Healthy, How To — January 11, 2014 at 11:08 am

Cooking Quick Tip – The Complete Olive Oil Guide


Olive Oil, a staple of Italian cooking.
Olive Oil, a staple of Italian cooking.

Olive Oil, it’s a total necessity for every Italian Kitchen (or every kitchen for that matter).  But one problem exists: there are so many different types.  It can be very confusing for someone who doesn’t know the differences.  Well that’s where The Triplo G Italian Kitchen comes in handy.  We are here to help you understand all the different types of Olive Oils that exist and what their recommended usages are.  Remember not only does Olive Oil taste good, but it’s a really healthy oil.  You should be using more of this in your cooking since it’s good for you!

I primarily break down Olive Oils into four main categories.  In order to have a properly stocked kitchen, you must have all four of these types.  Each will have a different use and purpose.  If you follow this guide, it will actually save you money.  Many of these tips are straight from a cooking class that I took while in France.  The famous Chef was a recipient of the prized Michelin Star, so I think this advice carries some pretty good weight.

  • Bulk Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Gourmet Extra Virgin Olive Oil (High Quality)
  • Light Olive Oil (Tasting)
  • Infused Olive Oil

Bulk Extra Virgin Olive Oil – This will be the oil you will that you use the most.  Hence, the bulk purchase.  You will use this oil for salad dressings, sautéing, marinating, and everything else that requires large quantities of oil.  This oil doesn’t have to be of the highest quality or the most expensive.  I usually buy mine at the Italian Groceria.  They have a big barrel and you can refill 1 gallon jug for a reasonable price.  You could also buy at Sam’s Club or order through Amazon.  Buying this in bulk, will save you a lot of money.

Gourmet Extra Virgin Olive Oil – This is your showcase oil.  There are two things to remember about this oil.  First, don’t ever cook with this.  Second, don’t forget rule #1.    Don’t be afraid to spend a little money on this oil.  I usually like to buy these when I travel.  My last one, I purchased while doing some Olive Oil tasting in Southern France.  The purpose of this oil is to drizzle over cooked meats, pastas, or vegetables just prior to serving.  For a complete guide on this technique, you may want to read The Olive Oil Drizzle.  You want this Olive Oil to be full flavored and dark in color.

Light Olive Oil – This will be the cheapest of all your oils.  This is what you give the guests you don’t like (just kidding).  Seriously, sometimes you just don’t want an oil with the strong olive taste.  I primarily use mine in my Misto Oil Sprayer.  Another thing that I use this for is when making dipping oils for bread.  I use the light olive oil mixed with dipping spices along with a little of balsamic vinegar.

Infused Olive Oil – This type of Olive Oil is something that would be special to you.  There are so many different types of these oils.  You can find Olive Oils infused with all sorts of flavors; garlic, rosemary, thyme, truffle, oregano, etc.  The list goes on and on.  What’s your favorite flavor?  That’s the one you should buy.  Personally, I have garlic as well as truffle infused oils.  Use these as a drizzle or when you want to add a little extra flavor to something.

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  1. Since I don’t plan on going to Southern France any time soon, what would you recommend for a good gourmet EVO I could get locally (Kiski Valley) there are so many choices it’s overwhelming like choosing a wine.

    • Go to Labriola’s Italian Market in Aspinwall. They have an excellent selection of gourmet oils there. One oil in particular, but the name escapes me, is really good. It is in a glass bottle that is covered in a tin foil. Next time I’m there I will check on the name. It’s the only one they have that is wrapped in tin, and it is excellent.

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