We have been going to Morocco, often, this summer. It has been a journey abroad our taste-buds. And a delicious one, as well.
A few months back Villa Jerada contacted us about trying some of their olive oils. They must have looked at our recipes and knew we were lovers of liquid gold. Or did they know we have an olive tree growing on our deck that is a symbol of our love. Regardless, of how we came together, in all honesty, we have never given much thought about olive oil, even though we love the stuff. That is until the conversations started flowing.
Villa Jerada is based in Seattle, and they work with an olive farm tucked away in Morocco. The farmers who work this land take pride in the delicacies they produce for their country. After all, Morocco is a culinary rich country, from spices to exquisite olive oils.
The olive oils of Villa Jerada are produced by the Aqallal family, who has been producing olive oils since 1887. Their olive groves are located in the Atlas foothills of Morocco, which is a mountainous chain that stretches across Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, separating the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea from the Sahara. These ancient olive groves are over 100 years old, and each one produces a very different olive oil. We loved the fact that all of the work is done at the olive farms, from cultivation to harvesting, and bottling to packaging. Nothing is outsourced. It is done the same way as it has been done for years.
We were thrilled to try two of their olive oils, the Terroirs De Marrakech and the Dessert Miracle. As soon as we received the package in the mail, we knew we were in for a treat, just from the gorgeous packaging. The bottles are ultra-sexy, and definite conversation pieces. Each of these oils is best used, in my opinion, as a finishing oil. The flavors are complex you want to taste them, not flatten them.
Terroirs De Marrakech is produced with Picholine du Languedoc olives, which are grown on the family’s estate in Marrakech. The olives are harvested from century old trees as well as newly planted ones; but, both are kept separate during the extraction and bottling process. While both olives are a rich golden color, the flavors are completely different from one another. The Terroirs De Marrakech is slightly fruity, with a very green presence and a slight peppery undertone. I imagine this is because the Picholine olives are harvested while still green. Slightly drizzle this oil over roasted fish or grilled lamb; it is amazing.
Desert Miracle is produced from olives grown on the El-Borouji Estate, which is located at the lowest elevation in the Atlas foothills. The olives are from Spanish Arbequina and Moroccan Dahbi trees and are harvested just as the colors are changing from green to black, but are still a rosy color. The amount of time from harvest to extraction is as little as 20 minutes, which produces a less acidic olive oil. This olive oil is considered the regions “ultra premium extra virgin olive oil”. Desert Miracle is a lighter oil than the Terroirs. It is slightly green in flavor, a little sweet and creamy like butter. We have been enjoying this olive oil drizzled over grilled fruit such as peaches, figs and nectarines, as well it makes a simple salad spectacular. Another favorite way we have been enjoying it is drizzled over fresh burrata with a sprinkling of Maldon salt … bliss.
Both olive oils have won countless awards and are used by chefs throughout the world, for their flavor and complexity, as well as the manner by how they come to their tables. Directly from the orchard to the bottle to us. We highly recommend both as finishing oils for your kitchen. Interested in trying them for yourself (you will not be disappointed), you can purchase them at the following online stores, City Olive and Chefs Shop.
We love these olive oils so much, that we want to share a bottle of the Terroirs De Marrakech with one lucky reader. You do need to be based in the USA. Sorry.
All that you need to do is leave a comment below, telling us what one of your favorite dishes to finish with a drizzle of liquid gold is. You have from now until August 31, 2012. We will announce the winner on September 1, 2012.
A little late, but, the winner is #14 (counted from the bottom up 1- 25), David Dadekian! David, email us your address at denise @ chezus.com
** Disclaimer: Villa Jerada supplied us with these amazing olive oils to use in the development of recipes. The views on this blog are our own and in no way were we monetarily compensated for writing this entry.