Health benefits of olive oil and the Mediterranean diet

Health benefits of olive oil and the Mediterranean diet

What is the Mediterranean diet?

Often referred to as a recipe for good health, it finds its origin in the diets of Crete and Southern Italy in the last 60’s. Extra virgin olive oil is one of its key ingredients. In addition, it includes grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, small daily consumption of cheese and yogurt, moderate use of fish as a primary source of proteins.


Enjoying a family dinner with a healthy salad and olive oil


The Seven Countries study by Dr. Ancel Keys

Mediterranean Diet Study, published in the Times Magazine

Published in 1980, the study was conducted over 3 decades in Italy, the Greek Islands, Yugoslavia, the Netherlands, Finland, Japan and the United States. Evidence from the analysis suggested lower rates of heart disease and some cancers in regions where the Mediterranean diet was most widely followed. The study was widely publicised and was followed by a series of additional studies that further explored the relationships between health and diet. 

Source: Time 


Low fat vs Mediterranean diet, the Predimed study

Between 2003 and 2008, a study was carried out in Spain on 7,500 participants aged over 55 years with a high risk of developing a heart disease. The results highlighted that there were significantly fewer heart attacks, strokes and deaths from cardiovascular diseases with a Mediterranean diet compared to a low fat diet.

For more information, please see the article from the New England Journal of Medicine  

A source of anti-oxidants

Extra virgin olive oils contain phenolic compounds, b-carotene (Vitamin A) and a-tocopherol (Vitamin E) which are strong anti-oxidants. These elements can lower the creation of harmful free-radicals associated with many diseases such as forms of cancer.


Not all fats are equal

Extra virgin olive oils include mono-saturated fats which have been found to lower the level of total blood cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol (LDL).


Healthy mediterranean diet cooking with olive oil

A source of Essential Fatty Acids (EFA)

Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid, which means it cannot be produced by the human body. It is contained in extra virgin olive oil and has been associated with lowering the blood pressure.


Anti-inflammatory properties

Extra virgin olive oil has been found to have similar effects to drugs such as Ibuprofen in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.


Health and olive oil quality

Premium olive oils display superior polyphenol contents, well above commonly found extra virgin olive oils. They also demonstrate significantly lower peroxide content which is created through the oxidation of the fatty acids via contact with air, light and heat.


Olive oil and calories

1 table spoon of olive oil represents around 120 calories, it should therefore be consumed in moderation.


Good food is not everything

Physical activity could well be a factor influencing the lower cardiovascular diseases in the Mediterranean countries in the 60’s. Regular exercise has proven to have significant health benefits and is a key driver for our well-being.


Healthy living, consuming olive and physical activity
For more information, about the Mediterranean Diet, we recommend reading the Real Mediterranean Diet by Dr Simon Poole. 


February 04, 2022 — Admin account
Oro Bailen Arbequina is featured in the Times Selection of the Best Olive Oils in the UK buy the best olive oil in the UK online

Oro Bailen Arbequina is featured in the Times Selection of the Best Olive Oils in the UK

We are delighted to see Oro Bailen's arbequina extra virgin olive oil, one of our most popular premium olive oils featured in the list of the best olive oils in the taste analysis by the Times published in January 2022.

Oro Bailen's arbequina extra virgin olive oil is an early harvest single estate, single variety cold extracted olive oil produced near Jaen in Andalusia in October 2021. It is a delicious mild to medium fruity olive oil with a slightly spicy finish which is very versatile. It is particularly well-suited for salads, grilled fish and chicken.

The early havest arbequina has won Great Taste Awards in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 in adddition to many international recognitions. 


January 31, 2022 — Admin account
New harvest olive oil by the Artisan Olive Oil Company, buy the best extra virgin olive oil online uk

A Buyer's Guide To New Season Olive Oils

Most of our early harvest oils are produced between October and early December. The timing is driven by the region of Provenance, the olive variety as well as weather conditions. In Andalusia, our partner Oro Bailen, one of the world's most awarded olive oil producers, starts with a mini mill, extracting a small quantity of oil every day from the beginning of October to find the optimal profile. Once it has been identified, the harvest happens very quickly and the oil is cold extracted within a few hours to capture its full freshness.

For our review of the 2021/2022, we have selected a few of our early harvest olive oils.


Frantoio Franci, our partner from Tuscany, has launched a new delicate early harvest extra virgin olive oil: Bella. Delicate, fresh, fruity with a slightly spicy finish, it is a delicious Italian olive oil which can be used on most dishes and in particular salads and anti-pasti. 

