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Wegmans Offers Private Label Extra-virgin Olive Oil

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Wegmans last month began offering Wegmans' Italian Classics Novello Extra Virgin Olive Oil, priced at $7.99 per 16.9-ounce bottle. The oil is available while supplies last, according to the company, adding that the next shipment isn't until January 2009.

"We work with olive oil producers throughout Italy," said Wegmans merchandise manager Christine Klem. "Our tasters preferred this sample above all the other new-harvest oils they tried."

Olio Novello, Italian for "new or fresh oil," comes from olives harvested a few weeks before the New Year, then pressed and bottled. The unfiltered olive oil, which has a rich green color and a cloudy appearance with a thin layer of sediment at the bottom, "not only boasts the most intense flavors, but also the highest levels of beneficial antioxidants of any olive oil," Wegmans said.

"The fresher and less processed the olive oil, the more antioxidants it contains," notes corporate nutrition manager Jane Andrews. "Time, air, and light are the enemies of quality and freshness of olive oil, as well as antioxidant levels. So if you like the flavor of extra virgin olive oil, use it in place of refined oils, since it may have a health advantage. And when new-harvest extra virgin olive oil is available, that's even better, since it will have even higher levels of protective antioxidants."

Wegmans recommends that the oil be drizzled over soups, raw or cooked winter vegetables, or bruschetta; eaten with cannelloni, garbanzo, or lentil dishes; or added as "an extra layer of flavor" over pan-seared fish, shrimp, chicken breasts, pork, or sirloin. According to the retailer, the oil can be used in all the ways regular extra-virgin olive oil is used, "keeping in mind that flavor and antioxidants are best preserved when the oil isn't used for cooking at high temperatures like frying."

Family-owned Wegmans operates 71 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland.
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