Updated: Dec 23, 2020
While the culinary world has progressed leaps and bounds with modern and new ingredients, the simplistic, classic taste of olive oil still remains undefeated in its uniqueness and class. The powerful health benefits ingrained in olive oil have given it significance in every cuisine. Surprisingly, this one item holds near-religious value and is often revered as a blessed tree in multiple ancient scriptures.
Countries like Spain, Italy, Morocco, and Greece have the honor of being the major producers of olive oil, however, Lebanon, for its smaller geographic footprint, is undoubtedly one of the best hidden gems when it comes to producers of artisan olive oil. With over 500 olive mills and 200,000 olive orchards, Lebanon is gradually making a mark globally through its high quality and authenticity. Lebanon’s historic and rich geography has always been a favorable factor in the growth of olive trees and therefore, 60% of its olive trees are over 150 years old. As a leading producer of olive oil in the Middle East, Lebanon recently covered a milestone in 2017 by becoming a full member of the International Olive Council.
In this article, we proudly introduce two new organic brands produced in the country of Lebanon. These brands are Zougheib & Oleavanti (affiliate links). Below you will find information about each company, and the products they offer, as well as answers to some common olive oil questions.
What is Artisan Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
The word artisan generally refers to items that are handmade and are not the by-products of extensive mechanical procedures. In basic terms, artisan extra virgin olive oil refers to such a form of olive oil that is high in quality and has been organically extracted and is also rich and authentic in its taste. The majority of consumers want to enjoy the taste of such olive oil which is free from chemicals, preservatives and this is where Zougheib and Oleavanti's artisan olive oils take precedence. These olive oils are produced in such a manner that they are free and pure from all sensory defects.
What Is Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Understanding the concept of organic extra virgin olive oil means having a clear idea about its quality and distinct features. This highly intense, strong form of oil is made from olives that have been cultivated and grown through organic methods and techniques. Every step in the production of this oil is reviewed, checked, and inspected by an accredited organic certifying agency. The main factor that is ensured through these agencies is that the growth of olive trees is done in specific, designated areas and that other relevant conditions are fulfilled in its manufacturing process.
As a consumer, if you want to educate yourself more about organic extra virgin olive oil then it is crucial to understand that as far as taste, flavor, and texture are concerned, this oil is very similar to regular extra virgin olive oil. There is a common assumption that an organic extra virgin olive oil has a different taste and flavor from its counterparts, and that does not always hold true.
How is Organic EVOO Different From Regular EVOO brands?
If you have ever wondered about the distinction between organic EVOO and regular EVOO, the first thing to understand is that there is no major difference between their flavor as the two products still belong from the same grade of “extra virgin.” Both of these oils are produced from the first press (or spin) of olives. After being put through a rigorous cycle of requirements, these oils are graded as extra virgin. However, one of these oils is made from certified organic olives whereas the other is not. Organic olives are those which are certified (by an accredited organic certifying agency) to be free from chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other agents.
This, however, does not imply that regular olives are grown with fertilizers and chemicals, because the natural make up of olive trees is such that they do not require the support of artificial products for normal growth. While the taste, texture, and other characteristics of both these oils are similar, the organic certification of organic extra virgin olive oil ensures and guarantees that it is made according to high-quality standards.
Another difference between these two oils can be observed in their price. The guaranteed certification process for organic extra virgin olive oils comes, as you might guess, at a slightly higher cost.
Importer/Distributor: Artisan Levant
Zougheib’s olive orchards have a rich history as its product has successfully catered to people from every generation. Zougheib’s business model is built on family values and a progressive outlook, which has allowed it to gradually grow and expand as an international brand. With an aim to provide high quality, authentic products-Zougheib has always produced items of the finest quality.
Where to Buy:
Buy direct from Artisan Levant by using our exclusive promo code YALLA20 for 20% OFF your order.
Amyouni and aayrouni olives which are specially grown in the Koura District of Northern Lebanon have been used in the production of this oil. These olives are processed through a cold press for the extraction of unfiltered, pure olive oil. The nutritional value and flavor of this oil are exemplary and unique in nature. Now you can add new flavors and tastes to your regular dishes with this oil as it can be used for grilling, roasting, and baking. This olive oil is enriched with a light citrus taste which makes it perfect for use in the making of dips, marinades, sauces, and salad dressings. These wholesome olive oils are available in BPA free glass bottles and are also gluten-free and non-allergenic. Lastly, this high quality, authentic olive oil is made accessible for everyone through its reasonable price range.
Distributor: Artisan Levant
It was the winter of 2016-17 when the owners of Oleavanti discovered the uniqueness of their family’s traditional green pressed olive oil. After attending an olive oil competition, the proud owners became more motivated to share their olive oil with the entire world. These humble beginnings gradually changed into a successful venture as Oleavanti’s premium extra virgin olive oil gained popularity far and wide. Now, this oil has become a widely celebrated product and is commonly used for the preparation and cooking of both eastern and western cuisine.
Where to Buy:
By direct from Artisan Levant by using our exclusive promo code YALLA20 for 20% OFF your order.
This premium extra virgin olive oil is made from 100% souri olives of Zgharta, Lebanon. What makes it unique is its strong aroma that is complemented with traces of green almond and ripe tomato. The buttery, smooth texture of this oil results from a harmonious combination of walnut, wild thyme, peach, and cayenne pepper.
This organic oil is the perfect ingredient to use in salad dressings, dips, meat dishes, marination, etc. Being rich in phenolic antioxidants, this oil also offers a wide range of health benefits. With all the qualities of the extra virgin grade, this olive oil is also free from chemicals and artificial flavors. It is suitable to be used by every consumer as it is gluten-free and non-allergenic. One of the core values of Oleavanti is to contribute positively to society through conscious efforts, therefore all of Oleavanti’s products (including this one) are packaged in BPA-free glass bottles.
As representatives and cultivators of Lebanese culinary traditions, Oleavanti and Zougheib have maintained to carry on the legacy of perfection through their artisan Lebanese olive oils. Our search for the best Lebanese artisan-style olive oils turned out to be a gratifying experience because of these two high-class brands. We hope you enjoy them!
About Artisan Levant
"We bring you the best in products and flavors, cultivated and nurtured in the essence of The Levant’s traditions and its modern-day nationalities and cultures. At Artisan Levant, we believe in sharing the unique unadulterated fruit, art, and culture of the region. Our Lebanese Grecco origins inspire us to deeply sustain and preserve the heritage and economy of authentic Eastern Mediterranean cultures, their land, and flavors. Our craft products tell the unique story of the lands and their bounty. Indulge and celebrate with each bite. You will be glad you did."