PANAJI: “A azeitona e a fortuna, às vezes muita e às vezes nenhuma.” This Portuguese proverb literally means “Olive oil and good fortune, at times a lot and at times none at all” thus indicating that it is no use banking on luck. This is a very poignant comparison of good luck with the olive harvest: it is unpredictable, some years the harvest can be rich, in other years very poor.
However, if we leave out the unpredictable olive harvest part, then there should be no doubt about the medicinal values of the olive oil, at all times. In fact, most of Goans, including many of the Hindu families, until the Liberation of Goa were regularly using olive oil as the primary cooking medium for many of the dishes prepared in their kitchen. However, after Goa was liberated from the colonial rule, the availability of olive oil, good quality olive oil became more and more difficult.
“Even though many of the senior members of Goan community nostalgically remember the abundant use of olive oil in their food, in the past, the new generation has neither such knowledge nor tasted this oil,” said Carmelino da Rocha Machado, director of Caroma Agencies, a Goan, who has started the marketing of Azeite do Reino, premium Portuguese origin olive oil in Goa, besides Mumbai. “Actually there is a need to spread awareness about the advantages of olive oil,” he added.
The Vasco-based Caroma agencies, in fact imported the first consignment of Azeite do Reino in 2016, attempting to revive the forgotten Goan food habit. Since then two more consignments have been imported.
“It took me three years to source out this product from a Portuguese family, which has been producing the oil since past more than 300 years,” Carmelino stated, while pointing out that the family has farms in which it grows olives organically. “The oil is extracted from the fruit through purely mechanical means, without the use of any chemicals, especially carcinogenic Hexane that is utilised in extraction of other edible oils,” he added, informing that the same is then stored, bottled, sealed and packed at the facilities of the family.
“In fact, this is one of the oldest Portuguese families involved in this trade,” Carmelino maintained, noting that their olive farms are located primarily in Ourém, located in the Santarém district in Portugal. “They do not use any chemical or artificial fertilisers and their farms are organic certified,” he added, mentioning that the oil is also exported to countries like Brazil, US, France, Germany, Ireland and many African countries.
It was further informed that people from European nations as well as those from the Mediterranean countries consume the olive oil on daily basis, which is one of the reasons for their robust health.
The Azeite do Reino comes in two varieties namely extra virgin olive oil and just plain olive oil. It is recommended that the first variety can be consumed plain as a topping on salads, fish, bakes, and in sauces as well as dips, while the second one is best for cooking, frying and even for baking dishes as well as cakes.
Speaking further, Carmelino claimed that the extra virgin oil prevents heart ailments as well as diabetes, besides known to fight osteoporosis, and even depression. “It also protects its user from metabolic syndrome, which is the cause for many ailments,” he observed.
Coming out with the information that the supply of the Azeite do Reino throughout the country would take place gradually, Carmelino on a parting note, said that just eating healthy food is not enough, as use of bad quality cooking medium negates all efforts to maintain a healthy diet.