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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loving an endangered species i
An interview with author Tom Mueller on NPR's "Splendid Table" program led me to buy the book. Mueller is just as passionate in person about his subject--great olive oil--as he is in his writing. He is equally strong in chronicling his outrage over what the greed of producers and distributors is doing to undermine the quality of the product. All of this is laid out at...
Published on 22 Jan 2012 by Blue in Washington

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Extra Virginity - the people but not the product
I should have heeded the warning from Washington Blue - this book is long on people but rather short on the product - Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The author himself admits this to an extent in his acknowledgements - "Extra Virginity is as much about the people...., as about the oil iteself". If you're for descriptions of 'barrel chested' people with 'eyes that see right into...
Published on 3 April 2012 by Roger Mackenzie


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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loving an endangered species i, 22 Jan 2012
By 
Blue in Washington "Barry Ballow" (Washington, DC United States) - See all my reviews
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An interview with author Tom Mueller on NPR's "Splendid Table" program led me to buy the book. Mueller is just as passionate in person about his subject--great olive oil--as he is in his writing. He is equally strong in chronicling his outrage over what the greed of producers and distributors is doing to undermine the quality of the product. All of this is laid out at length in "Extra Virginity". And it is the extensive investigatory reporting on the greed and criminality that makes the book drag considerably. Still, it does make his warnings and buying counsel to consumers of olive oil the more convincing, even if it makes the book more difficult to read.

What I (gratefully) did get from this book were some great sources to find authentic extra virgin olive oil and a persuasive argument that quality in the product does matter for culinary and health reasons. These are two good reasons to buy Mueller's book. And here's a tip to perspective readers who might, like me, tire of the long passages about Italian oil criminality or semi-cryptic descriptions of olive oil's chemical makeup: you can skip to page 221 of the book where begins Mueller's detailed Appendix, and where you will find all of the information you need to locate, buy and appreciate authentic extra virgin olive oil of any origin. It includes what to avoid as well as how and when to purchase. I have used the information and bought my first Mueller-recommended oil--a Spanish label, Castillo de Canena, that is every good thing that Mueller promised it would be, including crushingly expensive.

Finally, here are few things that I learned from this book: most extra virgin olive oil sold in the U.S. probably isn't extra virgin oil; to get the good stuff, you have to pay a premium; olive oil is great for your health, if you get the right stuff; the color of the oil doesn't indicate quality; point of origin indicated on the label of any olive oil doesn't relate to quality; there is no single country that produces "the best olive oil".

So, although this may not be the easiest-flowing book, overall it's a fine source of information about an important and interesting food product that is a big plus to quality of life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extra star, 9 Feb 2012
I agree with the view and analysis of the first reviewer of this book .. it is at times turgid in its detail and unstructured. However the message regarding the historic abuse of olive oil, as exemplified by the current misuse of the "extra virgin" tag, is of such importance that I am happy to give Tom Mueller's book a 5 star rating. Perhaps a difficult read at times but an excellent reference book to anyone who cares what's inside a bottle of olive oil

Narwhal

PS having tasted `Castillo de Canena' served through Paolo Pasquali's `oliveTolive' dispenser (mentioned in the book) I can also agree on the first reviewer's opinion of that excellent oil
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Extra Virginity - the people but not the product, 3 April 2012
By 
Roger Mackenzie (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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I should have heeded the warning from Washington Blue - this book is long on people but rather short on the product - Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The author himself admits this to an extent in his acknowledgements - "Extra Virginity is as much about the people...., as about the oil iteself". If you're for descriptions of 'barrel chested' people with 'eyes that see right into your soul' then fine but its not for me. Another flaw from my point of view is that the closest the book comes to definitive purchasing advice is based primarily on Californian experience, despite the author being resident in Italy. The book, on occasions is rather repetitive down to the level of the phrases used to describe particular situations. Like Washinton Blue I have some hopes for the appendix on 'choosing a good oil' especially for its provision of a largish number of web sites. Whether a search engine would have proved just as useful I haven't yet had time to tell (as I was reading the book).
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5.0 out of 5 stars A journey to a Virgin Sensory Land, 25 Feb 2014
By 
Felipe (Winchester, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I had the pleasure of travelling around Europe and experiencing for myself some of the charms of the unknown world of olive oil.

Tom Mueller has the exceptional ability to convey thoughts with musical beauty. This book not only takes you through a journey through virgin sensory experiences, sometimes delightful and other times infuriating, it also succinctly narrates with an emotional appeal what a man on a personal crusade was able to uncover.

A must read for anyone even mildly interested in Food, Business and Health. A word of warning: after reading this book, you are likely to never buy an ordinary bottle of olive oil ever again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting and infectious book., 27 Jan 2014
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P. Ward (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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A good read and it is dangerous in that it takes whatever small interest you had in olive oil and magnifies it into a passion. One of the few books I have strongly recommended to others. Never mind the bit were I start quizzing traders about the provenance and taste of their oil.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good read!, 21 April 2013
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This book is so well written and such a revelation that has made me more careful about the olive oil I buy. A real eye opener.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting and TRUE account of the where your olive oil comes from, 30 Jan 2013
If you have ever bought a bottle of olive oil from the supermarket thinking, "Great, I'm going to start using olive oil because it's good for me", then read this, and get ready for a shock. Because, whilst it's true that olive oil is extremely good for you, the reality is that 99% of the so-called "extra Virgin olive oil" sold is anything but. It's made from inferior quality oils, doctored in the labs and in refineries and made to look at taste like the real thing to the untrained palate/eye. In fact, these oils have none of the health benefits of real olive oil, and yet, that is why you paid 5 times more than ordinary vegetable oil.

So where does all the extra money go? Into the pockets of crooks, who are amassing vast fortunes from these frauds, and with money comes power, political connections, and protection at the highest level of the Italian government.

It's scary! Read the book. This is no conspiracy theory.

How to I know for sure? Because I live in Tuscany, and have spoken to one of the guys who runs one the huge plants that buy cheap nasty oil from N.Africa and sell it back to you at vastly inflated prices with the label "Made in Italy" on it. It is ALL true.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing - Frigthening, 10 May 2012
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This book is a genuine call for action. Action against worldwide fraud and for traceable quality.
Action by the consumers: get to know the real stuff. Don't accept wrongly labeled (or worse) oils.
Tom Mueller doesn't hide his emotions, especially when describing the passionate people he has met all over the world. Some of us may not like this; they might have preferred a facts-only book. Yet, once you have tasted real Extra Vergine olive oil ... you cannot but become a missionary.
If you are at least a bit interested in authentic Extra Vergine olive oil, then this book is a must. Take your time and read it page by page. Verify what you read on the internet or even better: in the field. I am sure Mr Mueller won't mind.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Extra Virginity a long winded wind up, 17 Jun 2013
By 
A. Gordon (UK) - See all my reviews
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This author is obviously passionate about his subject, so much so that the endless stories of oil snuffling and people coughing and crying from the peppery quality oils, peppers the book. Repetitive stories with endless anecdotal offerings, spoils the reading of this chronologically challenged, over blown offering, that a proof reader would have a field day with. The grammar is appalling, punctuation useless and sentence construction a nightmare. True, these reading qualities that are a disaster in this book which could be 100 pages less don't always spoil the informative areas. None the less, skipping the first 80 pages or so wouldn't make the slightest difference. There are lots of interesting parts of this book which saves it from being almost worthless, but it needed to be presented in less than half the space it used to make it readable.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars extra virgin, 9 Mar 2012
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a very good book which extends are knowledge of what to and what not to do with it. good value for money
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Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil
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