Franci Delicate Bella Extra Virgin Olive Oil New Harvest 2021/2022
We have also brought in Anteprima 2022, which is the very oil produced by Frantoio Franci. It is a medium to to intensely fruity oil, created from the Frantoio,  Moraiolo and Leccino varieties. This is perfect Tuscan oil for dipping or drizzling on tomato and mozzarella. 
We have been busy tasting the new olive juices from Andalusia by Oro Bailen. We wanted to highlight two of their monocultivars in particular: the 2021/2022 arbequina with a beautifully fruity flavour which has made one of our most-popular premium olive oils ; 
Oro Bailen arbequina 2021 harvest Spanish extra virgin olive oil
the second one is the picual, the flagship premium olive  oil of Oro Bailen, elegant and complex taste with herbal and fruity aromas and a spicy finish.


Best olive oils 2022 buy olive oil online uk

The Independent review of the best olive oils 2022

We are delighted to see two of our oils featured in the Independent review of the best olive oil oils 2022: 

Oro Bailen Arbequina: has been ranked the best for subtle fruitiness

Franci Villa Magra Grand Cru was ranked the best for intense fruitiness

For the full article, click here

Christmas shopping made easy

Christmas shopping made easy

Avoid the stress of the high street and shop with us for your Christmas presents. This year, we have included a set of elegant Christmas gift boxes (medium, large). Simply add them to your cart, together with your product selection. We can ship your goodies directly to your loved ones and add a hand written note should you wish to do so (please email us your order number and the message to 
Medium Christmas hamper gift boxLarge Christmas gift box with artisan products

Please do not hesitate to contact us on (0) 203 866 8934 or via email at for any additional information). 

November 25, 2021 — Admin account
Artisan Olive Oil Company wins another 4 great taste stars

Our 2021 Great Taste Award Winners

After a particularly challenging period, we are delighted to announce that we have received 6 Great Taste stars in the 2021 edition of the prestigious competition organised by the Guild of Fine Foods. 

Here are our 6 winners 

Oro Bailen Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Andalusia, Spain)

Here are some of the judges comments: "well balanced and great tasting oil"

Oro Bailen Hojiblanca Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Andalusia, Spain)

A Great Taste judge wound it "pleasingly aromatic oil, versatile in its balance"


Moulins Mahjoub organic sun-dried tomatoes (Tebourba, Tunisia)

Moulins Mahjoub organic sun-dried tomatoes win Great Taste Star 2021

Here are the thoughts of the judges: "These tomatoes had a very delicate texture and we enjoyed the wafer-thin nature of it. The flat shape is really interesting and could even be used to hold other snacks for creative canapes. There is nothing to interfere with the pure tomato flavour, which has a lovely sweetness. Very tasty"

Moulins Mahjoub organic traditional harissa (Tebourba, Tunisia)

Moulins Mahjoun organic traditional harissa wins Great Taste Star 2021

Here are some of the observations of the Great Taste panel : "This harissa builds in taste and pungency.. The olive oil gives texture and pleasing aroma, with the sun dried peppers offering a flavour which is full and giving a real warmth and depth, which enhances the heat with a delightful overall experience. Every element seems balanced and gives the product its potency."


Due Vittore Oro Balsamic Vinegar of Modena IGP (Modena, Italy)

Oro has become one of our best-sellers over the last year. Here is what the judges said about it: "This lovely glossy vinegar had a very smooth consistency on the palate. It was very sweet and we could taste the intensity of the grapes as well as the acidity from the vinegar, and found this to be well balanced."

Due Vittorie Apple Vinegar wins Great Taste award 2021

Due Vittorie apple vinegar (Modena, Italy)

This is one our favourite products. We are glad that Great Taste shared our feeling saying "Really tasty and rich apple cider vinegar. Rounded in profile, possibly from the oak ageing, with a long finish. Good levels of sweetness and acidity counterpoint one another. Fruit forward and memorable."

Due Vittorie Apple Vinegar wins Great Taste Awards 2021
September 22, 2021 — Admin account
Onaoo olive oil tasting school

How to taste extra virgin olive oil ?

