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A brief introduction on choosing the right oil

Which Olive Oil Is Best For You?

 "There's no accounting for taste!"

First and foremost: the choice of oil is personal, you have have to be happy with it, period. That said, it is difficult to know what we want when we have no good knowledge of the matter, like asking: "what's your favorite wine?" to a beer-lover!Therefore, I would like to include a few, very broad, guidelines, to help everybody, including myself, understanding how olive oils are distinguished and, therefore, chosen.Trade publication usually separate 3 broad categories of olive oils: the "intense", the "mild" and the "light" ones, all these adjectives referred to the overall quality of the oil, which is called "fruitiness".

What is this "fruitiness" of an olive oil is easy to say: the complete sensation of taste and smell when enjoyed. Therefore, an E.V.O.O. (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) to be classified as "intense" has to have a persistent fragrance and a peculiar taste, a "mild" has to feel mild in your nose and mouth and so goes for the light one.If you have never taste olive oil alone this is the right moment to start, do it correctly and you will never ever regret it: use a small glass or a deep spoon, hold it in your hand for two minutes to warm it up to your body temperature, or about, and sip a little, trying to keep the oil in the first part of your mouth, near your front teeth. It will take a few seconds for the taste to "spread" in specific area of your mouth, and it will do so by itself, you have to do absolutely nothing. When you start feeling this taste, work the oil with your tongue a bit and swallow without hesitation when you are done. It can be piquant, be careful! The spiciness is one of the richness of a true E.V.O.O., it is full part of a tasting experience to assess the spiciness of an extra virgin olive oil.

What else did we feel in our nose and in our mouth? A scent of tomato? Grass? And in your mouth, does it feel "nutty"? These and others are among the most common "character" of a good extra-virgin, together with its "heat", or spiciness. Other common ones are artichokes, chlorophyl and mint, especially for the intense E.V.O.O. Some specific cultivars are famous for their peculiar taste, like the Taggiasca, a very small olive from the Liguria Riviera with an incredibly sweet taste, as it is its oil, of which we have a fine sample in our "Antichi Sapori" olive oil. Therefore, all in all, the choice of oil is conditioned by the plate you match it with; soups with strong character in my opinion strongly benefit from a final splash of an intense olive oil. Bruschetta are also perfect to taste the great presence of these unique flavor-bombs. Stewed fishes and meats have to be matched with (a possibly, cooked with!) E.V.O.Os of middle body, and you will have to "experiment" and enjoy the results to find your perfect combination!

The light oils are great on soft cheese like ricotta or mozzarella, but also a good match for grilled fishes like seabass and seabrin, as well as grilled courgette, aubergine or capsicum. That said, we return to step one: there is no accounting for taste!  I like a strong flavor of oil in my salads, though the general recommendation is to have a light oil, "possibly from Tuscany", but as a matter of fact, about food I don't like to follow the books, I like to follow my tongue!

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