EVOI have written about my love of fine olive oils here in the past.  I love how a high quality olive oil can elevate just about anything you can add it to.  Like most fine food products, the quality of olive oils vary greatly.  When you had a high quality vintage, perhaps poured over your fresh mozzarella and tomato salad, you truly know you are on to something special.

I remember reading a piece in the New Yorker a while back about the industry behind olive oil, and was shocked to find out how sordid it all is.  I had forgotten about the article until I came across a review for the book Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil  by Tom Mueller.  Mr. Mueller, it turns out, wrote that New Yorker story and expanded it into this amazing book that covers the long history of olive oil and the industry it has spawned today.  As crazy as it may seem, a book about olive oil is as riveting as it is informative.

About Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil  by Tom Mueller: “The sacred history and profane present of a substance long seen as the essence of health and civilization. For millennia, fresh olive oil has been one of life’s necessities-not just as food but also as medicine, a beauty aid, and a vital element of religious ritual. Today’s researchers are continuing to confirm the remarkable, life-giving properties of true extra-virgin, and ‘extra-virgin Italian’ has become the highest standard of quality. But what if this symbol of purity has become deeply corrupt? Starting with an explosive article in The New Yorker, Tom Mueller has become the world’s expert on olive oil and olive oil fraud-a story of globalization, deception, and crime in the food industry from ancient times to the present, and a powerful indictment of today’s lax protections against fake and even toxic food products in the United States. A rich and deliciously readable narrative, Extra Virginity is also an inspiring account of the artisanal producers, chemical analysts, chefs, and food activists who are defending the extraordinary oils that truly deserve the name ‘extra-virgin.’”

Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil  by Tom Mueller is one of those books that makes you feel fully satisfied when you have read it.  At once you feel that the time you have spent reading it was well worth the investment as you now have a breath of knowledge about a subject that goes well beyond your expectations. 

In addition, after reading Mr. Mueller’s well-researched and written book, I now have a greater appreciation for the best of olive oils and will never take them for granted again.

Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil  by Tom Mueller is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.