Veteran Restaurateur Expands Footprint with Launch of Edesia Oil Company 

Edesia Oil BelEvo
Edesia Oil BelEvo

Many consider extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), as the be-all and end-all for the success of a professional chef’s menu. If used efficiently, a good quality EVOO can in fact, enhance flavors and adding depth to a dish that wouldn’t exist otherwise.

In addition, with the rise of the Mediterranean diet, too, many modern consumers are more inclined to choose it due to its health benefits.

However, the reality is that if used excessively, EVOO can overpower a dish. It has a low smoke point, which means all of its health benefits disappear once it burns.

At an extremely high price point — and in a market surrounded by scammers trying to pass fake products off as EVOO — it doesn’t always make sense for a restaurant to invest in such an expensive and limited product, especially if it’s not authentic.

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Manhattan restaurateur Joe Calcagno just knew there had to be a better way. He was committed to finding consistency with his menus but utilizing EVOO simply didn’t make sense or cents.

“You want to serve the best possible product, but you don’t have the price point on that entrée or pizza to use 100% EVOO,” said Joe Calcagno, owner of the New Jersey-based Edesia Oil Company. “Your options are very limited and you’re vulnerable to scams. We wanted to do something that was transparent.” 

With the help of his sons, Calcagno decided to take the taste and benefits of EVOO, and the efficiency of vegetable oil, and combine them to create a solution: BelEvo.

“We created a blend that checked all of the boxes. When you taste it, you believe it is 100% EVOO. We mix them to get to a point where I can give people a product that functions in the kitchen, makes money, and that’s healthy,” Calcagno said. It’s hard to balance all those.

Calcagno, who owns the Manhattan pizza eatery Capizzi, has been in the restaurant business since he was a child. With a long line of restaurateurs in his family, and a strong connection to his Italian heritage, Calcagno opened his first restaurant when he was 19 and has owned seven restaurants throughout his career.

This gave him a great advantage when he decided to begin working with olive oil back in 2012.

“That advantage was knowing what the pizzeria guy is looking for at the end,” he said. With knowledge about what those in the industry were lacking in terms of oil, Calcagno began his research in Italy, learning how oil is made and becoming a certified olive oil sommelier.

He began experimenting out of his restaurant, testing different blends of EVOO and vegetable oil imported from Italy. While experimenting, Calcagno realized that there was no “correct” percentage of the two for his product. “Olive oil is a natural product,” he said. “You can’t just use ‘x’ percent of that oil and ‘x’ percent of that oil. That might not do it.”

With that knowledge, Calcagno and his sons began blending BelEvo by hand — each oil individually, each oil taste-tested and with ensured consistency and quality. Sometimes it contains 50% EVOO, and other times it might be more, but Calcagno views this as a chef’s approach versus a manufacturer’s approach.

They began selling BelEvo to their family in food service, and eventually it caught on. “There was a need for it,” he said. “And nobody could believe it was a blend. Everybody thought it was an EVOO.”

BelEvo features a transparent flavor profile, but it still tastes just as good as EVOO, making it incredibly versatile. Restaurants can serve it with bread for dipping or use it as a base of a salad dressing.

Additionally, the presence of vegetable oil gives it a higher smoke point than raw EVOO, making it safer and more efficient for both frying and pan frying. The possibilities of BelEvo are endless, Calcagno continued. “If you had to use just one oil, it would be BelEvo.”

Edesia Oil offers both BelEvo and 100% EVOO in a wide range of quantities, from trailer loads to 3-liter tins to 500 milliliter glass bottles.

Restaurants who use BelEvo are also able to keep their private labels if they choose, and Edesia offers custom EVOO blends with different oils, such as soybean, sunflower, or canola.

But the innovation doesn’t end there: the company recently introduced a chef-inspired squeeze bottle, another invention designed with the chef in mind.

Oil sold in a squeeze bottle saves time that would have been spent filling up old squeeze bottles with a larger can, and it also allows the end user to use every last drop.

“There’s no waste at the bottom of an oil can, and the end user can take the bottle it came in and use it again,” said Calcagno.

It would seem as though the possibilities are endless at Edesia Oil, with a product line that offers everything from affordability to sustainability and versatility.

At the core of each of them, though, is quality. “Our oils are a healthier choice,” said Calcagno. “That’s just the nature of our game.”

For more information about BelEvo or other products from Edesia Oil Company, visit their website at Edesia Oil Company.

  • Red Gold Sacramento
  • Cuisine Solutions
  • Atosa USA
  • Imperial Dade
  • Inline Plastics
  • DAVO by Avalara
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • RATIONAL USA
  • Day & Nite
  • McKee Foods
  • RAK Porcelain
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • Easy Ice

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