Besides the chemical analysis, a key quality control procedure for olive oils is the tasting also referred to as the sensory or organoleptic analysis. At its most basic level, it divides olive oils into 3 broad categories lampante oil, virgin and extra virgin olive oil as defined by EU regulation and the international Olive Council. Tastings are carried by groups of 10-15 trained tasters who evaluate an oil based on a grid of criteria aimed at identifying the defects and the positive  attributes.
The tasting is carried out in coloured glass (frequently blue) to avoid any bias in the evaluation. The container is warmed in the taster hands for a few minutes whilst covering it to release the aromas. The first stage consists in the smelling of the extra virgin olive oil. The second stage can be referred as slurping and is intended as spreading the olive oil in the mouth in order to identify its profile and flavours. 
Olive oil tasting at ONAOO
If an oil presents a median of defects greater than zero, it fails the official classification as an extra virgin olive oil and is either classified as virgin or lampante oil. 
Negative attributes such as a fusty, musty, humid or rancid oils are frequently an indicator of errors in the production, extraction and storage of olive oils.
Positive attributes are analysed to criteria such as the fruitiness (light, medium intense green or ripe), bitterness (it being a quality sign for olive oil) and pungency.
  • Fruity: smells of fresh olive fruit, which can be green or ripe and of different intensities
  • Bitter: taste of green olives or olives changing colour, perceived in the V zone of the tongue
  • Pungent: typical sensation from olives harvested early, can be felt throughout the mouth.
Tasting provides the basis for a classification of olives oils which can be used for food pairing. Premium olive oils display significantly higher scores than common extra virgin olive oils, reflecting their particular production and storage processes. International competitions and awards use similar tastings to rank extra virgin olive oils to differentiate between average, good and exceptional olive oils. A long track record of international awards demonstrates the ability of an artisan to consistently produce excellent oil with a similar sensory profile is a key criteria in selecting our artisans.
A number of organisations provide tasting classes to increase your knowledge of premium olive oils. In the UK, Judy Ridgway, one of the most respected olive oil experts provides regular tasting classes in London and Brighton. We have listed below a number of organisations providing tasting courses in Spain by Evcata Spain, in Italy by ONAOO, and in the US by the Olive Oil School of Olive Oil Times.
September 20, 2021 — Admin account
Best book on olive oils, see the recommendation of the artisan olive oil company

The best books on extra virgin olive oil

Given the vast number of brands, farms and producers available to the British consumers, we have selected 3 of our favourite books about the world of extra virgin olive oil. 

The first one is Extra Virginity by Tom Mueller, an American journalist who lives in Liguria and a frequent contributor to the New Yorker and National Geographic and who has done extensive research about the production and marketing of olive oil. A truly fascinating book. Here is a review by the Guardian.  

Extra Virginity book by Tom Muller
The second is the Olive Oil Diet: Nutritional Secrets of the Original Superfood by Dr Simon Poole and Judy Ridgway. Written by two of the most respected olive oil specialists in the UK, the book analyses the impact of diverse olive oil varieties, farming and production methods on health benefits and flavour profile, with many delicious recipes. 
Olive Oil Diet by Dr Simon Poole and Judy Ridgway
The last one is the Flos Olei guide by Marco Oreggia. Published every year with a review of over 700 extra virgin olive oils from over 50 countries. The guide is a gold mine to discover new olive oils, learn more about olive oil farms, varieties and food pairing suggestions. 
August 18, 2021 — Admin account
Due Vittorie Dolceto white condiment with balsamic vinegar

New product launch: Due Vittorie Dolceto White Condiment with balsamic vinegar

We are delighted to announce the launch of a new product from our partner Due Vittorie from Modena: Dolceto white condiment with balsamic vinegar

Dolceto is produced from a blend of aromatic and sweet grape must and fine Italian wine vinegar. With a density of 1.2 and a low acidity, it is best used with fresh salads, steamed vegetables, delicate fish, berries and fruit salads. Its taste is well-balanced, fresh and sweet. 

It comes in the round 250ml glass bottle.

Buy it here

Due Vittorie Dolceto White Condiment with Balsamic Vinegar

July 03, 2021 — Admin account
The ultimate buyers' guide: 10 picnic essentials

The ultimate buyers' guide: 10 picnic essentials

With the good weather and warmer temperatures firmly in place, now is the time to enjoy many picnics. Here is out take out on

10 delicious Mediterranean fine foods and ingredients to take with you with for a taste of the Mediterranean summer wherever you are.


June 27, 2021 — Admin account
Top 10 Store Cupboard Staples

Top 10 Store Cupboard Staples

Tasty recipes start with a well-stocked pantry which can lift your daily dishes to another level. For example, take a simple pasta dish and try an artisan gluten-free fusilli and cook like a chef from the comfort of your kitchen . Stock up your cupboard with artisan tuna, pasta, olive oil or passata, and you’ll notice an immediate improvement to your dishes. 
May 18, 2021 — Admin account
April 2021 Fine Food Digest features the Artisan Olive Oil Company

April 2021 Fine Food Digest features the Artisan Olive Oil Company

We are delighted to be featured in the Fine Food Digest April 2021 edition in its coverage of new oils and vinegars. 

The Fine Food Digest is published by the Guild of Fine Foods and is one of the most respected trade magazine for the fine food and delicatessen sector in the UK. 

The article included 3 recent product launches: aix&terra's organic olive oil with chili from the Provence, Moulins Mahjoub's organic early harvest single variety Chetoui extra virgin olive oil from Tunisia and Diliberto's organic Fiordidrupa extra virgin olive oil from Sicily.  

We are very pleased with the success of the latest additions to our range of oils which can be found across the UK in organic stores, delicatessen and farm shops. 

Please do not hesitate to contact us at or on (0) 203 866 8934 to become a stockist. 

April 17, 2021 — Admin account