The Olive Oil Buyer’s Guide*
Olive oil is most popular in Mediterranean cooking – Spanish, Greek and Italian dishes are amongst my favourites (as well as being my favourite countries to visit!) – and everything from paella to pasta can be cooking using this ingredient for frying, grilling and sauteing. The definition of olive oil is a liquid fat that is obtained from olives, whose trees are native to the Mediterranean and have grown there since the 8th millennium BC.
A Mediterranean diet is often said to be very healthy and that is, in part, due to small quantities of the olive oil consumed with meals in the area. It is said to increase cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of heart disease. So something delicious that is actually good for you? That’s almost unheard of! Of course, you don’t have to be visiting Spain, Greece or Italy to get some olive oil – you can buy it in the supermarket in a few different varieties, each of which can be used for different types of cooking and eating.
I’m not the cook in my house (I am a lucky girl!) but my boyfriend uses this wonder ingredient pretty much every time he cooks dinner.
One of my favourite ways to eat olive oil is by dipping crusty bread into it, along with a healthy helping of balsamic vinegar. This is lovely for nibbles when friends come over or as a starter followed by some rare fillet steaks or pan-fried seabass. I’m drooling while writing this! I love eating this way, as it gives you that holiday feeling, even when you’ve got to go to work the next day.
Have a look at the Buyer’s Guide to Olive Oil from Jamie’s Italian below and you’ll soon become an expert in this popular ingredient. My favourite part of this infographic is the tasting bit – of course!