While everyone wants the health benefits of olive oil, many of us still relish the taste of butter.
The craving may well link back to the food rationing that occurred from 1940 through 1954 (in the UK), where a weekly allowance of the golden knob was a meager 2 ounces.
Joseph Goebbels’ war time comment often misquoted as “Guns before butter” meant a lack of butter also became associated, in people’s minds, with the economic deprivations of World War II.
Brought up on such rations it is unsurprising that parents of baby boomers indulged their children in what had once been a restricted pleasure.
While there has been a health push in the succeeding decades for the use of vegetable oils and more recently to the enlightened health benefits of olive oil, it is difficult for British stock, whether they live in Britain, America or Australia to stray away from the taste and pleasures ingrained in their dietary palate since childhood.
Hence their craving for, if not actually their daily practice of, consuming comfort foods, such as hot buttered toast, mounds of mashed potatoes with rivulets of butter or the adding of a knob of butter to improve the palatability of boiled vegetables.
It may fly in the face of dietary guidelines but we seem quick to quote the dairy industry’s well-targeted slogan, “butter tastes better.” And while generations of Southern Europeans are accustomed to the rich and fulfilling taste of olive oil, British descendants are likely to continue craving their butter fix.
A number of olive oil producers are opting to provide this group with not only what they want, but also what they need — EV00 with all its health-giving properties, but one that tastes like butter.
While true olive oil connoisseurs cringe at the sacrilege of tampering with the tastes of good olive oil, others see it as an important marketing strategy and an opportunity to sell their product to those most in need of the health benefits of the good oil.
One such company is Isabelina Trading Company (ITC), a UK-based company that has created a lactose-free olive oil that tastes like butter. It is marketed as Isabelina Gold.
They import their olives from a supplier in Spain and make Isabelina Gold by removing the flavor molecule from lactose-free butter and adding them to extra virgin olive oil.
They claim their product is “the first olive oil in the world to be naturally blended with the flavor molecules of real butter, instead of buttermilk, plant extract or chemical flavoring, to offer a nutritious cooking experience with low levels of saturated fat.”
They also advertise their oil as a perfect replacement to be used in such British fare as scrambled eggs, to be drizzled on toast as well as for good old Yorkshire puddings
They enlisted celebrity chef, Pete Zulu who is featured on YouTube pan-frying scallops using Isabelina Gold. Zulu is the owner of a distinctly English pub, The Black Horse Inn in West Boldon, although it is a gourmet destination that also offers international cuisine.
A number of olive oil suppliers also advertise some of their (non-flavored) EVOOs as sweet and buttery. The Australian Olive Company describes one as having a “mildly buttery finish, ideal for baking and cooking.”
Here are some tips for using extra virgin olive oil as a butter alternative:
- Using a spray bottle, spray onto hot popcorn
— Use on vegetables such as corn on the cob or added to new potatoes or mash.
— Put a small amount into rice while cooking to fluff it up and give it a buttery flavor.
— Brush onto bread such as garlic bread, Panini, baguettes, English muffins)
— Refrigerate in a bowl and then spread it over toast or rolls.
— Use it for frying or scrambling eggs
— Use instead of melted butter in baking (i.e. cakes, muffins, cookies). The rule of thumb is 3/4 of a cup of olive oil to replace 1 cup of butter