Note: Scroll to the bottom for a free Olea Oliva bottle and promo code for a discount!
Olea Oliva is a boutique nestled in East Cobb (Marietta, GA) at the Avenue which sells various olive oils, gourmet spices, dark and white balsamic vinegar’s, paleo blends and various other health promoting items that just opened in March of this year. I had the pleasure of being invited for an interview and special tasting with the owners Smita and Dilip Daya. I also brought along my friend Rosi Patel with me who is a part of the University of Arizona Integrated Health and Lifestyle Program and has always promoted using olive oil to me (so I thought she was the perfect person to bring along)!
From the minute I walked in to the store, I knew this was going to be really good. The look of the store is extremely inviting, classy, clean, organized (always a plus for me) and every piece of decor in the store has some sort of story behind it and connects with the olive oils from the Italian paintings to the wooden furnishings. We spent about 3 hours just talking about their passion and motivation to open up the store, health benefits and tastes of olive oil, how you can lose weight and limit the use of salt or sugar in your meals with special flavored olive oils that promote health and wellness!
I never knew there was a specific method to tasting olive oils and balsamic vinegar’s, but it is very similar to wine tasting. You start off by swirling and placing the cup in your palm (the heat causes the flavors to rise to the top), sniff it, and then slurping the oil to cover your entire tongue before swallowing. This makes a world of a difference in how each person perceives the taste of each extra virgin oil.
I couldn’t get over how many different types there were- I had no idea that you could have “infused/fused” and naturally flavored with spices (this is the reason why you don’t need the added salt/sugar in your diet)! There were tons and tons and we spent time going through most of them from the “buttery” ones to the “bitter” ones which vary in polyphenol levels (this is partly what leads to the health benefits).
My favorite ones were extra virgin olive oil Spanish Signature blend made from Arbequina, Picual and Hojiblanca olives, naturally flavored extra virgin Blood Orange olive oil, Garlic infused extra virgin olive oil, Maple dark balsamic vinegar and Green Apple white balsamic vinegar. Depending on the type and flavors, they can be used for various dishes from salads, bread and pizza toppings, oatmeal, poultry, seafood, vegetables, meats to desserts and ice cream! Almost anything you can cook- there is an olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar out there for it! I learned so much that I never knew and this post would be super long if I shared it all, but here are a few tips I learned from Dilip and Smita that I think everyone should know:
1. Olive oil has a plethora of health benefits including anti-inflammatory properties for conditions such as arthritis, weight loss management (it keeps you full longer by improving digestion), lowering cholesterol, use in dermatologic conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, lowering the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, preventing skin cancer and benefiting hair and skin with anti aging properties. These are stated in the guidelines and promoted by the NIH and the FDA.
2. Olive oil should always be stored in a dark container away from any source of heat and can last up to 18 months. Balsamic vinaigrette’s can last up to 2 years if stored properly. Neither one should ever be in the fridge (they’ll lose health benefits).
3. The “smoke” point (410 degrees Fahrenheit) for olive oil is the point where if you heat it too much it will lose its’ health benefits which is the most common reason why people don’t always cook their food with it. However, this is only when you are heating up the actual oil where you would not want to physically see it start smoking- so just be careful and don’t leave your pan while it’s heating up oil!
4. 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil a day is all that is needed for health benefits! You can also apply it all over your body to help with strong bones and certain types of dermatological conditions. Massaging babies with olive oil daily also helps strong bone growth!
5. Again, using these flavors can reduce or eliminate sugar and salt!
6. Always buy EXTRA virgin (free fatty acid <0.8%, colors of the olive oil don’t determine if it is good or bad, it is the amount of times the olives have been pressed that makes the real difference).
7. Their 250 ml bottle ranges from $13.95-$15.49 and 500 ml bottles are about $24.95-$26.49 which is an insanely good price as extra virgin olive oils are always very expensive. They are able to keep the costs low because they buy directly from the provider and not distributors like grocery stores which usually buy the cheapest kind and they keep it on the shelf for years sometimes.
8. You can make strawberry version tiramisu with mascarpone cheese and key lime with the chocolate balsamic vinegar (they were delicious- thanks for making them Smita):
9. You can also use the blends for delicious appetizers with bread or caprese (again, so good Smita):
10. They also sell Indian spices and pickled vegetables that are organic and made in olive oil:
Dilip and Smita are very active in the community and do multiple events to make the community aware of these wonderful benefits of olive oil. They have partnered with various community centers, Kaiser and physicians in the area. They also conduct complimentary tastings and cooking classes for those who are interested. They also host VIP ticketed events where promotions go to various charities.
Mr. and Mrs. Daya were kind enough to give me a bottle of complimentary olive oil, balsamic vinegar and pickled masala, but I was so impressed that I bought many more of my own! They have an amazing loyalty program for any customer- if you buy seven 250 ml’s, then the 8th one is free! Also, the biggest and best promotion yet:
If you are a Little Blue Book reader, then enter promo code “LittleBlueBook” on the website as they ship all over the country to receive 10% off! If you are a local, then go visit the shop and mention “Little Blue Book” to receive a 60ml bottle of any olive oil or balsamic vinegar with any purchase from May 24-June 24!
Note: The discount code entry field will only show during checkout. Only one discount at a time will be valid–one per customer.
Fun Facts From the Daya’s!
1. How did you come up with the name “Olea Oliva?”
“Olea” is a genus of about 40 species in the family Oleaceae. “Oliva” is the word for olive in Catalan, Spanish, and Italian. Thus “The Olive Tree.”
2. Do you cook with your products?
Every single day! We even have Fun Friday’s where we always eat out, but we bring back the food to our store and experiment with different oils with our meals (i.e, sandwiches, pizzas, etc.). Check out their recipe cards for samples!
3. How did your passion arise for Olea Oliva?
We lived next to an inspiring Italian family- the Calamai family for 16 years and had the opportunity to have fresh pressed oils for years. They currently live in Romola, Italy (near Florence) where we visit them yearly!