I’m noticing a pattern here: Every time I feel bad, I end up writing about food. And so here I am, after reflecting on a bad Wednesday, writing about a good lunch I had at Vask in Bonifacio Global City, which was enhanced by one thing I never took notice of before but I certainly appreciate now: olive oil.
It’s been a little over a year since the SSI Group introduced France-based olive oil company Oliviers&Co. (O&CO) to the Philippines, and just recently, they hosted the wonderful lunch to showcase the many wonderful things you can make even better with the addition of this elegant culinary must-have—from salad and cheese to steak and dessert. (Yes, dessert, and I’ll get to that later.)
Oliviers&Co. is known for its gourmet olive oils, condiments, and seasonings. Their sensory analyst Eric Verdier measures the oils “by taste, by nose, and by luminescence.” Much like wine, don’t you think so?
They’ve partnered with 300 mills in France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Croatia, and Portugal, and now these international olive oil flavors are within reach here in Manila, with O&CO outlets in Central Square, Bonifacio Global City, and Greenbelt 5, Makati City. As Oliviers&Co. settles to be a regular in local home kitchens, the brand continues to surprise the palate with new concoctions. This year, they meticulously selected 10 new olive oils to be part of a new collection.
To demonstrate the enhancing power of olive oil and the many ways you can cook with it, they invited us to experience a luxurious five-course degustation at Vask, paired with six of the 10 new olive oil variants from O&CO. Read on for my review of the dishes we tried along with O&CO’s latest variants and find inspirations for how to use olive oil in various dishes—not just salad and carpaccio.
1. Carpaccio de Wagyu con Helado de Parmesano
Olive oil pairing: Ravida Azienda Agricola, Italy
This appetizer made of super tender, thinly sliced Australian Mayura Wagyu Capaccio, delicious ice cream, crispy parmesan, and pine nuts is made even richer and more delectable by the creamy-textured, elegant oil with great intensity. Aromas of freshly cut grass prevail on its long peppery finish. I particularly liked how it enhanced the taste of the cheese!
2. Ensalada de Tomates Heirloom y Mini Mozzarellas
Olive oil pairing: Monva, Spain
Oliviers&Co. bottles oils in the tradition of finest wines, identified with the label “Grand Cru.” One of these is the Monva olive oil, which has robust tart notes that add extra zing to ice cream or inject life into lighter fare like salad. This particular light and refreshing salad made of a variety of tomatoes, red onion, and baby mozzarellas, topped with sherry vinegar dressing, was made even more special and flavorful with the addition of the rich-tasting olive oil, which has slight heat and crisp grass notes. Again, the part I enjoyed the most about this salad is the olive oil-drenched balls of cheese.
3. Pulpo a la Gallega
Olive oil pairing: Agrolaguna, Croatia
This rare oil from Croatia is made with Leccino and Picholine olives that create a smooth but intense taste. Its vegetal yet nutty flavor makes it a versatile ingredient for vegetables, meat, cheese, and even desserts.
Before enjoying this dish made of octopus, potato, and paprika, I took a whiff of the olive oil and picked up spicy, acidic notes. It’s actually light on the palate, bringing with it slight heat and grassy undertones that enhanced the bold flavor of the savory garlic bread crumbs on top and paired nicely with the well-cooked octopus and smooth and creamy potato.
4. Solomillo con Remolacha y Bacon
Olive oil pairing: Moulin La Cravenco Organic, France
More delicate profiles like seafood and chicken breast benefit from an oil like the Moulin La Cravenco, which was harvested from Baux de Provence, France. Just imagine what it does for steak! It’s exceptionally creamy—almost like butter—and with sweetness reminiscent of apples, it would also complement baked goods and fruits, like the sweet, crunchy beetroot chips and slices used in this meat dish.
When I took a whiff of the oil, I picked up light, sweet, fruity, grassy, and floral notes—so delightful! But of course, what I truly enjoyed in this dish is the tender US Grilled Tenderloin that sat on a soft bed of mashed potatoes. You can really taste the olive oil in the oozing juice of the steak and mashed potatoes. The oil somehow enhanced the potato flavor, and vice versa.
Olive oil pairing: Soler Romero Organic, Spain
The olive oil used has a fruity, floral, acidic, grassy scent and tastes more bitter than the others. It is herbaceous, fresh, and slightly spicy on the palate and offers layered notes of bitter almond over the juice of green apple. It’s delicious in the light-tasting, sweet, creamy, and delectable olive oil ice cream, which in turn paired so well with the creamy, buttery, and soft brioche made of bread soaked liberally in butter, milk, and oil. Wiping off every morsel of this dessert is truly an experience I won’t soon forget.
Olive oil pairing: Azienda Agricola Perotti, Italy
The rich, delectable oil used is a little on the salty side. I find it interesting that a superb, fresh, intense, and powerful oil, which releases fragrances of tomato leaf, green asparagus, and lettuce hearts, was paired with such sinfully delicious rich chocolate. At this point, I noticed that the olive oils are paired with food of contrasting taste: salty or bitter-tasting oil with desserts, light and spicy oil with more savory dishes, tart-tasting oil with cheese and veggies. Anyway, this dessert, for some reason, brings back memories of my childhood; it’s that heavenly, haha!
Trivia: If you need more reason to want to consume olive oil in food, know that it helps prevent cardiovascular disease and reduces cholesterol. You might want to buy your parents olive oil or cook dishes with this oil for them from now on. For beauty benefits of olive oil, click here.
In the Philippines, Oliviers&Co. (O&CO) is exclusively distributed by Specialty Food Retailers, Inc. (SFRI), a member of SSI Group, Inc. O&CO boutique is located in Central Square, Bonifacio High Street and Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center.
Vask Modern Tapas & Gastronomic Cuisine is located at Clipp Center, 11th Avenue, BGC, Taguig.
Food photos by Trixie Reyna
Olive oil photos courtesy of Oliviers&Co.