Monday, 14 September 2009

A Moroccan olive oil: Desert Miracle

A while back, we wrote about the difficulty of finding good olive oil in Muscat (see here). You can imagine it brought a smile to our face when we saw a new offering at our local Al Fair. An extra virgin olive oil from Morocco, called Desert Miracle (3.950 OMR for 500ml). It is produced by Atlas Olive Oils, a company that is situated at the foot of, you guessed it, the Atlas mountain range. The company is serious about quality and produces only extra virgin oils. Desert Miracle has a maximum acidity level of 0.2%. Such quality-mindedness is rare and deserves to be praised. This is what the company has to say about it themselves:

At Atlas Olive Oils we guarantee and commit ourselves to produce only extra virgin grade and never a combination of extra virgin olive oil with virgin oil or refined oil. We refuse to produce for outside parties bringing low quality olives to our crushing mill. We are highly concerned about achieving the highest quality standards: we prefer to produce smaller quantities of high end prestigious olive oils rather than large quantities of medium and cheap olive oils (lampante, refined, or only virgin). In this context, our usually maximum acidity is 0.2° level. We use the cold-press method and add no chemicals and almost no heat assistance.

We test our extra virgin olive oil using the Olive Oil Council accredited methods which allow us to select and retain only the highest rated olive oils coming from our own groves. Integrity is the key to our success and only by strictly respecting what is written on the bottle’s label can we keep up with our centenary tradition and authoritativeness that built our reputation. These are the secrets of an ultra-premium extra virgin olive oil that cannot be substituted.

We admit that we never tasted a (good) olive oil from Morocco before, so were excited to see how it was. We were pleasantly surprised. While oils from southern countries can be heavy and cloying, this has a beautiful light golden colour and it smells of fresh cut grass and green apples. To taste it is soft and rich, nutty and slightly peppery. A very good olive oil. If you're looking for a really fresh oil, it may be better to look for something Italian or French, but we do like this fuller style as well. Lovely with some bread and sea salt, but also great to use as dressing for salads or to enhance the taste of your dish.

Our experience is that good products don't last long on the shelves in Muscat. So you'd better hurry to Al Fair and stock up.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for postingi am a fanatic of Olive Oil too, i totally agree with you, the bottled Moroccan olive oil that you find in any market is of an average to mediocre quality. it is a great to know that finally, a Moroccan family took their ancestral olive oil making skills to the 21st century business models. i went to their website to learn more about them.....they got it right. i can not wait to sample their O.I.
    However a quick comment on "...We admit that we never tasted a (good) olive oil from Morocco before..." I learned from first hand experience, that Moroccans are spoiled and picky when it comes to buying olive oils, in fact they don't buy it, they make it
    first, Many Moroccans shop, smartly, for their desired olives in bulk and take it to a traditional olive crushing mill to extract the oil. the Olives are ground only in cold conditions using natural fiber pressing mats not only that, they go as far as separating the first press from the second one and the third press from the second one. every single press tastes different and used for different purposes, the first press is the one they savor in dipping, second and third for cooking, salads, hair...etc
    the leftover is sold by the olive crushing mills owners to industrial crushing mills factories that extract even more olive oil and mixed it with their blends, bottled it and sell it. the result is probably what you experienced before Desert Miracle olive oil by Atlas.
    Ali,
    Cheers

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  2. Hi Ali, thanks for the comment. The guys behind 'Desert Miracle' are doing a very good job and we hope it's a stimulus for other Moroccan producers to bottle a high end olive oil. The market for these kinds of oils is definitely growing.

    Unfortunately, 'Desert Miracle' is already disappearing again from the shelves in Muscat's supermarkets. Last time we checked, it was already gone from Al Fair, but Sultan Center still had some bottles. Hopefully, a new shipment will come in sometime. In the meantime... better grab those last bottles!

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  3. We recently learned that the importer of 'Desert Miracle' has stopped working in Oman. That explains why this good olive oil has disappeared again from the shelves here.

    The producer of 'Desert Miracle', Atlas Olive Oils, is looking for a new importer in Oman, to distribute this olive oil as well as their other products. So if anyone working in the food distribution business reads this, please make us happy and give Atlas a call.

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