B.R. Cohn Olive Oil Co., a pioneer in modern-day California extra virgin olive oil and other locally-made food products, is taking a page from the fine wine business with the introduction of its new limited-release Sonoma Syrah Vinegar. Small-lot production and aging in French oak casks characterize this new vinegar, which makes its debut at the Fancy Food Show, June 29, in New York City.
With the release of the Sonoma Syrah Vinegar ($19.99/200ml), B.R. Cohn is the first specialty food company in California to introduce the concept of limited-release vinegars to the U.S. Made from 100 percent Syrah grapes from Sonoma County using the Orleans vinegar process, the Sonoma Syrah Vinegar ages for three years in French oak casks, which provide the ideal environment for cultured vinegar bacteria. B.R. Cohn’s Sonoma Syrah Vinegar contains no additives or preservatives. Total production is 170 cases.
“For our vinegars we use a time-consuming production process that dates back to the Middle Ages,” noted CEO Dan Cohn. “Our hand-crafted Sonoma Syrah Vinegar starts with the finest Syrah grapes and, like fine wine, it develops exceptional complexity and nuance of flavor with the aging process. We cut no corners and limit production so we can make a truly distinctive vinegar of the finest quality.”
The B.R. Cohn Sonoma Syrah Vinegar shows notes of berry, lavender and sweet plum and has six percent acidity. Cohn notes that in addition to its myriad uses with meat and vegetable dishes, the Sonoma Syrah Vinegar is an ideal ingredient for cocktails. One of the hottest trends among mixologists is using vinegar in specialty cocktails as part of a ‘shrub’ base (fresh fruit, sugar, water) to blend with spirits.
B.R. Cohn Olive Oil Co. is one of the top award winning producers of fine oils and vinegars, and B.R. Cohn olive oils and vinegars have captured more than 120 awards, including frequent Best of Show, Double Gold and Gold medals at leading competitions. Additional information is available at www.brcohn.com/oliveoilcompany or by calling 877-933-9675, extension 141.
B.R. Cohn Olive Oil Co. will be at the New York Fancy Food Show June 29 – July 1 at the Jacob Javits Center, booth #2166.
B.R. Cohn Olive Oil Company has appointed Diane Schwartz as Director of Sales and Marketing for the Sonoma Valley gourmet food products company. Schwartz brings more than 22 years of experience in restaurant and specialty foods marketing, branding, strategic planning, product launches and public relations to the position overseeing and expanding B.R. Cohn’s olive oil, vinegar, and gourmet dessert sauce product lines.
Schwartz graduated with a degree in Foodservice and Hospitality Management from Cornell University and began her career as Assistant Director of Marketing with Mrs. Field’s Chocolate Chips, where she was instrumental in building the newly established cookie retailer into a major national brand. A self-proclaimed “born and bred foodie,” she has worked with world renown restaurateurs such as Joachim Splichal, Bradley Ogden, and Alice Waters and also owned and operated four gourmet food shops throughout her career. Prior to joining B.R. Cohn, Schwartz was Director of Marketing and Product Development at Quake Town Brands.
“Diane’s vast and varied experience working in specialty foods and hospitality will bring a valuable perspective to our sales and marketing programs,” noted Dan Cohn, CEO of B.R. Cohn. “We look forward to having her help further our goals at the B.R. Cohn Olive Oil Co.”
B.R. Cohn Winery and Olive Oil Company is located at 15000 Sonoma Highway 12 in Glen Ellen, and its wines and food products are nationally distributed. The Sonoma Valley tasting room is open daily from 10am – 5pm. Additional information is available at www.brcohn.com.
