Fall In Love With An Extra Virgin Olive Oil... April 20 2012

I would designate olive oil as one of the best all-around cooking staples to have on hand. It’s delicious, fruity flavour is the perfect complement to a variety of dishes, and its health benefits (full of the good kind of fat, monounsaturated, which is linked to heart health; packed with antioxidants that are thought to prevent cancer) are pretty awesome too.

Most people know that extra-virgin is the highest possible quality of olive oil. But does everyone know what extra-virgin actually means? Although there is an International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) based in Spain, the world’s largest producer of olive oil, not all countries necessarily adhere to its standards. According to the IOOC, in order to be considered “virgin”, oils must be pressed from the olive using strictly mechanical means, without any chemical processing. “Extra-virgin” refers to olive oils that contain the lowest (0.8%, to be exact) level of acidity. For more info,check out their website: http://www.internationaloliveoil.org/estaticos/view/83-designations-and-definitions-of-olive-oils
Generally, most olive-oil producing countries (including Canada, according to the website of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency) follow the guidelines of the IOOC, with one notable exception being the United States, who use their own criteria.

 

La Bottega carries lots of delicious, high-quality olive oils, but one of their very best is called Campo di Torri (Normally $23.99; on sale right now for $19.99). Hailing from a farm in Arno Valley (close to Florence), Italy, this labour of love is comprised of hand-picked Tuscan olives that are cold-pressed within hours of their harvest. You can literally taste the love in every bite. Smooth, rich, and fragrant, my favourite way to enjoy this olive oil is straight-up. Dip some fresh bread in it or drizzle over raw veggies, as in my Caprese salad recipe below. This is a super simple recipe that can only be messed up if you don’t use fresh ingredients. Don’t even think about adding dried herbs.

Caprese Salad

Ingredients
-3 large or 4 medium tomatoes (the freshest you can find), sliced into rounds
-150 g of burrata cheese, sliced (you can also use mozzarella di bufala, but if you can, you should really get burrata.  You can get it at La Bottega if you’re lucky enough to catch one before they’re all sold!).
-Handful of fresh basil leaves, either whole or torn into large pieces
-2-3 tbsp of the finest quality extra-virgin olive oil you can find (recommended: Campo di Torri)
-Salt and pepper, to taste
-1 tbsp balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze

Directions
-Arrange tomatoes on a large plate.
-Top each slice of tomato with a slice of cheese and piece of basil.
-Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
-Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar evenly over the salad.

Enjoy!!



Lindsay (@Modern_Hostess) is a self-taught chef who has a passion for hosting. In her culinary experiments and musings, she shows that beautiful, flavourful homemade dishes are within everyone’s reach... as long as quality ingredients are used to prepare it. Join her as she peruses the fabulous inventory of La Bottega, and provides tasty ideas for enjoying their finest products. 

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