Why one good Extra Virgin Olive Oil in your kitchen Is not enough?

By Lisa Radinovsky

First, let us assume we need extra virgin olive oil. We need it for the unique accents it adds to our food and for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and cardioprotective effects. But why do we need different kinds of it in our kitchens, dining rooms, and restaurants? We need them for variety, optimal food pairings, and distinct purposes.

In an ideal situation, everyone should be able to season the food on their plate with the oil that best fits their taste. - Giovanni Bianchi, Argali

“There are lots of different taste buds out there,” as Maria Guadagno Katsetos of Loutraki Oil Company emphasizes, “so we need lots of good, different delicious olive oils to fit those needs. One olive oil is never enough.”

As William Cowper wrote in his poem, The Task, “Variety’s the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavour.” You may not think of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) as a spice, and some of it is more fruity than spicy, but a good EVOO will certainly add its own unique accent to just about every dish you eat. (Yes, that includes desserts.)

Ioanna Damianaki of Nature Blessed points out that “it is good for everyone to know the olive oils of all the different areas in Greece,” for example. Once we start sampling them, we will discover a wonderful array of flavours even in this small country, thanks to the numerous microclimates, olive varieties, harvest times, and cultivation and production methods used. (It is much more than a question of the region.)

Greek extra virgin olive oils can range from quite mild and fruity to considerably spicier. Imagine, then, how much more variety we can enjoy when we add olive oils from the rest of the world!

Different olive oils pair well with different foods

We can think of olive oils as we think of wines, except that most of us do not drink our olive oil in a glass. Giovanni Bianchi of Argali advises that olive oils, like wines, should be chosen to produce the ideal “combination with the food you want to consume.”

As Giorgos Karitsiotis of Kasell reminds us, “each type of olive oil has a different tasting profile which can be combined with different types of food.” Panos Kloutsiniotis of Ladolea adds that the intensity of olive oils also varies, so our choice of olive oil should depend on “the final taste that we want to give the dish.”

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