Olive oil quality is in the spotlight, and everyone who buys olive oil these days needs to know the good from the bad. Now is your chance to learn all about olive oil quality assurance in a unique online certificate course from the International Olive Oil School. Experts from the University of California at Davis Olive Center and Boundary Bend will demystify olive oil and help buyers protect themselves from olive oil fraud. Participants will taste more than 20 samples, learning how to identify good oils along with the characteristic defects that can arise along the supply chain. The tasting samples, together with a set of six hand-made cobalt tasting glasses, will be delivered to participants in advance of the online sessions. The five, 90-minute lessons will stream live online June 16-20 and space is limited. Participants can ask questions from the instructors using an onscreen chat and access the recorded program for 30 days after the live lessons. Those who complete the series will receive an Advanced Course Certificate of Completion from the International Olive Oil School. Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn the ins and outs of olive oil quality assurance directly from world-renowned experts. Register today.
Boyajian Inc.has been awarded a gold medal for its Scallion Infused Olive Oil and a silver medal for its Chipotle Infused Olive Oil at the recent 2014 Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition. This year the competition celebrated its 14th anniversary. Oils are tasted by an impressive team of judges, and the competition brings in the finest domestic and international olive oils from across the globe.
Boyajian oils are sold and distributed to a number of retail locations throughout the country.They can be found at the following locations, as well as countless other locations across the United States and beyond:
Northern California’s Bay Area:
Berkeley Bowl – locations in the East Bay Area
Lunardi’s – several locations in the Bay Area
Zanotto’s Family Markets – locations in the South Bay Area
Russo’s Market – Watertown, Mass.
Epicure Market – Miami Beach
Bill the Spice Guy – Bonita Springs, Fla.
For a location near you, contact Alex Boyajian at ABoyajian@boyajianinc.com.
Consumers will taste-test the best of what Bertolli Olive Oil has to offer in the form of mobile content, featuring mouthwatering recipes and bite-size videos starring Chef Fabio Viviani. Building on the success of their first mobile marketing campaign partnership that utilized SmartSource with NFC, News America Marketing and Thinaire are helping Bertolli once again serve rich interactive content directly to consumers in the shopping aisle.
As shoppers visit the olive oil aisle, a tap of their NFC-enabled mobile devices to specially tagged SmartSource ShelfTalk signs will instantly bring them to “This Week’s Recipe” from Bertolli. The recipe includes a shopping list that details all the necessary ingredients for a delicious meal so everything can be purchased during a single store visit. Additional content includes videos starring Chef Viviani which range from how to prepare this week’s recipe to an educational “Olive Oil 101,” discussing specific uses for Bertolli Extra Virgin, Classico and Extra Light blends.
“Mobile marketing allows us to engage with shoppers on-the-go by helping them plan their next meal directly at the point-of-purchase,” said Maggie Rogers, Brand Director, Bertolli Olive Oil. “We’re looking forward to continuing our collaboration with News America Marketing and Thinaire to create additional campaigns that simplify and streamline the consumer’s shopping experience while incorporating an element of entertainment.”
“SmartSource with NFC is helping brands like Bertolli capture consumer imaginations while delivering information,” said Mark Goodstadt, CEO of Thinaire. “In addition to offering rich content, campaigns like this help brands like Bertolli analyze point-of-purchase information to better understand the ongoing evolution of shopper behavior.”
“Seeing a leading brand like Bertolli add a mobile element to its marketing strategy is a testament to the results mobile marketing engagement can deliver,” said Marty Garofalo, President, News America Marketing. “These types of on-the-go messages bring together brands and consumers wherever they are, personalizing the shopping experience and delivering a meaningful connection.”
By Lorrie Baumann
As Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern are fond of pointing out to their television audiences, you can learn a lot about a society by tasting its food. Case in point: the Orthodox Jewish community in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. If you find yourself in Crown Heights, or even if you are just wondering about kosher food, Benz’s Food Products will be happy to serve up an education in what it means to be both “kosher” and “gourmet.”
Benz’s Gourmet, the brick and mortar shop that is the retail face of the family-owned kosher grocer, opened 11 years ago in Crown Heights, a neighborhood that has since become known as a case study in gentrification. As rising real estate prices have forced middle class families out of Manhattan, they have fled in large numbers to Brooklyn neighborhoods served by an efficient public transportation system that provides easy access to the island. The population shift has generated the concerns and conflicts characteristic of any rapid cultural change.
