Moro is an Australian culinary success story. It's oils and vinegars are pantry staples, helping food lovers create beautiful dishes every day.
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Is olive oil the most important oil on earth? For car lovers, probably no, but for the rest of us the answer has to be a clear yes. For nearly 8,000 years, humans have used olives to create oils for a variety of purposes including food, medicine, cosmetics and even lighting, with olive oil used to cook, flavour and preserve food as far back as at least the 5th century.
When it comes to flavour, extra virgin olive oil (or EVOO) is the undisputed queen, and as we get more access to different varieties of olives, learning more about their characteristics and their attributes, we’re becoming more confident in choosing the flavours we love in our dressings and pans.
A Treasured Possession
Stefano Manfredi, an Australian food icon for over three decades, tells the story that in the 60s in Australia olive oil was scarce – his mother could only find it in 50ml bottles at chemists. We’ve come a long way since then, but the story illustrates the lengths to which serious cooks have always gone to get decent olive oil, and how fundamental it is to bringing the flavours of the Mediterranean, particularly Italy and Spain, to life.
For Italians, good olive oil is at the centre of “Bella Cucina”, a food philosophy that holds the use of simple, high quality ingredients as a non-negotiable component at its heart.
The Home of Moro
If you head east from Nice, over the Apennines Mountains and across the French/Italian border, you’ll find yourself on the Ligurian Coast. This stretch of coast is defined by the weathered and colourful villages of Cinque Terre, whose cliffs, deep blue waters, sand and pebbled beaches present an idealised picture of the Italian Riviera.
Beyond this coastline is olive and grape country, and is where Tomaso Moro e Figli founded Moro and Sons in 1845. Tomaso began his business producing canned products, including olive oil and preserves such as tuna, under the brand Moro. The family thrived, and in 1919 the seven Moro brothers decided to expand their business to Spain and built Establecimientos Moro S.A. in the Andalucian area of Malaga in 1926. Andalucia is the heart of Spain’s olive universe, and the brothers soon built one of the most advanced olive oil production facilities of its time.
Archival image of Moro's Malaga factory in Spain, built in 1926.
Classic advertising from Italy, 1929 (image credit: Mueso Nazionale Collezione Salce, Treviso - Polo Museale del Veneto).
Olive Oil comes to Australia
The business survived the Depression and the Second World War, soon becoming one of the most successful producers of olive oil in Spain and Italy. Exports grew rapidly around the world and by 1960, one of the brothers, Mauricio Moro, begun exporting Moro olive oil into Australia, where olive oil was still considered an exotic ingredient. Mrs Manfredi wasn’t the only one making trips to the corner chemist to source olive oil for her cooking, however, and soon Moro became a well-known and trusted brand in Australia.
In the late 1970s, Conga Foods, an Australian, family-owned company that since 1955 had built a successful business in developing and bringing high quality products from around the world to Australia, purchased the Moro brand globally.
The Valmorbida family would continue the Moro family legacy by developing and producing only the best quality Spanish olive oil products. The Moro success story grew further when Conga Foods expanded the range with complementary products such as artisanal Italian vinegars, and by the 80s it had become one of the leading olive oil and specialty vinegar brands in Australia.
"Improve all foods", Moro advertising circa 1954.
Good salads become great with a little Moro magic.
As the popularity of dining out boomed, our hunger for culinary knowledge, culture and ingredients grew exponentially. Olive oil awareness, however, and in particular that regarding EVOO, suffered as a few myths about its usage took hold.
One myth that kept people from using EVOO was the misconception that it has a low smoke point, or that cooking with it could somehow be unhealthy. How this notion came about is a mystery; EVOO has a smoke point of between 180–200ºC and sometimes higher, depending on quality. Nonetheless, EVOO’s ideal role is as a flavour additive, almost like spice. For even higher temperature cooking, Moro’s Tradicional and Delicado olive oils contain a majority of refined olive oil that preserves the pure oil from the olive without the fruity compounds. With smoke points of up to 220º and 240ºC respectively, they’re perfect for dishes requiring a little extra heat in the pan or oven, or when a more subtly-flavoured, healthy oil is required for a sauce, dressing or marinade.
In all Moro products, the preservation of flavour and freshness is paramount. Moro continues to drive quality and to lift standards through a selection process that ensures only the very best oil makes it into their bottles and tins, with olives pressed within hours of harvesting, to ensure all that beautiful juice is squeezed out while the aroma and flavour are still intact.
Olives are pressed fresh within hours of being picked.
The Dress Circle: Quality = Flavour
Thankfully, everyone from trained chefs down to the passionate home cook understands the value and place that high quality ingredients have in our day to day cooking. Now, more than ever, there are more choices available; and as our food culture continues to evolve, our appreciation is further enriched.
Moro, in addition to its sustained focus on quality across its range of products, is driving this evolution in Australia by celebrating all the wonderful ways people use oils and vinegars to enhance the flavour of their food, encouraging home chefs to experiment and explore in pursuit of unique flavour experiences. Because great cooking is as much an adventure as anything else, a fact that Moro understands well.
A little bit of Olive Oil to dip your bread in is always welcome.
Part of the Moro range available in stores.
The journey never ends.
The types of oils and vinegars we have in our pantries – and their uses – have evolved considerably over the years, and the fundamental role these condiments play in our cooking has only grown. Increasingly, the use of these vinegars and oils to create balance and contrasts has only strengthened, enhancing our collective diets incalculably. It could be argued that, apart from spice, there is no ingredient more fundamental to the balancing act of flavour when it comes to food preparation than olive oil; from a simple salad dressing all the way through to stews and even desserts, it’s a genuine and much-loved staple.
Moro plans to take you on a food journey that will have you looking at your pantry in a different way and give you the tools and confidence to explore, experiment so you can elevate something simple into something magical, everyday. It promises to be a delicious endeavour indeed.