Gourmet Oil – It’s worth 100x more per ounce than the hydrocarbon laced liquid gold coming out of Saudi Arabia. The tasty kind we’re talking about costs more per tablespoon but is worth every penny. It sure can energize and excite our taste buds or even help maintain the health of our body’s circulatory system.
Olive oil, the natural juice of the olive fruits, has been part of human culture for thousands of years. Olive trees have been grown by man for centuries to produce olives for eating and olive oil for eating, cooking, and other purposes. Fossil evidence dating back several thousand years BC shows that the olive tree contributed to the lives of humans primarily in the Mediterranean region of Northern Africa and Southern Europe. Since then olives have also been cultivated in in other mild-climate regions of the world including the United States and Australia.
Olive oil is used alone or as the largest component of most of the best gourmet oils. Some blended gourmet oil products include a portion of other oils such as canola oil. Olive oil has a lower flash point and can burn easier than some other oils. So when cooking some dishes on very high heat a mixture of olive oil and another high heat oil may perform better than pure olive oil by itself. However, the best oils for high heat cooking are not especially flavorful and in most cases unappealing by themselves, unlike good olive oils which have very unique and interesting flavors.
So when it comes to recipes where the oil will be unheated, pure olive oil is often the best option. That is where to use a pure gourmet olive oil. It will taste the best in salad dressings, as a dipping oil with bread, or to drizzle onto pasta and other dishes. Olive oil finishes off or "brightens" a recipe by adding another level of complexity to the flavor of many foods.
You can also choose from a number of herbs and other ingredients to add to the olive oil to impart some additional flavor. But once you try and experience a range of pure gourmet oils, you will probably often decide to enjoy the subtle unique flavors of the oil itself. Olive oils, like wines, can contain subtle hints of other flavors depending on the variety of the fruit (the olive), the growing environment, the growing season, and the processing methods.
Olive oil recipes may reference types or varieties of oils. You will see terms mentioned such as extra virgin olive oil, cold pressed olive oil, flavored oil, infused olive oil, Spanish olive oil, Italian olive oil, and many others. These terms refer to the processing method, type of olive used, or region where the olives were grown and/or the olive oil was produced.
The more you read about it the more you will come to understand that olive oils like many everyday things in life are a very interesting (and in this case also tasty) subject matter. GourmetOliveOil.org is glad and honored to be here to help guide you in that quest.
Rev up your taste buds next time you cook with some real "liquid gold", try a new gourmet oil soon.
The Perfect Pantry: Extra virgin olive oil
Tasting is the only way. Some restaurants and gourmet markets host olive oil tastings, so watch for those. Or, why not host your own tasting at home?
Olive Oil and a Recipe
In Bomarzo, a town of 1700 people in Northern Lazio, the first thing people tell me about olive oil is that it’s what makes Italian cooking so good.
Spaghetti with Shrimp and Broccoli
My gourmet cooking instructor said to use more olive oil, his answer to everything. And I bought an English-language Italian cookbook that remains on my bookshelf to this day.
Gourmet Olive Oils
Cook with Italian olive oil made from olives on a tree growing thousands of miles away on a picturesque hillside in Italy. The olive oil is delicious.
Gourmet Oil and Vinegar
Fresh, Tasty Gourmet Meal On Shoestring – In a small mixing bowl toss the mushrooms with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and season well with salt and pepper.