For Benz’s Gourmet, the changes in the neighborhood have created an opportunity to serve both the neighborhood’s native Orthodox Jewish residents and ex-Manhattanites with gourmet foods that meet the strictest of kosher requirements but also the educated tastes of adventurous eaters. Aside from a few staples that are carried as convenience items, every item in Benz’s Gourmet must pass both tests: it must meet the strictest of kosher standards, and it must be a gourmet product.
“If you’re looking for a gourmet dulce de leche that’s strictly kosher, you come to Benz’s. If you’re looking for a kosher goat yogurt, Benz’s carries it. If you’re looking for truffles, Benz’s carries it. We also offer a large assortment of imported cheeses, imported olives and beers. Of course, all strictly kosher,” said Dobi Raskin, the daughter in the family that owns and operates Benz’s. Dobi does some of pretty much everything that has to be done in the store and the wholesale operation that stands behind it. “Just because you’re kosher and Orthodox doesn’t mean you don’t want a truffle mac and cheese. Just because you keep kosher shouldn’t mean that you don’t get to taste the finer things in life.”
The business was started in 1976 by Dobi Raskin’s father, Benz Raskin. Benz is still active in the business along with Dobi’s mother and her three brothers.
Benz started out making classic frozen gefilte fish logs, distinguished from competing products by the high quality of a product made with only fresh fish and fresh produce when other companies were making it with frozen fish. “We started really small, making small batches,” Dobi says. At first, the product was sold only to local families, with Benz delivering it himself in a little red pickup truck. “We’re in Brooklyn, the home of many Orthodox Jews,” Dobi says. “We ourselves are Orthodox Jews.”
As the Benz’s gefilte fish became more popular, Benz started selling it wholesale to institutional buyers serving the Orthodox community. He then began adding more groceries to his product line. Today, the business sells groceries through the Internet as well as in a brick-and-mortar store, and the company’s patriarch has become a mascot for the neighborhood. The shop is only about 20 feet by 100 feet, so it’s not hard to find him when he is there. “Our hearts are bigger than our store,” Dobi says. “He’s sort of an icon. People come in just to say hello to him. He loves it.”
Benz started the business because he saw that the people in his neighborhood were becoming more interested in some of the gourmet food products that they were hearing about from the Food Network and other influences. They wanted to try the new specialty foods, but they were not interested in abandoning religious requirements for how food is to be raised, processed and served. “That’s where Benz saw the need,” Dobi says. “It requires a lot more research and care to make sure that the products are up to the kosher standards of the community, since there are many different kosher certifications. If there’s a product with a kosher certification you don’t recognize, you have to do due diligence to make sure that it’s something we can carry … Just because something has a symbol doesn’t mean that it’s going to fly with us.”
Benz’s now carries a wide variety of refrigerated and frozen products, dry products and other specialty groceries, all with the endorsement of rabbinic authorities that it has been produced according to strict kosher law. Dobi does a great deal of the research herself to be sure that each product meets the company’s standards. “It’s quite astonishing how much time it takes to establish that a product is kosher, and if so, under which certification,” she says. “That’s what makes us unique, that we take the time.”
When customers ask for an item that’s not in the shop’s stock, Dobi seeks out suppliers who can provide a kosher gourmet product. “If you’re looking for strictly kosher goat yogurt, Benz’s will find it and bring it in. If it’s a popular item, it becomes a regular. We’ll stock it,” she says. “If it’s available on the market, we’ll try to bring it in for you.”
Finding a gourmet item with the proper kosher certification can be a challenge, and Dobi is particularly proud that she was able to find truffle products in response to a customer request. She now gets them from an Israeli company that sources them in Europe, and Benz’s now offers minced truffles, truffle sea salt and even truffle oil. “We were able to bring in the product line. That was a good one,” Dobi says. “You keep the customer happy. They keep you happy. It’s a nice cycle.”
