Monday, January 25, 2010
Here Comes 100% Tunisian Olive Oil
At the recent Winter Fancy Food Show, January 17-19, in San Francisco, 100% Tunisian Olive Oil showcased producers of this revered liquid gold to U.S. and international trade professionals. Before discussing the attributes of Tunisian olive oil any further, it is best to begin with some basics. Since becoming the U.S. spokesman for 100% Tunisian olive oil, I find myself answering two frequently asked questions: Where is Tunisia? And, (with a quizzical look) Tunisia produces olive oil? So before discussing the attributes of Tunisian olive oil, I will share a bit of the country's background.
First, Tunisia lies in the southern Mediterranean in North Africa nestled between Algeria and Libya. Tunisia achieved its independence from France in 1956, thus French and Arabic are the prevailing languages. The country's first president, Habib Bourguiba, dominated the country for 31 years, repressing Islamic fundamentalism and establishing rights for women unmatched by any other Arab nation. It's not uncommon to find women holding high-level positions in the government and they are prominent, entrepreneurial players in the country's olive oil industry... Looking for your next vacation spot? Tunisia's resorts and beaches are the destination of choice for holiday-seeking Europeans. Here is some good news. The current currency exchange offers fabulous value for your maligned dollar.
Next, does Tunisia produce olive oil? The short answer is yes. Tunisia has a 3000 year marriage with the olive tree. Until now, the historical role of Tunisian olive oil has been the supplier of the European bulk olive oil companies. The labels of those bottles of olive oil on the mass supermarket shelves in the U.S. usually state, "Imported from Italy," "Packed in Italy," and often "Product of Italy." These bottles are comprised mostly of olive oil from Tunisian and other countries. Unfortunately with these, they often fail to receive the best of care and handling and do not offer Extra Virgin olive oil of high quality. Sadly, there are reported instances where these bulk oils have been adulterated with other seed oils, despite being labeled Extra Virgin.
Now, here comes 100% Tunisian Olive Oil. The Tunisian government is determined to position its nation's largest agricultural export in more favorable light. The mission of 100% Tunisian olive oil is to promote and seek import representation for these individual growers who are bottling and labeling the nectar produced from their own hard earned efforts. The producers highlighted at the Winter Fancy Food Show are listed here (flavor style in parenthesis):
a.. Al Jazira (mellow);
b.. La Medina-Jerba (robust);
c.. Riviére d'Or (three Extra Virgin olive oils-reserve, organic and conventional-ranging from medium spicy to robust);
d.. Terra Delyssa (organic and conventional-mellow);
e.. and Virginia (medium spicy).
Currently two of these producers are represented by distributors in the U.S, Riviére d'Or (contact Fateh Jebara, Mediterranean Expo in New Jersey at www.mexpofood.com, email: email@example.com) and Terra Delyssa (contact Wajih Rekik, Mediterranean Delight in Houston at www.igotoil.com, email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Now, please stay tuned for future postings as we journey through the world of Tunisian olive oil and discover their marvelous indigenous olive varieties, Chemléli and Chetoui.
Meanwhile, for more information, check out the Web site www.100percenttunisian.com and Twitter @tunisianevoo Check out the Facebook Fan page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Johnson-City-TN/Tunisian-Olive-Oil/68590872627
Photo: The team: Al Hamman, Hamman Marketing Associates; Hager Fenniche and Mahdi Djebali, PackTec-Tunisia; and Bill Sanders, Crush and Press