1. Can I bring back/refill my bottles?

Yes! Currently we are accepting returns of balsamic bottles. If you bring your balsamic bottle back, we give you 5% off your next bottle, and will clean and sterilize the returned bottle for re-use.

Please put your oil bottles into your blue box. We follow best practices in all of our programs. Knowing that the worst enemy to fresh oil is old oil and/or moisture we do not refill or reuse oil bottles.

2. Can you cook with olive oil?

Yes, absolutely! Fresh, high quality olive oil not only adds beautiful flavour to almost any meal, it also is chemically perfect as a cooking oil. When olive oil is fresh and of a high grade, it will have a high concentrations of polyphenols, which are antioxidants that protect the oil from oxidization produced by heat, making it stable at high temperatures (up to 405°F) and raising it's smoke point. Fresh olive oils will also have a low concentration of Free Fatty Acids, which is what burns when an oil smokes. Free fatty acids build up as an oil ages, so it's important to use the oil when it's as close to it's harvest date as possible. Oils should be kept no older than a year after they're harvested for maximum performance. We recommend using at least a Medium - Robust intensity extra virgin olive oil for cooking, as these have the highest concentrations of the polyphenols and are most resistant to heat.

3. Chemistry explained - Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The most important chemical measurements for olive oil testing are explained below. At the Collingwood Olive Oil Co. these measurements are clearly displayed for every Extra Virgin Olive Oil that we carry.

Peroxide: Measures primary oxidation formed when oils are exposed to oxygen. Oxidation takes place normally over time, and may be accelerated by improper storage (e.g. high temperature, exposure to light). The maximum allowable value is 20meq 02/kg, which ensures a fresh product; a high value would indicate decomposition (i.e. rancidity). 

FFA (Free Fatty Acid): This value speaks to the quality of the fruit at the time of crush, processing and storage; maximum allowable value is 0.8%. High FFA may be caused by damaged or overripe olives, oxidized oil, overheating during production, or excessive delay between harvest and crush. (Our oils are processed within 6 hours of harvest).

Oleic (Oleic Acid): Measures the amount of healthy monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. Acceptable range is 55-85%. Olive oil is higher in oleic acid than other vegetable fats. In addition to health benefits, oleic acid helps olive oil resist oxidation. 

Hi Poly: Measures the amount of healthy polyphenols, a class of antioxidants found in a variety of foods. Range varies; measured in mg caffeic acid/kg. Antioxidants inhibit oxidation in the body, making a higher polyphenol count desirable. A high polyphenol count also lengthens the shelf-life of oil. 

Consuming fresh, well-made olive oil with high polyphenol content is crucial when looking to obtain the maximum health benefits commonly associated with extra virgin olive oil. A low polyphenol count may be caused by age, improper processing, or exposure to heat/light/air. 

DAGS: Measures the proportion of two forms of diacylglycerol (1,2 and 1,3) which indicates the quality of the fruit, processing, and age of an oil. Must be greater than 40% (including a ratio of at least 40% in the 1,2 formation). The closer to 100%, the healthier and fresher the EVOO. Ours are as high as 98.5%. 

4. How does a Private Tasting Party work?

This depends on what you want. The price changes depending whether you want hot appetizers or cold.

The standard in-store tasting party is best for groups between 8-16 people, and is priced at $10 per person. We walk the group through "Olive Oil 101", where we educate them about olive oil quality, heath, and uses, and allow the groups to sample the best extra virgin and flavoured olive oils from around the world. We move into the second room where the group is exposed to dark, white, honey, rose and whole fruit balsamic from Modena, Italy. Then we do several small workshops where individuals build salad dressings for a green salad, a fruit salad, and finally, ice cream! Breads are provided as well as a sampling of specialty food available in our shop. Wine is optional or group members may bring their own. The events usually last about 2 hours. They are delicious and informative.  Price will vary if custom or more complicated appetizers are requested. etc.

To request custom appetizers, an alternate venue, a Collingwood Olive Oil Co. booth at your event, or to book a party, give us a call at 705-293-6457.

