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While Europeans have known it for centuries, Aussies are slowly catching on to the taste and health benefits of olive oil. As the world’s biggest exporter of olive oil, Spain’s looking to capture some of our market, as Julie-anne Sprague discovers.

SPAIN is the largest exporter of olive oils in the world and the Spanish Commercial Office is taking the product to the people as part of its ongoing awareness campaign. The Spanish Fiesta took place last weekend at Carousel Shopping Centre and was part of the commercial office’s plan of taking Spanish products directly to the consumer. Eduardo Gonzalez, market analyst for the Spanish Embassy’s commercial office, says Spanish olive oils have become increasingly popular amongst Australian consumers.

“65 per cent of the Australian olive oil market is Spanish oil. We are the largest producer of olive oils in the world. We have over 65 varieties,” he says.

There is a range of brands to choose from, including Moro, Carbonell, Barneo, Anfora and Always Fresh, as well as a range of varieties. Depending on your cooking requirements you can choose either the light and fruity extra virgin oil (good for salad dressings), the Picul (a deeper, peppery oil) or the Abequina (light and sweeter). Most varieties are sold through local supermarkets. If you are after bulk purchases, give Ark Wine Agencies, Borges Australia, or Leo’s Import and Distributors a call.

And some tips from Eduardo: Never leave your oil in sunlight, store it in a cool, dry area, and never keep oils for more than a year!

If you are interested in finding out more about Spanish olive oils visit www.tertuliaonline.com

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It’s about five weeks to Christmas and, if you flinched while reading that little fact, you should read on for some simple and hassle-free ways to get gifts this Christmas.

For example, Lifestyle Concierge Services can go shopping for you. Ring them up with an idea and or price range and they can come to you at the office with several products. Just pick the one you like and it’s all done. Offering a similar service is Executive Rewards. The idea behind this company, though, is to register your client onto their database and they will send out gifts and/or services to them at opportune times (birthday, wedding anniversary and, of course, Christmas). Another easy way to purchase gifts is to grab some catalogues and order over the phone or Internet. White Cargo has a range of hamper ideas from Christmas baskets to chocolate hampers.

And if your business has products it wants to use just let the team at White Cargo know and they’ll incorporate those products in the basket. Just call them or jump on the website www.whitecargo.com.au to have a look at the selection and order the gifts. Simple, you don’t have to leave the office!

And if you want to plan an event rather than a gift give the crew at Label n Table a call.

The premise behind this recently launched company is mystery. Your guests won’t know where you’re headed until they hop aboard the arranged transport. The team at Label n Table will organise the entire wine and food event. Just round up your guests and let them organise everything else.

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Swan Brewery has launched a new premium beer brand to join its growing family of mid-strengths. With an alcohol volume of 3.8 per cent, the Castlemaine Perkins Sovereign brand joins an increasingly popular market segment, according to Swan Brewery’s managing director Bob Bailey.

“Sovereign had been developed to fill a growing consumer demand for premium products. This demand is particularly obvious in the Western Australian beer market, where premium beer sales continue to increase at the fastest rate in Australia,” Mr Bailey says.

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The outdoor movie season is here! Sunset Cinemas at Kings Park is going from strength to strength with the inclusion of Howard Park Wines and Beaumonde Catering for onsite drinks and catering.

Beaumonde Catering will be producing the finest quality food that’s easy to eat, perfect for the picnic-style format. From swordfish steak to Guinness pies and a host of sweets to choose from, the team at Beaumonde has a menu to cater to every palate.

Prices vary and, if you like the idea of a picnic basket, phone ahead and order one. Liquor Licensing has joined the party with the approval of a bar licence, which means beer, wine and champagne will be available. The wine list is exclusive to Margaret River’s Howard Park Wines with their Madfish and Howard Park Labels by the glass or the bottle. For those with a million and one functions on at the end of the week there are quite a few good films to be seen on the Sunday and Tuesday evenings (the cinema is closed on Mondays). See Moulin Rouge (Dec 2), Memento (Dec 4), Casablanca (Dec 26), Chocolat (Jan 1), Natural Born Killers (Jan 22), and Snatch (Jan 30). Somerville at UWA also has commenced and a great special to have a look at is the Matilda Bay Restaurants “Split Early Split the Bill” promotion. If you dine after 5pm and pay before 7.30 you will get your food half price. Owner Warick Lavis tells us while it wasn’t generated because of the Somerville events, it does offer those going to see the films an alternative to picnic dining.

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Mezzonine has a new manager. Zowie Minchin moves from Barista in Cottesloe and takes up the new role. According to owner Jim Stephen, Zowie is dynamic, highly motivated and has great managerial skills. She will be responsible for the day-to-day running of Mezzonine. And what’s new at Mezzo? Well if you dine there tonight you’ll get to see the Roger Garrood Trio playing jazz on the rooftop. $40 will get you a mains and dessert and the opportunity to see “Sax with Style”. The trio consists of Roger Garrood, Murray Wilkins and Ray Walker who are all senior lecturers at Edith Cowan University for their respective instruments. Jim says they are the best of the best so tonight, get along to Mezzonine for a great night of food and jazz.

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Tasmanian Salmon is the flavour at The Sebel Hotel this month. Chef Ian Ryan has constructed a menu that includes hot smoked salmon, Royal Tasmanian caviar, and salmon fillets. You can try these delights for under $20 so if you’re thinking salmon, think Sebel.

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Origins restaurant has changed its signature dish, The Three Moon Tiffan. Sous Chef Andrew Thomas says it’s the restaurant’s most popular yet, and at times they have trouble meeting the demand, although they’re yet to run out.

The Tiffan is modelled on the Vietnamese-style tiffan (a food carrier used throughout Asia). Andrew and chefs Karen Assumption and Ben Atkinson came up with the new dishes.

If you’re heading into Origins, cast your eyes to the new art exhibit starting today. Ann-Marie Boyle’s exhibition, The Joy of Colour.

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