I don't recall ever eating at a restaurant where I was presented with a bowl of olive oil in which to dip my bread. Apparently, this is done in plenty of restaurants on the continent, but not - as far as I can recall - at any where I have eaten. On the other hand, I have often eaten in restaurants where an unmarked bottle of olive oil was placed on the table for sprinkling over pizza.
It was planned by the European Commission that this practice should be banned from next year in order to protect consumers from being served any old inferior oil. It seems the proposal was to be adopted simply because there were too few countries that opposed it. Many - including, I am sorry to report, the United Kingdom - simply abstained. Under the proposals, olive oil would have to be served in labelled bottles (presumably still sealed) so that people would know they were not being fobbed off with rubbish oil.
Fortunately, after strong public reaction, the proposal has been withdrawn. But it now takes its place in the Daft Legislation Hall of Fame, along with other European directives such as:
- Bananas must not bend abnormally.
- Bananas should be at least 5.5in long and 1.05in round.
- Peaches below 2.2in diameter must not be sold between July and October.
- Carrots must be 0.75in wide, apart from baby carrots.
I think all of these directives have been rescinded as well. At least, I hope they have. But that is a flavour of what it is like to live in a country which is a member of the European Union and ruled by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels.
And another thing.
It is still possible to have one's milk delivered to the door here in England. It comes in glass bottles with, as far as I have been able to ascertain, no label of any sort. I have no problem with that personally, but I do find it passing strange that this practice is permitted. Given the nanny state we now live in, that is.
A roadside scene in France.