This Canadian-made oil wins SIRHA Innovation Bocuse d’Or award
By Monica FergusonFood In Canada Grain & Oilseed Milling Health & Wellness Asia camelina oil Cameline brand Canadian producers Europe Food in Canada North America Oliméga
Signé Camelina Roasted Oil recently won the SIRHA Innovation Bocuse d’Or award, the first Canadian product to achieve this distinction. Launched in May 2021, the fragrant oil has nutty notes of fresh herbs, hazelnut, and sesame.
The Bocuse d’Or is a gastronomy contest, created by chefs, universally recognizing the best in the industry. The competition is held every two years in Lyon, France.
Oliméga, the Quebec-based family-owned company behind the Signé Cameline brand, collaborates with various Canadian producers to produce and refine the camelina seeds.
Sourced from Canadian fields, the cameline plant produces small yellow flowers. Its seeds are harvested and cold pressed mechanically to create cameline oil, which is filtered before bottling to avoid deposits. No other treatment is applied to the non-GMO and QCF quality oil.
Chantal Van Winden, CEO of Oliméga, tells Food in Canada, “We have spent eight years selecting different varieties and developing the taste of the oil. To produce the roasted camelina oil, we roast the camelina seeds before pressing. This roasting process develops amazing notes of roasted peanuts in the oil.”
Originating in Northern Europe and Central Asia, camelina was used in the Bronze Age to make oil and to feed animals. A native plant in many parts of the world, including Canada, camelina is now part of the agricultural production in many of these regions, particularly Quebec. The plant is said to be a good source of vitamin E, omega 3 fatty acid, antioxidants like tocopherols and alpha-tocopherols. It contains more antioxidants than other oils, including grapeseed, sunflower and linseed, According to the Oliméga website. Camelina oil can remain stable under heat up to 475 F. It has a shelf life of over 24 months at room temperature.
“We heard about camelina in 2006 from a German scientist. It is an ancient plant with exceptional properties that has been forgotten. I was impressed that an oil containing 35 per cent omega-3 was totally unknown. This was so mysterious,” recounted Van Winden.
Van Winden’s husband Raymond Durivage is a farmer and “introduced camelina into his agricultural production cycle for biodiversity.”
Oliméga tried different varieties of camelina before selecting a few of them for their yields, taste, and properties.
“The taste varies depending on the varieties such as with wine. In 2015, after eight years of research and development, we were ready to let the world know about camelina, this exceptional plant and its exceptional products,” explained Van Winden.
Signé Camelina Roasted Oil can now be found across the world, including throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. The roasted oil is most popular in Asian dishes such as stir-fry, rice dishes, and vegetables. Other products by Oliméga include cameline seeds, honey, chocolate and beauty products, all of which are manufactured in Quebec.
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