An Honorary Sussex Food
Mestó Extra Virgin Olive Oil is an honorary Sussex product as Cate and Vasilis are Brightonions who bring their own oil from their family farm in Crete. So, apart from the fact that this oil tastes amazing, it also has a very small carbon footprint, therefore making it a doubly special oil to keep in your kitchen.
Vasilis is born and bred Cretan and together with his partner, Cate, they spend each winter from November to February harvesting and tending the olive grove. Vasilis says “Our oil comes from my family’s trees some I planted with my Father and Grandfather when I was small, others have been standing for generations. Now it is our turn to cultivate the land and take care of the trees.”
How Mestó is produced
You only need to track a few months of Cate’s Facebook posts to see that they are dedicated traditional farmers and their harvesting is done by hand along with the help of some willing volunteers.
All the oil is produced by cold extraction – ie simply crushing the olives so they keep their biological and chemical structure. Nothing is added so this is the purest extra virgin olive oil…and from one estate, which means no other oil is blended so each harvest brings the same quality and consistency.
What makes a good olive oil?
Pure extra virgin olive oil is the champagne of olive oils but wherever there is commercial production, then quality can suffer as inferior oils sneak through marketing loopholes. Unbelievably, there have been olive oil scams for centuries as commercial production is hard to police. A simple litmus test can really be a helpful tool here. A really pure oil should have an acidity level of less than 1% so at 0.27%, Mestó is a wonderfully pure EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and that shows in the characteristic flavour.
The colour of the oil is less important as they can range from a pale champagne colour to greenish gold..or even bright green. That more depends on the olive variety and regional climate. It helps to think of olive oil as you would a good wine in terms of the characteristics of the fruit.
What is so good about Mestó
Mestó is produced from the delicious Koroneiki olive. This makes a delicate fruity oil with a light grassy flavour which has a natural intensity and a peppery tickle. The oil is a distinctive bright green which makes it a perfect finishing oil.
We wouldn’t generally say it’s good for cakes as it has a bright olive flavour, but we’ve tried in Mediterranean citrus cake recipes and it sits well with the flavour. Maybe not chocolate cakes though.
Crisp Rosemary and Olive oil Flatbread
Picture from Guardian
Nothing could be easier than making this flatbread, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tell people that you slaved all day over it …
230g plain flour
1 tbsp chopped rosemary, plus 2 sprigs
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
¾ tsp salt
75ml extra virgin olive oil plus more for brushing
1 Preheat the oven to 220C/450F/gas mark 7. Stir together the flour, chopped rosemary, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in the centre, then add the water and oil and gradually stir into the flour with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Knead it gently on a work surface 4 or 5 times.
2 Divide the dough into 3 pieces, cover 2 of them with clingfilm and roll out the other on a sheet of baking paper into a 25cm round (the shape should be rustic, the dough thin).
3 Lightly brush the top with additional oil and scatter small clusters of rosemary on top, pressing in slightly. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake on a preheated oven tray until pale golden and browned in spots – about 8-10 minutes. Transfer the flatbread to a rack to cool, then repeat with the other more rounds.
4 Flatbread can be made 2 days ahead and cooled completely, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature.
Mestó olive oil is available on our site in 250ml, 500ml and 1 litre
(1 litre back in a few days – we’ve sold out til the new harvest is in!)