As a child I'd never even HEARD of olive oil, let alone tasted it - then I went away to Greece in my early teens and I remember being given a giant basket of warm bread and bowls of olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dip it in, and I thought it was the weirdest thing EVER! I wasn't keen on the first taste, but after a few dips I started to appreciate the flavour...the sweetness, fruitiness, the sharpness of the vinegar and then the warmth of the oil. From that point on it became my new foodie obsession.
All these years on and I'd be surprised if there's not a single house in the country that hasn't housed a bottle of olive oil at some point - for me, it's always in my basic kitchen larder. I use it to cook, roast, make dressings, make pesto ... it so so versatile, and very flavoursome.
But I've never really learnt that much about the different types of oil, where they come from, how they're made, and what sorts of flavours they produce...that's where this post steps in...
Good old Mr Jamie Oliver (he's one of my faves as I've said on many occasions) certainly knows his stuff when it comes to Mediterranean cooking and ingredients and his brilliant team over at Jamie's Italian have put together this really useful infographic called The Buyer’s Guide To Olive Oil, which covers all the basics when it comes to learning a bit more about olive oil and teaching you how to choose the right oil for you.
What's your favourite way to use olive oil?
I like to make a salad of ripe juicy heritage tomatoes, freshly picked basil from the garden, rip up a big, plump ball of mozzarella and then drizzle it liberally with my favourite Italian extra virgin olive oil.