Olive Oils are not all the same. Quite the contrary. Creating a bottle Olive Oil is like creating a bottle of wine.
Each grove produces different varieties of olives whose flavor depends on where they are grown, the type of soil and when they are harvested. Handpicking the olives insures that they will not fall to the ground and bruise . The sooner the olives go from tree to press, the more flavor of the olive is retained.
Unless you have tasted the difference, you might not understand why there is a big fuss over the different oils, but it is huge. Perhaps you would like to check out The Olive Oil Source, a website dedicated to everything olive oil. There are tips on where to go for olive oil tastings or how to make your own olive oil. A definite must read for the olive oil connoisseur in you.
We recently had a The Daily Basics taste test courtesy of Olio2go.com and were shocked, surprised and delighted with the different flavors of the oils.
Sangaspano Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Vintage 2010
This oil is made on a 200 year old farm in Messina on the northern coast of Sicily. The more astute review from Olio2go.com is:
we found it to be medium fruity, with notes of almond, and a bit of a peppery finish
The DB taste testers said:
add a small amount of course sea salt, rosemary and a some chopped roasted garlic – add a hunk of warm Italian bread, a salad and call it dinner.
Vittorio Cassini Classico Vintage 2010
A distinctly different taste than the Sangaspano. This oil was packed full of flavor, but as for dipping, we had other plans in mind.
The aroma is both nutty and floral, with elements of hay. The oil is golden green with notes of fresh pine nuts, ripe olives and green tea, with a clean sweet buttery finish.
The DB taste testers said:
This is perfect as a light dressing on a mixed greens salad with a touch of salt and a good grated cheese. Nothing else. No vinegar required. It also made a rich, full bodied pesto sauce so basil is the go-to herb for this oil.
The DB taste testers comments:
1- Not all olive oils are alike – they are like wines, each with a different flavor. As a matter of fact, many grape vineyards also have olive trees.
2 – There are cooking olive oils and finishing olive oils. They both serve a purpose but one must not be mistaken for the other.
Olive Oil Facts & Dipping Sauce Suggestions
What is the difference in Grades?
- U.S. Extra Virgin Olive Oil for oil with excellent flavor and odor and free fatty acid content of 0.8g per 100g;
- U.S. Virgin Olive Oil for oil reasonably good flavor and odor and free fatty acid content of not more than 2g per 100g;
- U.S. Virgin Olive Oil Not Fit For Human Consumption Without Further Processing is a virgin oil of poor flavor and odor;
- U.S. Olive Oil is an oil mix of both virgin and refined oils;
- U.S. Refined Olive Oil is an oil made from refined oils with some restrictions on the processing;
- The ideal temperature for storing olive oil is 57°F or 14 degrees C, although a normal room temperature of 70ºF works very well if the olive oil is stored in a dark area where the temperature remains fairly constant.
- Refrigeration does not harm most grades of olive oil, but it is not recommended for expensive extra virgin varieties because condensation may develop in the bottle, affecting the flavor. When chilled, or in cold weather, the oil may turn cloudy and even solidify. Such oil will clear again as it warms, so cloudiness should not be taken as an indication that the oil is past its prime.
- Tinted glass, porcelain, or stainless steel are the best materials for containers; oil should never be stored in plastic or in reactive metals. Stay away from plastic containers as the oil can absorb PVCs.
Dipping Oil Recipes
Combine your favorite combination of the following herbs and spices for a great dipping oil. Be sure to use fresh Italian bread, preferably a Tuscan ciabatta.
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. dried rosemary
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp. parsley flakes
- 1 sm clove finely chopped garlic
- 1 tsp. Ravida Sea Salt
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (try Gourmet Sardinia Fruttato Intenso or Zisola)
Olive Oils are the ‘good’ kind of fat oils and are much healthier than butters. The key to everything in fine eating is to enjoy and moderation!
More on Traditional Oil and Vinegars
So many thanks to Olio2go.com for supplying the samples of the olive oils and for the information and education ! Please go over to their site to learn all about the differences, nuances and pleasures of olive oils!
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