5. How is balsamic made?

Balsamic is made from grape must, a grape juice from the white Trebbiano grape, cooked down to 30% of it's initial volume. The must is then fermented and aged in a series of wooden barrels, sometimes for up to 25 years, slowly building the deep, complex flavors of the final balsamic vinegar.
White Balsamics are created slightly differently.  They use the same grapes, but instead of being aged for a least 12 years, they are only aged for 2-5 years.
In order for it to be considered a dark balsamic from Modena, it must follow strict rules, the main rules being :

  • Must be produced in Modena or neighboring Reggio Emilia in Italy
  • Must be made from Trebbiano grapes grown in one of those two places
  • Must be aged in wooden barrels for no fewer than 12 years

6. How is the flavour infused?

There are two methods we use to flavour our olive oils. Infused oils are made by taking a extra virgin olive oil and steeping it with herbs, etc, or by crushing those ingredients for their oils and adding them to the extra virgin base. Fused olive oils are made my crushing the olives with the ingredients at the initial milling! In the example of the Blood Orange Fused olive oil, whole blood oranges where crushed with the olives to combine the flavours.

To flavour the balsamics, additional fruits are dried and crushed for their juices. These are added to the aged balsamic base and allowed to continue in the aging process. The simplicity of this process is beautiful. There are no artificial additives in any of the balsamic or olive oils we carry. 

7. How long will the product keep?

Olive Oil is best consumed within 14 - 16 months of it's harvest date (the harvest date is one of the most important things you can know about your oil!) 

Balsamic vinegar on the other hand  can keep up to three years, as the product doesn't diminish. Some settling may occur,  especially with the whole fruit balsamic, and may require the occasional shake.

8. How should it be stored?

Both the balsamics and Olive Oils should be kept in a cool, dark place away from the stove or other sources of heat. Heat will speed of the decline of the olive oil. You do not have to keep olive oil or balsamic in the fridge, though doing so will mildy increase their shelf lives. Olive oil may congeal at cooler temperatures, taking on a cloudy appearance of solidifying. This does not damage the oil, and it will return to normal once it has warmed up.

9. Is your oil extra virgin?

When it comes to olive oil, we demand the very best for our products. The extra virgin standard, by definition, is actually quite low. Extra virgin simply means the oil is the first crush of the olives, the olives were pressed cold, and that it is only oil from olives. This means that if you took rotting windfall (ground) olives, or olives that sat in a truck for two weeks before pressing, that became bruised and fermented, and crushed them by extra virgin standards, you could still call it Extra Virgin olive oil, even though the final quality of the oil would be compromised. That is because the quality of the initial olives was very poor, but the extra virgin standard doesn't account for this.

Our oils are extra virgin, first press and cold pressed, but in addition, we insist that all of our oils go through a chemistry audit and we buy according to chemistry. We test to ensure that  no pesticides or chemicals have been used during the growing, harvest and crushing process. We then test for tell-all signs that the oils are pure and haven't been cut with another low-grade "filler" oil, like canola or sunflower oil. Finally we test and disclose to our customers other marks of quality and handling, including polyphenols counts, and concentrations of free fatty acids, oleic acid, peroxide and DAGS. 

These tests are carried out in the most credentialed Olive Oil Labs in the world.

10. What are the health benefits of olive oil?

Check out our About us page for a list of the benefits attributed to consumption of high quality extra virgin olive oil! Another amazing resource is this book: Extra Virginity The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller.

11. What can flavoured oils and vinegars be used for?

Check out our Recipes page for some awesome ideas! We regularly bake with them, add them to veggies, use them for marinades, stir fries, and of course, salads! There are even certain oils and balsamics that make lovely dessert condiments or mixed drinks! The sky is the limit!

12. What countries do you ship your product to?

Currently we ship to locations within Canada only, to all provinces and territories.
All orders from the United States we refer to seasonstaproom.com

13. Where is your balsamic from?

All of our balsamics are from Modena, Italy, a region that has been producing balsamic since the Middle Ages. Modena is often considered the birthplace of balsamic vinegar.

14. Where is your olive oil from?

That depends heavily on the time of the year.  We import from both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Countries in the North (Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, certain US states, such as California) produce olive oil in the fall (Oct-Nov). Countries in the South (Peru, Chile, Australia) produce in the spring (April-May). Our supply flips every 6 months to favour the most recent olive harvests globally. We only import from producers that meet our standards. Oils go through rigorous testing before making it to our shelves.

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