Sunshine Coast Olive Oil Co. will be one of only five stores in North America (and the only one in Canada) certified as an Ultra Premium olive oil retailer.
Why on earth do people buy expensive vegetables and dress them with the cheapest oil they can find?” ~ Francesco DeCarlo, Italian olive oil producer
Fiona Pinnell and Matt Lunny opened the doors to Sunshine Coast Olive Oil Co. in early August. Almost immediately, the heady aromas drew passersby into the tiny shop on Gower Point Road in Gibson’s Landing. Within days, Pinnell had bookings for private olive oil tastings well into October, was ordering more stock for cross-Canada shipping and hiring more staff as word spread about the shop’s quality products and services. Its 24/7 online store (www.sunshinecoastoliveoil.com) began humming nonstop with orders and questions.
It was not until she began travelling through Europe and studying in Sicliy – always staying in small pensions and inns – that Pinnell rediscovered the ‘amazing’ artisanal products. As they travelled, Pinnell and Lunny kept hearing stories about adulterated oils fraudulently sold as ‘extra virgin,’ and realized the practice was alarmingly widespread. However, in opposition to the agribusiness of food fraud they discovered a renaissance in artisanal olive oils. They agree with Francesco DeCarlo, an Italian olive oil producer: “Why on earth do people buy expensive vegetables and dress them with the cheapest oil they can find?”
Pinnell and Lunny are part of a co-op network of 300 specialty stores marketing a range of oils sourced from around the world – some infused with herbs or citrus, others particular varietals with special flavours or health properties – all carefully labeled with information as to vineyard, chemical composition, and other laboratory findings ensuring that the product being dispensed is exactly what it claims to be. A representative from the co-op attends each producer’s crush, tasting and testing the oil and sending a sample to an Australian laboratory for analysis and further testing. The oil is then shipped to the co-op’s central facility in Oakland, CA where it is again tasted and tested for quality assurance. The co-op purchases from farmgates around the world, ensuring that the freshest oils are delivered seasonally. At present, the majority of oils on offer at Sunshine Coast Olive Oil Co. are from southern hemisphere producers: Australia, New Zealand, South America and Africa. Pinnell confirms that “Our oils are produced to the Australian Olive Oil Association standard that is 400 – 800 per cent higher than the European Union’s extra-virgin standard. At any given time, we carry at least five oils that are in the top echelon of Ultra-Premium, which is above the Australian standard.” Currently, Pinnell and Lunny have applied to be one of only five stores in North America (and the only one in Canada) certified as an Ultra Premium seller.
Sunshine Coast Olive Oil offers in-store tastings of oils and balsamic vinegars, advice, sample packs (great for hostess gifts or wedding favours) and more. Private tastings are currently booked through October, but Pinnell plans to hold public tastings and workshops – as soon as the crush is over.
Fiona’s Slow Braised Lamb Shanks with Coratina and Malbec Wine Reduction
This recipe utilizes our superlative, ultra fresh, award winning Coratina extra virgin olive oil and Ultra Premium Barnea in two separate elements.
-four lamb shanks
-1/2 cup flour
-1 tablespoon kosher salt
-fresh ground pepper to taste
-four-inch sprig of rosemary
-4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
-1 medium onion minced
-1 large carrot, finely diced
-1/3 cup Ultra Fresh, UP, Coratina Olive Oil
-3 cups Malbec red wine
-1 cup hot water
This recipe can be made either in an oven or crock pot. If using the oven, preheat to 300F. In a wide shallow dish or a gallon size Ziploc bag, mix the flour, salt and pepper. Rinse and pat the lamb shanks dry and dredge in the flour. In a large heavy bottom pan, heat the Coratina over medium-high heat, and brown the lamb shanks until golden on all sides (about five minutes per side), taking care not to over-crowd the pan. Remove to a plate.
In the same pan, add all of the vegetables and sauté over medium heat, scraping up any browned bits, until the onions are translucent (approximately five minutes). Pour in the wine and simmer for two minutes, then add hot water. Add the fresh rosemary to the bottom of a dutch oven and arrange the shanks on top. Pour the wine and vegetables over the top. Cover and cook for six hours. If using crock pot, set on ‘low’ and assemble as for oven method.
After six hours, carefully remove the shanks from the liquid taking care not to allow the meat to slip off the bones. Cover to keep warm. Strain and de-fat the braising liquid. Place in a small saucepan and reduce by half. Adjust the seasoning with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Place lamb shank atop a bed of mashed potatoes made with ultra fresh UP Barnea extra virgin olive oil, drizzle with sauce reduction and garnish with fresh rosemary.