24 settembre 2009

The lies under the labels of olive oil / 2

I'd like to write again on the lies pollunting the olive oil market.
In 2005, the german magazine Merum asked the tasting panel of the Chamber of Commerce of Florence to examine 31 samples from olive oils sold in German supermarkets, and published the results (re-published also by Der Stern, Slow Food Germany e ZDF national tv).
All 31 samples came from olive oils labeled as "extra virgin" (the highest quality rank available for olive oil; other lower qualities categories are "virgin" and "lampante").
Well, how incredible it may sound, only 1 out of 31 turned out to have the features required for the "extra virgin" label. The rest of them were not compliant; nevertheless these oil were bottled by their rutheless producers with a label they did not deserve and that was, basically, false.
And guess what? Carapelli, one of the exposed companies, sued the journalist who wrote the article for libel and... lost the trial!!
My personal reaction to this story? As I wrote in my former post, meet or get to know the farmer and, once you trust him, buy from him, even online!

Source: Gianna Ferretti's blog.

16 settembre 2009

Why not exchange your used NINTENDO WII for a free holiday in a BB in Sicily? - Baratto: NINTENDO WII anche usata per una vacanza nel loro BB!!!

You are bored of your Nintendo? Wish a holiday but you're broke?
It may be the crisis but it's time for great opportunities online.
Check the image up, taken from the B&B Casa Olimpia in Sicily.

Avete un Nintendo che oramai vi ha stancato? Avete voglia di una vacanza ma il contante latita?
Sarà la crisi, ma è tempo di grandi opportunità in rete.
Guardate un pò nell'immagine qui sopra l'offerta del B&B siciliano Casa Olimpia:

UPDATE 23/sett/09 : they unfortunately took away the original proposal....
purtroppo hanno cancellato l'originale proposta

14 settembre 2009

The lies hiding under the labels of extravirgin olive oil

Recently UK Which? site tested some leading brands olive oils.
The results of the test are surprising and somewhat disappointing for the food lovers.
Why? Because the results prove that we consumers are subject to a serious scam.
The scam is organized by the biggest (in quantity) olive oil producers and consists, basically, in lying to the consumers. In saying that the oil is Italian when it's not. In saying that the oil is extravirgin when it's only virgin or less, in telling them that it's valuable (because it has a high price tag) when, in reality, its value it's less than other far cheaper and better competitors.
All this scam has been unveiled by the results of the Which? magazine, which were published also by the other English magazines (but not, surprisingly, by the Italian press).
A blind tasting by a panel of olive oil experts found that cheap bottles sold in hard discounts were better (and far cheaper) than those at the most pricey and acclaimed supermarkets.

The consumer group described the hard discount oils as 'exceptional value', each receiving four stars.

Other supermarket and branded extra-virgin oils were disappointing, with lower ratings (but higher price).
Which? magazine said: "You don't have to dig deep in your wallet to get good quality. Of the 12 supermarket and branded extra virgin olive oils our experts tasted, two of our best buys are from budget supermarkets and, per 100ml, they're by far the cheapest on test - giving them both 'exceptional value'."

The consumer group added that, no matter how good an oil, it had to be stored in a cool, dark place to avoid losing its freshness.
Among their less favoured bottles, Carapelli's oil tasted of "stale nuts", despite costing 84p per 100ml (the costliest of the group).
Now comes the sad part. You may think that Carapelli is Italian, right? Because the name is Italian, and the brand reads "Carapelli Firenze".
And come on there is this ad :

which looks definitely Italian!!!!!

Well, the ad may look Italian but Carapelli is not! Carapelli was bought by the Spanish multinational SOS Cuertara which also bought Dante and Sasso (formerly Italian brands). And it is known, among the experts (but not the consumers! and how could they know with ads like that and lying labels...) that Carapelli has only a small percentage of Italian olives in his blend.

This situation is a real pain not only for the entire Italian food industry, but also, more sadly, for the honest and extraordinary Italian farmers who produce a really excellent olive oil. They are often forced to sell below cost their oil, because of the commercial power of mulinational brands and mass distribution organizations. Even worse,they may be forced to sell or close their activity.

This issue has been extensively investigated in the past by other journalists, like Tom Mueller of the New Yorker. He's writing also a book on the subject. The title? “Extra Virginity: A Cultural and Criminal History of Olive Oil”. :-(

My personal reaction and suggestion to this scam is: don't trust the ads, because people who make them doesn't deserve your trust (and money). Do trust the people you know or that you may know and buy from them.
If you don't have the luck to live near them, well use the internet!! There are more and more farmers who tell online their life and the true way they work and who sell online, now.
Who needs the supermarkets any more?! :-)

source: Gianna Ferretti's trashfood blog.

09 settembre 2009

My beautiful home land: Molise


Recently another positive, beautiful article about our small region Molise was published by a Dutch magazine (Smaak van Italie - the Taste of Italy).
You can enjoy the beautiful pictures in it (if not the content of the article, which is written in the fascinating yet misterious Dutch language) here below. Maybe one day I will succeed in posting at least a rough translation of it....any volunteer? ;-)
And please note that the pictures of the first three pages were taken in my hometown (Termoli) which, being on the coast of the Adriatic sea, has of course in the fresh fish its main food ingredient (and what recipes!) ;-)
Any comment is very welcome and WILL get a reply.