteration. These practices by some of the world’s largest olive oil producers and bottlers have led to a steep decline in prices of extra virgin olive oil and are driving quality oil producers out of business.
The UP standard is reserved for the finest extra virgin olive oils in the world. As such, the UP grade exceeds all existing European, Italian, Spanish, Greek, North American California, or any other standard for the grade knows as extra virgin olive oil. In order to qualify for the UP grade, the extra virgin olive oil must meet or exceed a comprehensive set of production, storage, transportation, testing, chemistry and organoleptic requirements. The UP program is intended to reward farmers for producing high quality oil and to promote Fair Trade practices to help create a consumer understanding of the value of a higher quality product.