What's So Great About Olive Wood and Almond Wood Charcoal?

by Ann Taylor Pittman

Fire & Flavor’s new Olive Wood Lump Charcoal and Almond Wood Lump Charcoal have a great story to tell. 

First, there’s the flavor you get when you cook over them. As Fire & Flavor CEO and Founder Davis Knox explains, “Once somebody actually cooks over this wood, they’ll start to realize that there’s a real flavor difference. You can taste that flavor coming through when you grill over this charcoal.” Rich Mediterranean accents from olive wood are enough to elevate herby grilled lamb chops or chicken-vegetable kebabs to new heights. Restrained, slightly sweet nuances from almond wood enhance grilled fruit, vegetables, or mild-flavored fish with gentle flavor that doesn’t overpower the food.

These products also make use of wood that would otherwise go to waste. Both Olive Wood Lump Charcoal and Almond Wood Lump Charcoal are made from post-harvest pruning. What exactly does that mean, though, and why is it a good thing?

Well, take a look at olive production. Olives are the most widely cultivated fruit crop in the world, and “75 percent of that harvest ends up as waste,” explains Knox. “For every liter of olive oil that’s produced, five kilograms of olive waste is the result. There’s all this bio mass waste out there.”

Now, though, these trimmings and discards that are left after the olives (or almonds) are harvested—in countries such as Portugal, Tunisia, and Cypress—are gathered, and from this “waste” comes charcoal that carries with it the flavor characteristics of its namesake fruit. It’s a real trash-to-treasure story.

All around the world, folks have been cooking over these woods for centuries, and now “we’re bringing these culinary traditions to America,” says Knox. “There’s a story here around healthy cooking,” he says, “and Mediterranean stories and Greek recipes and the like.” Indeed, cooking over these fragrant woods is now easier than ever, thanks to these new charcoal products and their wide availability. Cooking healthy Mediterranean-inspired food for your family over sustainably sourced wood that comes from the Mediterranean region—now that’s a great story to tell.

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