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Choosing a good olive oil: the tips from our experts
An essential cooking ingredient, olive oil is welcome in all our daily recipes.
Therefore, it is vital that you choose a good one so that you can fully appreciate its flavours and antioxidant properties. Extra-virgin, mono-varietal with green fruits or ripe… our experts help you find the right olive oil for you.
Find the ‘fruitiness’ to suit you
Just like grapes for wine production, olives become riper and therefore sweeter over time. The duration of their ripening will in turn influence their 'sharpness', those subtle botanical notes specific to young olives that are particularly sought after by enthusiasts. To produce more peppery or sweeter oils, producers stagger the olive harvest over several months, from September to January.
They then develop three types of aromas known as ‘fruity’ aromas. These are:
• “Green fruity” : from olives harvested early on in the season. They reveal herbaceous flavours on the palate that are reminiscent of artichoke. Green fruity oils are used to season a salad or steamed fish. Among our selection there is the organic vintage and vintage 01 from Kalios, olive oils from Le Amantine or Villa Zottopera oil. The latter is produced using Tonda Iblea olives, a variety that you find in Sicily that offers a particularly fruity and intense oil.
• “Ripe fruity”: a characteristic of olives picked when fully ripe. Sweeter on the palate, they have a delicious almond taste, particularly present in vintages 02 and 03 from Kalios. These oils are ideal for flavouring your grilled meats or fresh pasta.
• “Black fruity” or “old-fashioned”: obtained from ripe olives then placed to ferment. They give oils with real length on the palate, with aromas of mushroom, truffle and vanilla. For example, we can combine them with baked potatoes or sauce dishes.
Four criteria to consider when choosing your olive oil
Although “fruitiness” is a matter of taste, it is important to consider the production stages of your oil, since they will determine its gustatory and nutritional qualities.
Among the many existing criteria, we prioritise:
1) “Extra-virgin” oils: this means that it is obtained after first mechanically extraction the olives. “Cold pressed in the 24 hours before the harvest, this achieves more intense green aromas and a particularly low acidity rate (lower than 0.8 %). The oil contains more antioxidants with beneficial health properties,” explains E. Delatolas, oil expert for Kalios, offering nothing but extra-virgin olive oils in its range.
2) Oils made from hand-picked olives. The fruit is ideally preserved until its pressing stage.
3) The olive oils that do not result from a blend, such as mono-varietal or AOP olive oils: these do not contain a mixture of olive oils with different origins.
4) Finally, we must pay attention to their origins, the terroir giving olives their most subtle nuances. With its rich pumice soil and proximity to the sea, the Italian company Le Amantine brings together the optimal conditions for growing 2,000 olive trees. A real gauge of quality, its three exceptional oils are produced entirely on the estate, from harvest to bottling, through to the delicate extraction phase.
L’huile d’olive au quotidien : du sucré au salé
Olive oil for everyday use: from sweet to savoury Olive oil is the ideal partner for enhancing your savoury and sweet recipes. “Olive oil with a green fruitiness contrasts perfectly with the bitterness of chocolate,“ states E. Delatolas, of Kalios. An ideal recipe to make your own, for example by replacing the butter of your chocolate fondant with an herbaceous oil. On the savoury side, oil flavours all your meat, fish and salad/raw vegetable dishes. With spring approaching, our experts inspire you with a light, fish-based recipe: Scallop carpaccio with citrus fruits, black radish and vanilla-infused olive oil.
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 50 cl good quality olive oil
- 2 vanilla pods
- 1 black radish
- 20 scallops
- 1 orange
- 1/2 grapefruit
- freshly milled salt and pepper
1. Make the vanilla-infused oil: Split the vanilla pods in half lengthwise and remove their seeds with the blade of a knife. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil on a low heat (under 45°) with the seeds and the vanilla pods. Remove the saucepan, then leave to cool completely to room temperature. Pour the oil and the vanilla pods in a previously scalded and dried bottle.
2. Prepare the scallops: Cut the scallops and the black radish into very fine slices. Remove the orange and grapefruit segments and cut them in half.
3. Arrange the dish: place the scallop and black radish slices on a plate. Spread out the citrus pieces. Pour on the vanilla olive oil, season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.