Different Olive Oils for Different Functions

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  • By Dale Kemner
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Different Olive Oils for Different Functions

The soul of Mediterranean cuisine, olive oil has different uses for different quality oils. It's important to know which is which.

New Olive Oils Have Arrived

Those who live in olive oil country know that there are oils for cooking, different oils for salads, and the finest oils for finishing fish, meats, grilled bread, fresh mozzarella and roasted vegetables.  Great Mediterranean chefs know that the oils of France's Les Baux near Aix-en-Provence are quite different from the oils of Tuscany, which in turn are different than the oils of Liguria and Greece.


When tasting olive oils, you quickly notice that some are more buttery than others, some have a neutral flavor, some have a pronounced leafy taste, and many have a peppery note that you feel in your throat, sometimes quite shockingly so. 


We know there are many talented home cooks among our clientele, and among those are curious, outward-looking folks who would love these oils once they tried them. 


Just remember to store olive oil the way you store wine, in a dark cellar, preferably 55 degrees.


Punta Crena Olive Oil, Liguria, Italy

Along the Via Aurelia, an old Roman road high on a bluff along Italy's Ligurian coast, clings a grove of 1,000 year old olive trees tended with dedication by the Ruffino family since 1500. From the famed Taggiasca variety, their olive oil is light-bodied but extremely flavorful—magical with vegetables and fish. This wine estate has produced a pretty archetypical Ligurian oil, with an aroma of cut grass, a buttery flavor and texture with a surprising cayenne bite in the throat. 

$23.99 per 500ml bottle


Domaine de Vieux Telegraphe Huile d'Olive de France, Southern Rhone Valley, France

The great wine estate owned by the Brunier family also produces an impressive super-premium oil.  With an olive-y nose, the soft, fine oil finishes with some peppery heat.

$44.99 per 500ml bottle

Antico Castello Olio di Oliva, Italy

It would be a mistake to characterize this oil as merely a cooking oil, because it has so much going on.  Bottled unfliltered, this oil will become a house favorite for just about every use you put to it.

$22.99 per liter bottle


2017 Corsini Olio Extra Vergine , Italy

I wrote about this fabulous oil last month.  A favorite of Chez Panisse ("Alice bathes in it," says the importer) which is good for dressing salads and finishing meats and fish.

$29.99 per bottle


McEvoy Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Petaluma, California

Using Tuscan olive varieties (most California oil uses Spanish varieties), McEvoy has positioned itself as a leader in California artisan olive oil production.  Rich tasting, lovely texture and impressive aftertaste.

$21.99 per 375 ml bottle


Bonus Arrivals:  Rich Olives & A Great Mustard

Punta Crena Uliveto a Merla Olive De Nocciolate in Olio Extravergine di Oliva

Liguria, Italy

If you take a variety of the same kind of small olives used to make your oil, pitted them, then packed them in your high-quality Ligurian oil, you have something really rich to dress up a your Bruschetta, salad, grilled or baked fish or on their own.

$15.99 per 280 gram bottle


Moutarde Forte au Vinaigre, Saint Hilaire d'Ozilhan, Rhone Valley

Kermit Lynch discovered a mustard from a producer midway between Orange and Nimes in the southwestern part of France's Rhone Valley.  Unlike the more famous mustards of Burgundy's Dijon region, this wonderful, pale yellow mustard has a powerful kick more like that of wasabi.  Samantha sampled it, then couldn't stop thinking about it.  She ordered a case for herself.  Get a baguette, some salami and cheese, slather on this amazing mustard and--voila!-- you have lunch.

$7.99 per 210 gram bottle


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