“Only a fool thinks that producing the highest quality of olive oil is based on luck. What restaurant could get a Michelin star without dedicating the proper time in every detail?” says Frederick Snoeck, who also wastes no time in telling me,“once you find an excellent olive oil, a producer who is passionate about his olives, you will learn very quickly what authentic olive oil is supposed to be,” when I caught up with him last week to find out more about his award-winning olive oil brand, 123OLIVE.

Every passionate chef knows that a good olive oil can be hard to come by. The real question is, when you do, how do you know which type is suitable for, say, cooking, rather than drizzling on salads or for using to dip bread?

Cue 123OLIVE, which prides itself for producing high quality, unfiltered olive oil, from an olive grove just north of Lisbon, Portugal. While producing premium olive oil lies at the heart of 123OLIVE’s philosophy, Frederick and his best friend and co-founder are also responsible for spearheading a unique culinary concept which was formed on an olive grove while on holiday in southern Europe; and like most good gastronomic ideas, came to fruition over an excellent glass of wine. The resulting concept, 123OLIVE – which also, rather aptly, doubles up as the brand’s name – is part of founder Frederick’s quest to equip the passionate home cook with the knowledge and utensils for choosing the right olive oil for various culinary applications. 

Back home, after returning from his holiday steeped in fresh ambition, Frederick worked tirelessly to put the idea and questions on paper and started his market research.

“Our research confirmed that olive oil is widely consumed but that consumers had a lack of understanding about which olive oil to use for which application. For example, what olive oil is best for dipping and finishing off various ingredients? Should a different olive oil be used for cold preparations, such as salads, dressings and seasonings? And then there’s baking, roasting and grilling... The list of questions surrounding the right olive oil for various uses is endless, and so the concept of 123OLIVE – taste, dress, cook – was born.”

Gathering insights from olive farmers, Frederick and his co-founder quickly discovered that there were specific properties that olive oils should have for specific culinary preparations: an extra virgin unfiltered and balanced olive oil, with a fresh twist and ending on a peppery note, for the pure tasting experience; a slightly bitter olive oil that harmonises herbs in all kinds of cold preparations; and finally a refined olive oil that is most suited for warm preparations.

Contained within three dark-coloured and elegant bottles which come equipped with a convenient pourer that pops up when opening, allowing easy dispensing (without spillage!), 123OLIVE is an easy way of equipping your kitchen with the right olive oil for each preparation – in a beautifully presented gift box. 

The first bottle, 1-TASTE extra virgin olive oil, made from Arbequina olives, is specially selected for its pure taste that offers a long and flavourful finish with a peppery touch and unique scent of fresh green olives, apples and green tomatoes – perfect for dipping or finishing of various ingredients.

The second, 2-DRESS, is a unique unfiltered extra virgin olive oil, which is cold-pressed from Cobrançosa olives and yellow-gold in colour – perfect for combining with herbs, seasonings, … in dressings or for other cold preparations.

The third and final, 3-COOK, is for use on all hot dishes featuring vegetables, meat or fish and is suitable for baking, roasting and grilling. This olive oil consists mainly of olive oil that has been refined using a purification process in which impurities are removed from the oil. A refined olive oil has a higher smoke point, so that ingredients can be seared quickly, without compromising on the taste and quality of the ingredients.

For a few of 123OLIVE's delicious recipes, from yellow pepper pesto to blue steak, read FOUR's 'Three recipes by 123OLIVE'

Want to know more? Why not visit the 123OLIVE website www.123olive.com or follow them on Facebook and LinkedIn .

123OLIVE gift boxes are currently available in English, French, German and Dutch and can be purchased via 123OLIVE’s international online shop www.123olive-shop.com or from specialty shops in Belgium. €46,50/gift box