In their eagerness to try new gourmet products, Benz’s customers have not forgotten the traditional foods they grew up with. The company still sells its classic frozen gefilte fish logs and still takes great pride in offering a gourmet product that meets customers’ dietary needs. “The fresh fish and fresh produce that goes into the product put it a step above its competitors, Dobi says. “Just because we eat gefilte fish doesn’t mean it has to taste like cardboard.”
Benz’s also imports trays of herring from Europe and offers them both in the tray and in almost 30 different preparations that combine the herring with ingredients like wasabi, scallions, jalapeños and habanero peppers. Some customers like to buy the herring already prepared, and some like to buy the plain filets and take them home to experiment with new flavor combinations. Either way, Benz’s is ready to serve.
“Our herring filets are probably the best on the market. The quality just can’t be beat. It’s just nice, buttery, good texture,” Dobi says. The herring filets are, like Dobi herself, named after Benz’s mother, so customers come into the shop and ask for Dobis. “I’m pretty famous now, I guess,” she says.
The Dobi case is a popular gathering spot for the community as they come into the store to shop for Sabbath meals, and the various preparations for the herring have become a running topic of discussion among the Orthodox community, where you can often tell which synagogue an individual attended last week by what kind of herring they’re talking about, Dobi says.
“People are expanding their horizons. The market is so vast and there are so many options that people are able to eat a gourmet diet and still adhere to the strict kosher requirements,” says Dobi. “There’s a young community here that’s blossoming that wants the better things in life, and we appreciate that we’re able to offer it to them.”
Two Lucini® extra virgin olive oils were awarded gold medals at the second annual New York International Olive Oil Competition. Lucini Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil® and Founders Reserve Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil® were honored in the medium intensity and robust intensity categories respectively.
Considered to be one of the most elite olive oil competitions in the world, the NYIOOC boasted 651 extra virgin olive oils from 25 countries worldwide. The oils were rated by an international expert panel of esteemed judges in a double blind tasting who rated each oil’s fruitiness, pungency and bitterness while noting any defects that are not allowed in extra virgin olive oil by law.
The judges noted the “exceptional harmony” and “high complexity” of both Lucini oils, highlighting their aromatic and taste profiles. “We are extremely honored and proud of this recognition,” said David Neuman, President of Lucini Italia. “This is a testament to our mission that began over 17 years ago; producing only the best extra virgin olive oil and making it accessible to the American consumer. ”
Harvested near Bolgheri, Tuscany in early November to preserve the full flavor and peak health properties, the 100 percent handpicked olives used in Lucini Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil are handpicked and crushed within 24 hours. Renowned for its Tuscan taste profile, the oil is full-bodied and green, with hints of apple, herbs, almond and a peppery finish. A consumer and celebrity chef favorite, it is the best-selling extra virgin olive oil over $10 in the United States.
Founders Reserve Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil originates in Montenero d’Orcia, Tuscany, at the estate of the renowned and award-winning Frantoio Franci. Two estate-grown olive varieties, Frantoio and Olivastra Seggianese, are picked by hand and pressed within twelve hours, capturing the coveted flavor only found in the best, fresh olive fruit. The oil is abundantly green in both aroma and taste, with notes of spice and cinnamon and a strong peppery finish. Less than 5,000 bottles were produced of this very special oil.
This is the second NYIOOC win for Lucini. Lucini Limited Reserve® Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil® received a gold medal in the 2013 competition. For more information on the New York International Olive Oil Competition visit http://www.bestoliveoils.com/.
Oregon Olive Mill, premier purveyor of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and home to the only estate olioteca in the Pacific Northwest, is proud to announce record sales in 2013 and plans for continued development of its extra virgin olive oil operation. New initiatives include Frantoio, a just released extra virgin olive oil, development of the first annual conference on cool climate fine olive growing to be held April 26 and 27, and a re-envisioned oil tasting experience launching this summer.
