Gourmet olive oil is a jewel in the food pyramid like a cherished heirloom decoration for your family Christmas tree.

Combined with fresh quality ingredients and a smart use of spices, using gourmet olive oils to freshen up recipes just before serving can make the difference between serving good meals and hosting unforgettable feasts.

olive branch with greek olivesConsider the care with which generations of family-owned groves and other and small olive growers take to grow the trees and produce their crops. The olives are often hand picked at just the right stage of ripeness and pressed within hours of picking. Many high quality 100% natural cold pressed olive oils are produced just that way.

Many olive trees are grown without using insecticides or chemicals and they still produce delicious, healthy olives. Some growers have been producing truly organic olives and olive oils without even calling it that for centuries. You can see the history of olive oil parallels the traditions of growing grapes and making wine. Centuries of tradition and experience in growing and producing both products has resulted in the gourmet olive oils and fine wines that we enjoy today.

Olive trees are grown in mild Mediterranean like climates so we find them and olive oil producers in a somewhat limited area of the world. Both everyday as well as fine gourmet olive oils are made in several countries. For example, you might consider trying a good Italian olive oil, a nice Spanish olive oil, a Greek olive oil, or a California olive oil. Many of those are produced are Napa Valley olive oils in the neighborhood of all the world famous Napa Valley wineries.
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High quality olive oils not only add interesting tastes to your dishes but also add to healthy eating in general. The benefits of using olive oil with their monounsaturated fatty acids in place of unhealthy fats in your cooking is gaining more acknowledgment every day.

here are studies that show adding two tablespoons of olive oil to a daily diet can reduce the risk of coronary artery disease and other health conditions.

Olive oil is a “good” fat as compared to many other cooking ingredient alternatives. Replacing butter with olive oil for your bread as an appetizer is a good place to start. You’ll probably already have noticed this at many better restaurants. Great taste with the added medical health benefits of olive oil is what our message is all about.

olive oil cruetYou can also use a combination of oils in your cooking, less expensive oils during cooking and more expensive gourmet olive oils for finishing the dish. The flavor of a fine olive oil adds another level of complexity to a dish. Just like fine wines, the final taste of each olive oils includes hints of other flavors and smells based on the type of olives, their growing conditions and environment, and their processing methods. Processing might include the blending of several oils, the infusion of flavorful herbs, or the addition of other ingredients.

Olive oils have also been found to be effective alternatives to harsh chemical products for several health and beauty uses. This includes olive oil hair treatment and conditioner, olive oil soaps, and as a therapeutic treatment procedure for several other conditions.

So you can see from our exploration into the uses of olive oil above that olive oils are not only a common ingredient used in Italian or Greek salad dressings but also an important element in gourmet cooking, a secret to healthy eating, and surprisingly are even alternative natural body care products.

A cupboard filled with gourmet olive oils and variety of spices is the secret weapon for gourmet cooks. And consider gourmet olive oil gifts as a very unique and thoughtful present for any occasion.

Mediterranean Diet
Olive oil is used as the primary cooking oil in Italy and Greece, and is a source of monounsaturated fat, which is much easier for the body to break down.

History of Olive and Olive Oil in the Iberian Peninsula
The olive and its derivatives are not part of the food culture of Spain before the year 600 BC although in the Iberian Peninsula there was a kind of wild olive.

Olive How it Benefits Your Health
Think about the health benefits of Olive Oil and why that oil or fat does not make you fat, carbs do.

Heart-Healthy Recipes Featuring Olive Oil
Found predominantly in olives and olive oil, monounsaturated fat is a type of fat that is considered heart-healthy – unlike saturated and trans fats.

Mediterranean Diet Good for Your Heart
Using olive oil in cooking helps to protect against heart disease, since it lowers blood pressure as well as blood sugar levels. Olive oil may also provide some protection against cancers.