I am incredibly fortunate to have wonderful friends who are just as passionate as health and wellness as I am. One of those friends (who really should have a blog but doesn’t- you know who you are!) met the Olea Estates folks at a Slow Food conference and said that we should get in touch, and I am so excited that we did!
I am an olive fiend. I can devour giant Costco-sized tubs of Kalamata olives, pop over to raid the antipasto bar at Sprouts, and then pick up a bottle of organic oil- no problem. I am constantly on the hunt for the tastiest olive products (having lived abroad I’ve been spoiled on quality) and I honestly think that I’ve found them! So of course I had to bring them all together and bake up a fabulous loaf Vegan Rosemary-Olive French Bread (tsk tsk on me for baking French bread with Greek products- whoops!)
1. Combine yeast and warm water in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit while yeast activates.
2. Add flour, olives, salt to taste (remember that olives are salty, so add less salt than you normally would, I added about a teaspoon) and 2 teaspoons of rosemary.
3. Using the dough hook attachment, mix until the dough comes together- about 10 minutes.
4. Cover bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 3-4 hours, or until it has doubled in size. The olives weigh the bread down, so be patient!
5. Knead the dough back into a small ball, releasing the air trapped inside. Let stand 10-15 minutes.
6. Coat the sides of a Dutch oven with olive oil. Place dough ball inside and cover. Let rise for one hour.
7. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
8. With a very sharp knife cut a hashtag in the surface of the bread which will allow to bread to rise as it bakes.
9. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle the remaining 2 teaspoons of rosemary over oil.
10. Cover and place in the oven for 50 minutes, reducing heat and uncovering after 30 minutes.
11. Let bread rest 15-30 minutes before serving with a bit of Olea Estates olive oil!
About the Products:
I adore this company. Olea Estates’ emphasis is on family and quality and it shows. The same family farm in Sparta, Greece has been meticulously taken care of for four generations; each step of the olive oil making process has been perfected first by nature, then by man. The olives at Olea Estates are picked by hand at the peak of their ripeness (no tree shaking that fells all of the olives at once here!) washed, and then walked down to be cold-pressed, and filtered by months of patience- keeping flavor and nutrients intact.
The olives are treated with care in the same way, and then brined in a homemade (incredibly delicious) balsamic that lends itself to a wonderful full-bodied flavor. To maintain the fresh taste the olives aren’t pasteurized, and as such can hang out on your counter covered in their brine, because everyone knows olives taste best warm!
But Olea Estates isn’t just about those delicious USDA certified olives or its unadulterated extra virgin olive oil (also USDA certified); their Greek Mountain Tea is to die for. I have an entire cabinet of tea in my kitchen to choose from, but I haven’t even opened it recently. I have been brewing pot after pot of the herbal deliciousness that is Greek Mountain Tea. The tea is wild-grown on a neighbor’s land on Mount Parnon and hand picked by snapping the stalks so it can easily re-grow and dried intact- flowers and all! The herbal tea is naturally caffeine free, antioxidant rich, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Steep a bit of the plant for 8-10 minutes in hot water and you’re good to go!
Aside from the products, my favorite thing about Olea Estates is they way that they run their business. The farm is completely family owned and operated and they exclusively distribute through one family in the United States. That means there is ONE person between the farm and your table, which is pretty incredible. It is rare to go to a meeting a tiny coffee shop to pick up product and meet the son of the man who single handedly brought Olea Estates to consumers in here in the US. In a twist of fate the families intertwined and what resulted was a partnership based on trust, family, and amazing food.