According to Oregon Olive Mill Master Miller and fourth generation farmer, Paul Durant, “We saw unprecedented demand last year and sold out of our oils earlier than ever before. Our new initiatives support my family’s larger vision, which is to propel extra virgin olive oil to its rightful place in the North American food scene. Extra virgin olive oil can elevate cuisine in an almost ethereal manner; yet it remains largely under appreciated by the average American consumer.”
Frantoio, the new single Italian varietal, joins a portfolio of three extra virgin olive oils — Tuscan, Arbequina and Koroneiki. Durant sources olives from his family’s 17-acre grove and prime sites in northern California, then mills and bottles them at the property’s estate olioteca. The oils are sold online at www.redridgefarms.com and at Red Ridge Farms for $18.95 per 375 ml bottle; additional sizes and gourmet gift boxes are also available.
The first annual Pacific Northwest Cool Climate Extra Virgin Olive Oil Conference will be held at Oregon Olive Mill on Saturday and Sunday, April 26 and 27. The weekend will feature a technically focused program on Saturday including sessions on agronomy, cool climate varieties, a round table discussion on cultivating quality and more. The Sunday sessions, aimed at a broader audience, will explore creating an olive oil culture in the Pacific Northwest, extra virgin olive oil origin and labeling, and tasting and sensory analysis.
The addition of herbs and spices to oils for dipping and adding to recipes is an idea that has been around for a while. There was a period when everyone had a decorative bottle of oil jam-packed with various herbs and spices in their kitchen window. These were more often for decoration, as the flavors were hit and miss at best.
“Today’s quality infused oils bring a whole new dimension to the taste. Of course they are attractive; we even add some extra herbs just for the look, but the big news is the incredible pure taste.” says Mike Tott, President of Gourmet du Village.
Perfect served for dipping with some crusty artisan bread, perfect to use as a flavor to add to your home cooking, these infused oils from Gourmet du Village are available in 280-ml bottles in three distinct flavor profiles: Spiced Chili Pepper, Parmesan Pesto and Rosemary Garlic.
This new product along with the entire new collection of gourmet gifts from Gourmet du Village can be seen at the company’s showrooms in Dallas, Atlanta, and Philadelphia.
For more information, visit www.gourmetduvillage.com.
The current olive shortage caused by poor climatic conditions in Spain,Greece, and Southern Europe means an uptick in business for at least one Northern California olive grower and processor. West Coast Products produces natural brine-cured jumbo olives, which compete with chemically cured, lye treated olives from the Mediterranean region. The ongoing international olive shortage sheds new light on this niche market.
More and more buyers, reacting to the international crop shortage, are awakening to the differences between naturally curedCalifornia olives and the imports. “Buyers are calling and telling us they never knew imported green olives were cured with lye,” said Dan Vecere, General Manager, West Coast Products – Olinda Brand.
European farmers state that their 2013 olive crop yields fell more than 70 percent, especially for the queen size olives with market condition reports projecting 2014 prices will increase more than 50 percent. The Olinda Brand olives are Sevillano, one of the largest green specialty varieties sometimes called the “Spanish Queen,” and they are abundant in California this season and available to both domestic and foreign markets.
Until the international shortage occurred, according to Vecere and Olinda Brand Sales Manager Mark DeCamilla, the importers had been setting both product price and grade. “That’s changing,” said DeCamilla. “End users, such as chefs and bartenders, are taking notice that our California olives have a firmer texture and a fresher taste than the industrially cured imported olives.”
The Olinda Brand tradition of olive growing and production in California spans more than 75 years.
About West Coast Products and the Olinda Brand
Since 1937, West Coast Products of Northern California has provided professional and home kitchens with specialty olives and olive oils under the Olinda Brand. The company’s commitment to natural, fresh, and in-season premium private-label table olives and private-label olive oils meets the highest standards of California state certification, which ensures top quality olive products.