When we think about olive oil, the first country that comes to our mind often is Greece. Also, Italy is another great producer of this oil. You’ll be surprised by the fact that the biggest olive oil producer is a Spanish industry and the second one in Italy. Spain, Italy, and of course, Greece, are widely recognized producers with high-quality products that are popular around the world. The top consumers are Greeks, and then Spain and Italy. Olives are usually found in the Mediterranean countries and that’s why they are the most competitive producers. There are some species that are cultivated in South America, Africa, and Australia, but everyone knows that the best olive oil comes from Europe and it’s made of the species known as Olea europaea.
Most of these oils have a bold taste and thick consistency. They are made of pressed fruits and the product is known as virgin olive oil, which is the best for salads and as cold addition to some dishes. The oil is also produced by the leftovers, but the product is suitable for cooking with high temperatures and doesn’t have the same taste. Most of these oils have golden yellow or deep green color. Olives take a big part of Mediterranean cuisine. In Italy, this precious liquid fat was produced even in the Roman age, and many Roman poets are describing the process in their poems.
Today, it’s also used as a cosmetics ingredient, for body and hair products. The most popular extra virgin olive oils come from Spain, Italy, Greece, but also from Morocco and Turkey. All of these oils have some specific differences, as color, thickness, or taste, that depend on the tree’s species.
When it comes to Italian types, the most popular are:
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1. Riviera Ligure
As the name is showing us, it’s popular in Liguria and it’s recognized as one of the best Italian olive oils. It comes from the olives known as Taggiasca. The taste is a little sweet, with many delicate layers of aromas that are developing as we consume it. Locals are using it to prepare the most popular pasta sauce from Italy, pesto Genovese.
The name also shows the origin of this product. Tuscany is one of the widely recognized producers of high-quality Italian wine, but they also have delicious oils, including Leccino and Frantoio. The first one is light and fruity, and the second one has a few taste and aroma layers, such as herbs and artichoke.
As you can predict, it comes from the area around the beautiful Lake Garda. There are three types of olive oil under this label, that come from Lombardy, Veneto, and Trentino. The olives are cultivated on the hills around the Lake, and their common characteristics are the sweet bitterness of the product, together with the aromas of almond and grass.
4. Colline Pontine
In Lazio and the area around it, the most popular type of olives is Itrana. The trees are facing the sea, and they are under the sun rays all the time. That’s why the oil that’s produced in this region has an herbal aroma and a taste that reminds of sunny tomatoes. It’s great as a salad dressing or to eat it with a loaf of nice crispy bread and spices.
A few varieties of olive oil are produced in Umbria and the area around it. The most popular types are San Felice and Moraiolo. Both oils have a golden color and a delicate mix of herbal, bitter, and grass notes.
Italians have a highly developed culture of producing and using this type of liquid fat. They add it to their delicious salads, or just put a few drops to the pizza, so they can get a better and recognizable taste. One of the most popular pasta dishes is Aglio e Olio, which is made of minced garlic, olive oil, pepper flakes, and parmesan. You can use any type of these oils we mentioned in this article.
Also, there are many other varieties with different origins, that are used in Italian cuisine, including Irpinia, Terra di Bari, Lametia, Monti Ibeli, and Sardegna. They have delicate taste and color, making the product valuable and highly demanded on the market.
The difference between oils from Spain, Italy, and Greece
As we said at the beginning of the article, the most popular varieties are Spanish, Italian, and Greek olive oils. The everyday user may not be able to recognize the differences, because they all look and taste pretty similar. But, those who respect this product can sure recognize the origin, comparing the flavor and color.
For example, Spanish types often have an intense yellow color and nutty taste. Italian is usually dark green and herbal, and the Greek one is something between yellow and green color, but it has a strong taste of olives.
How to taste olive oil?
Oil tasting is complicated, and it can be compared to wine tasting, with the one key difference that people don’t drink it. Different oils have different taste, flavor, and aroma. They are served with a piece of bread. You need to first pour a few tablespoons to the bowl, sniff it, wait for your senses to adapt to the aroma, and then try it using a piece of bread. Don’t use a fork when tasting oils. Some people decide to slurp it, but the bread creates a base for taste development. You need to wait a few moments, eat a slice of apple or a piece of bread, and then proceed to the next bowl until you recognize your favorite variety.
When it comes to olive oil, we can’t say which one is the best, because that depends on your personal preferences. That’s why you need to explore and try them until you find your favorite one. These oils are not only used for a better taste of your salads and pasta dishes. Almost all of them have a lot of benefits for your health, and also can be good for your skin or hair.
At Italian food online Store, you can find the best quality olive oil which will help you to make healthy food and yummy recipes at home. Such services even do home delivery!