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Finding the Basis of a Healthy Mediterranean Diet at the Boston Olive Oil Company

By S. Mathur

While researchers have been investigating the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet since the 1950s, the idea didn't really catch on until around twenty years ago. The medical world now accepts that a diet that includes legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits and vegetables, olive oil, fish, and moderate consumption of wine and dairy products like cheese and yogurt, can be conducive to cardiovascular health. Olive oil is one of the staples of a Mediterranean diet.

Besides its health benefits, olive oil improves the taste of nearly every kind of food. That was in fact what inspired Patrick Vardaro, Owner of the Boston Olive Oil Company, to open an olive oil and balsamic vinegar bar.

He recalls that "My wife and I received a gift of a high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) years ago but we could never replicate the quality. When we figured out how to source really high quality EVOO we thought if we loved it, everyone would love it."

Vardaro feels that what sets their olive oil apart is the freshness and quality: "We only source the freshest and highest quality EVOO from around the world, importing according to crush date. EVOO is a fruit juice and you want it as fresh as you can get it. Our EVOOs are all Ultra Premium which is the highest standard of EVOO in the world." Because EVOO contains anti-oxidants called polyphenols, the American Heart Association recommends a daily dose of two tablespoons.

The store in Boston's Newberry Street is full of drum-shaped stainless steel containers filled with over sixty types of olive oil and vinegar. The containers are known as Fustis and help to maintain the freshness and flavor of the contents. Customers can taste the olive oil or vinegar before buying it, and it will be bottled for them on the spot. There are also flavor-infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars flavored with fruit, spices and herbs.

The knowledgeable staff can recommend the exact variety for each purpose, and also suggest recipes. Staff will also recommend olive oil and balsamic vinegar pairings. For example, Persian lime olive oil mixed with chocolate balsamic vinegar and tangerine balsamic vinegar combined with Tuscan herb olive oil can be used as salad dressing or a marinade for meats. The most popular combination is pomegranate vinegar and Tuscan herb olive oil.

The olive oils are 100 % Extra Virgin, unfiltered and settled, and made from olives grown and pressed by small artisans and farmers from both hemispheres. They are made without any chemicals, preservatives or additives.

Because the Boston Olive Oil Company only stocks seasonal oils according to the crush dates, customers will find that the selection varies on each visit. The olive oils and balsamic vinegars are also perfect holiday and hostess gifts. The store also has food to accompany the olive oil and balsamic vinegars.

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