I have lived in Dubai (UAE) for several years and most of the extra virgin olive oil I have bought here has been from Italy or Greece. Once in a while, a bottle of Tunisian oil makes its way into my kitchen, but by and large I have not been very experimental with olive oils from different regions.
About a month ago, I made a conscious decision to seek out good quality extra virgin olive oils from different countries. There are lots of regions in the world which have excellent climates for producing olive oil and many of them are not very far from the UAE.
But where to start? I had heard about a place in Dubai called The Change Initiative. It is more than simply a shop which sells things, it is an entire concept. The Change Initiative promotes environmentally and socially responsible living in all aspects of our life whether it is the furniture or clothes that we use, the toys our children play with, or the food we give to our families. All the items on their shelves have been carefully selected after passing a stringent set of requirements which ensures they fit with The Change Initiative’s overall ethos of sustainability and responsibility.
When a brand like The Change Initiative takes so much care to hand-pick the items it sells, each item has a special story to tell. The one which captured my attention was the Nabali Tree Olive Oil, an organic extra virgin olive oil made from fair trade Nabali olive tree orchards in the West Bank in Palestine.
Nabali Tree Olive Oil is produced by a Palestinian company called Canaan Fair Trade which brings together smallholder agricultural groups (over 1700 farm families and 43 cooperatives) to produce a range of products.
When you buy one of Canaan Fair Trade’s products, such as the Nabali Tree Olive Oil, a portion of the profits goes towards projects and programs which support the rural Palestinian community. These include:
- ‘Trees for Life’ which plants olive trees for farmers just starting out or those who have lost their trees
- ‘The Canaan Scholarship Fund’ which funds students to study for 4 years at a Palestinian university
- ‘Green Track Palestine’ which converts tractors so that they can run on used vegetable oil, making running the tractors more environmentally responsible but also freeing farmers from relying on expensive fuel.
- Micro-loans for small producers, with a particular focus on women
Nabali Tree Olive Oil certainly seems to embody the concepts of social and environmental responsibility, but how does it taste?
Canaan Fair Trade’s website describes their Nabali Tree Olive Oil as ‘fruity with medium body and fresh tones’ with an acidity level of less than 0.7% and a peroxide level of less than 10 meq/kg (extra virgin olive oil should have acidity of less than 0.8% and peroxide of less than 20 meq/kg).
I poured about a tablespoon of the oil into a small cup and warmed it between my hands to help release the flavors and aromas. It was a rich gold color with a slight tinge of green (please note that color is not an indicator of quality). The aroma was very fruity with the distinct smell of olives. Taking a sip of the oil, it was buttery on my tongue with a clean, green, fresh hay flavor. There was some bitterness on my tongue right at the end as well as some pepperiness at the back of my throat. I think it would be delicious drizzled on lightly roasted green vegetables like courgettes/zucchini, asparagus or green beans. For more details on how to taste olive oil, see my Tutorial: How To Buy Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
The Change Initiative sells Nabali extra virgin olive oil in several sizes to suit various needs.
- 330mL bottle for AED30
- 660mL bottle for AED60
- 1L tin for AED73
- 5L tin for AED332
Share your thoughts: If you have tried Nabali Tree Olive Oil, share your thoughts in the comment section below.
In Dubai, Nabali Tree Olive Oil is available at The Change Initiative. It is also sold internationally in Europe, North American, Australia, Asia and the Middle East.
- The Change Initiative gave me a 330mL bottle of Nabali Tree Olive Oil to try at home. All opinions are honest and my own.