We’re fortunate to be living in an era where food choices are abundant. After all, there was a time when grocery shopping meant going to the local general store to buy grains in bulk and not much else. On the other hand, having a slew of options can increase time spent in the grocery store deciding what to buy and it can be downright overwhelming. Shopping for cooking oil is no different. Once you come to the realization that olive oil is the superior and healthier choice, you’re presented with several different brands, types and regional varieties that you either gloss over and select what’s cheapest or, stick to what you know.
As the leading purveyor of olive oil, Colavita is here to help you navigate the different types of olive oil, their purposes and which may be suitable for your everyday usage.Extra Virgin, Virgin, Regular, and Blends … What’s the Difference?
If you’ve ever found yourself questioning the difference between extra virgin olive oil and regular olive oil (also known as pure), you’re not alone. Put simply, extra virgin olive oil is made from 100 percent cold-pressed olives. It’s higher quality and sometimes has a more robust flavor and vibrant color. Then there’s virgin oil, which comes from the second pressing and is of slightly lower quality and usually has a lower price point. Lastly is regular olive oil, which is olive oil that doesn’t meet the rigorous standards to be considered extra virgin or virgin and is then refined to get rid of any impurities. It is often lighter and more neutral in flavor.
Occasionally you’ll see a 50/50 or 75/25 blended olive oil which may be mostly canola oil with a bit of olive oil, like our Colavita Canola 75/25 Virgin Blended Oil. Olive oil blends are popular in the restaurant industry since it is more cost-effective, but still delivers a subtle hint of flavor.Finding The Right Oil for You
Like most things in the kitchen, determining your everyday olive oil is based on preference. However, how do you know what your preference is if you don’t know what you like in the first place? The workaround is to summarize your cooking habits and the types of food you cook most often and let these behaviors inform your purchasing decisions.
The following takes popular cooking methods and pairs each with olive oil options that you may find helpful in your selection process. This is simply a guide to help you spend less time staring at the shelves the next time you go to buy olive oil.
If you find yourself shallow or deep frying often, then you certainly want to use olive oil in place of other cooking oils that are laden with saturated and trans fats. However, since you’re using a lot more oil, value may also be an important factor. While extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point of up to 410° which makes it suitable for frying, you may want to try a pure olive oil like Colavita Olive Oil since it’s more cost-effective, but still has some health benefits as well.
Whether you’re roasting chicken, fish or vegetables, the oil that you choose is essential. The reason why recipes often specify extra virgin olive oil for roasting is because choosing a flavorless oil like canola or vegetable would be doing your meal a huge disservice. Not only does extra virgin olive oil enhance flavor, but it also helps deliver that crispy exterior that you’re looking for.
If you’re roasting chicken or vegetables, going for milder oil like our Premium Selection or 100% Californian Extra Virgin Olive Oil is recommended if you don’t want too much flavor from the oil. However, if you love the flavor of olive oil and want to taste the notes with each bite, we recommend going with something more robust like Colavita Premium Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
For seafood, we have more regional olive oils such as the 100% Greek, Portuguese and Mediterranean Extra Virgin Olive Oils that are fresh and delicate that highlight the best flavors of the regions and pair well with fresh fish.
We know drizzling isn’t a cooking method, but adding a finishing touch of olive oil to fresh-out-the-oven pizza, salad greens or even a hearty bowl of soup really brings the meal together so quality of olive oil is important. When finishing a dish with olive oil, you can have a bit more fun with your selection. If you’re traditional and want to use your everyday extra virgin olive oil, that’s perfectly okay. If you’ve been eyeing that bottle of Roasted Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, but not sure you want to commit to using it as a base, drizzle it over the final product to add a burst of flavor. The only advice here is to stay away from any oil that isn’t extra virgin. Since the oil is added after cooking, the flavor will be more noticeable and drizzling neutral oil will only make your food greasy without any flavor enhancement.