Olive oil has a significant role in the Mediterranean diet and is used worldwide for dressing salads, dipping bread, and seasoning food. Apart from its golden silky texture, olive oil also has a wide range of health benefits. Rich in antioxidants, a diet of fresh vegetables, oily fish, and extra virgin olive oil is said to be ideal for the body. But, with so many different types of olive oil to choose from, we’ve put together a complete buyer’s guide to make it easier than ever to indulge in a high-quality bottle of the good stuff.
Different Types Of Olive Oil
When it comes to buying a bottle of Italian olive oil, it’s important to be aware of the different types of oils available. Some oils are best drizzled over fresh tomatoes and enjoyed while raw, whereas others are solely reserved for cooking and are not as concentrated or fragrant. Knowing the difference is key, as highly concentrated extra virgin olive oil is best if you want a high-quality flavoursome oil for cooking and seasoning food.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Cold Pressed
As the best type of olive oil you can buy, extra virgin olive oil is unrefined and rich in antioxidants. Made using cold-pressed olives, this pure form is delicious for salad dressings, and to mix with yogurt or hummus.
Extra virgin olive oil is also ideal for everyday cooking and can be a great base for making a casserole or pasta sauce, where you’ll likely be slow-cooking onions and garlic. If you’re hoping to indulge in a starter of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and crusty bread, extra virgin olive oil is best.
When choosing a bottle of extra virgin olive oil, make sure to pay close attention to the label. If it has been produced in the European Union it will likely be cheaper as the olives are picked in an intensive way. The maturation stage in which the olives are harvested can also reflect the quality and price you’ll pay for a bottle. The greener the olives, the fresher and fragrant the oil will be.
You should also look for the organic logo before buying a bottle of olive oil. Organic certification is the seal of approval that the olives used to make the extra virgin olive oil, have not been in contact with pesticides.
Olive Oil For Cooking Only
There are also lower qualities of olive oil in the market that are best reserved for cooking. From virgin to refined olive oil, they are usually much lower in quality and price, and won’t provide the same health benefits as extra virgin olive oil.
Virgin Olive Oils
A step down from extra virgin olive oil, this type of oil has not been made from cold-pressed olives alone and instead typically features a blend of both cold-pressed olives and processed oils. It will usually be slightly lighter in colour and will often have a less fragrant aroma and flavour.
While it might be more affordable than buying a bottle of pure extra virgin olive oil, you’ll be compromising on the quality and flavour. So, it’s much better to invest in a high-quality bottle over a cheaper alternative.
Refined Olive Oil
Far cheaper than virgin and extra virgin olive oil, you should preferably use this type of Italian olive oil for cooking and not to add flavour to a dish or use it to create a salad dressing. It can help you to fry, sear and sauté food, but shouldn’t be used to dip bread.
Pure Olive Oil
Pure olive oil is a blend of extra virgin and refined olive oil to give customers a more versatile product. Use this form of olive oil to cook or for cosmetic purposes. You can use this natural oil to nourish and strengthen your hair and hydrate the skin. Although pure olive oil can often have a pretty strong smell, so avoid using it when garnishing and seasoning food.
Fancy investing in a high-quality bottle of Italian olive oil for your kitchen? Channel the sun-kissed Mediterranean coast and head to Casinetto to explore our online collection of Italian olive oils, delicious seasonal fruit, and vegetables.