Do you use Extra Virgin Olive Oil in your kitchen? I personally use it all the time and it is always part of my pantry. I cook and bake with it and make dressings for salads all the time. As a matter of fact, I never have store bought salad dressing in the house. Like, never! I do not like the taste of it and I think a simple salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice is enough to make a salad delicious. I also prefer European Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Why? Because Europeans have a long tradition since Antiquity in growing olive trees and producing olive oil. There are few countries in Europe that make great extra virgin olive oil, and each one of them brings to the table a different flavor.
Some days ago I received a free kit from Moms Meet(momsmeet.com). The kit came with an invitation to write a review for one of my favorite pantry ingredients, extra virgin olive oil. This is the first time I do a product review on my blog. Because I am also a Moms Meet blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my honest opinion on my website. The opinions posted are my own.
The campaign that I was invited to be a part of comes from Flavor Your Life . It is funded by The European Union and a consortium of European olive oil growers. Together with the Moms Meet, the program is trying to educate consumers on the benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Europe, including: Taste, Health, Functionality, Heritage, and Quality. Did you know, for example, that in United States, most olive oil consumers purchase and stock only one bottle of EVOO in their pantry at a time, compared to Europeans who have multiple different types of EVOO’s for different occasions?
The information received on this kit was outstanding and worth reading. I do have experience cooking with different extra virgin olive oils from Europe, like Greece, Spain or Italy. However, it was nice to learn more about each of them, so I can share the knowledge with you.
- Spanish extra virgin olive oil, for example, is typically golden yellow with a fruity, nutty flavor and a little bit more bitter than the Greek, Italian or French ones. I use this oil, for example, when I am cooking Spanish dishes, for more authenticity. (like this Sizzling Chili Shrimp recipe or this Easy Delicious Chickpeas With Spanish Chorizo) It is a very rubust oil and it is great for hearty foods.
- French olive oil is typically pale in color and has a mild flavor. It is great for salad dressings and mild foods, like vegetables, fish, eggs or potatoes.(see here a recipe for a lovely Chickpeas Cucumber and Tomato Salad) It is also great for baking due to its mild flavor.
- Italian olive oil is often dark green and has a herbal aroma and a grassy flavor (the classic recipe for Chicken Marbella is a great one for this type of oil)
- Greek olive oil has a strong flavor and aroma and tends to be green. (I suggest you this Quick Romanian Summer Salad)
A great way of using olive oil in your diet, is to make sandwiches! For the ones who visited Spain or Italy, I am sure they know what I am talking about. Bocadillos, anyone? Beautiful slices of bread, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil instead of butter, and pieces of cold cuts and cheese in between. A super easy, fast meal and D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S!
As you can see, the sky is the limit in terms of recipes and flavors that European Extra Virgin Olive Oil brings to the table. So, if you don’t use olive oil in your kitchen yet, I think it is time to do so!
Few things on the benefits and uses of the Extra virgin olive oil:
- EVOO is great for your health, contains natural oxidants, vitamin E and good fat (monosaturated) which lowers bad cholesterol (LDL), and increases good cholesterol (HDL).
- Store the olive oil in a dark cool pantry away from the heat and away from the stove.
- As it has a high smoking point of 400F extra virgin olive oil is great for cooking, baking and even frying.
- My favorite stores to buy Extra Virgin Olive Oil are usually Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, World Market and European specialty stores, just to name a few. I am always hunting for good, quality olive oil and I really pay attention to the labels.
- Make sure you look for the European Union PDO certification (Protected Designation of Origin-also known as DOP in Italian). PDO certified products must be produced, processed and prepared in a specific region using traditional methods and have the sensorial qualities attributed to that region.
- Look also for the country of origin on the label.
As I always say, a good cook is creative and free in the kitchen. Simple foods are delicious and good ingredients can transform a boring recipe into an exquisite one. Cook, bake, saute and drizzle a little bit of extra virgin olive oil on your food. You will not regret it. This is what I think. What are your thoughts on the matter?