It enhances our daily sweet and savory recipes with its subtle flavors and sunny aromas. As you will no doubt have understood, olive oil is in the spotlight today. If this Mediterranean elixir suffers from its image as a consumer product, it has everything of the greatest, provided it is chosen with care...
So which olive oil to choose? Or rather, how to choose the right olive oil? Choosing the right fruit and making sure that certain quality criteria are met, here are a few tips on how to get a good olive oil and embark on a journey in the shade of the olive trees, lulled by the song of the cicadas.
Choosing your olive oil: Green fruity, ripe fruity or black fruity?
Depending on the level of maturity at which the olives used to produce the oil are harvested, the oil will have a more or less pronounced flavor. This is called the "fruitiness" of olive oil. Like wine, olive oil made from riper fruit will be sweeter in the mouth, and fuller-bodied if the fruit is harvested earlier.
It is then up to each person to determine the intensity they are looking for in their olive oil, a choice that can vary according to their tastes and recipes. There are 3 different fruity flavors as the olive matures:
- The green fruity characterizes oils obtained from olives picked at the beginning of the season, as early as October. Green fruity oils are appreciated for their fresh and vegetal notes, as well as for their possible touch of bitterness, called "ardence". These are the olive oils with the highest antioxidant potential, thanks to their high polyphenol content. Green fruity olive oil is a perfect accompaniment to salads and dishes based on sunny vegetables during the summer, which it will awaken with its strong character.
- The ripe fruity is that of oils from olives picked at maturity, from November to December approximately. It is a particularly subtle and nuanced fruity, which owes its delicacy to a pressure that occurs quickly after picking. Thus, the ripe olives do not have time to ferment outside the tree. Ripe fruity olive oil reveals all its nutty aromas when served with a hot dish, but it will delight the most discerning palate with all types of dishes.
- The black fruity is obtained when the olives, picked at maturity, are stored for a few days before being pressed. The result is an olive oil with the flavors of yesteryear, a rustic and authentic product, which often has woody notes of mushroom, or even chocolate or vanilla for those who know how to listen to their taste buds... Olive oil with black fruitiness will bring roundness and character to your fish, spicy dishes and winter recipes.
What makes a good olive oil
If the choice of fruitiness is a matter of individual preference, there are nevertheless certain objective criteria to know if an olive oil is of good quality.
First of all, give preference to extra virgin olive oils, made from a first cold pressing of the olives, less than 24 hours after their harvest. Their aromas are more pronounced and their health benefits are increased.
Also make sure that the olive oils resulting from assemblies contain only varieties of olives of quality, or turn to the oils resulting from only one variety of olives, or "monovarietales".
To be sure of the quality of the olives and their production, choose olive oils stamped with a controlled designation of origin, such as an AOC olive oil from Provence.
Finally, you should know that olives harvested by hand will offer tastier oils, as the fruit is only slightly altered before pressing.
Recipe idea: Risotto bianco with olive oil flavored with black truffle
Take a trip to Lombardy with this recipe for risotto bianco, an emblematic dish of Northern Italy. Rediscover the authentic flavors of this great classic with a deep, woody touch: olive oil flavored with black truffle.
Ingredients for two people:
- 150 g risotto rice, preferably Arborio or Carnaroli
- 1 poultry stock cube or 1 liter of homemade stock
- 15 mL of 1% black truffle-flavored olive oil culinary specialty
- Half a large yellow onion
- 10 cl of white wine (Chardonnay)
- 15 grams of butter
- 100 grams of Pecorino Romano D.O.P. (Grate half of it and cut the rest into shavings)
- In a saucepan, heat 1 liter of water and dilute the chicken broth.
- Mince the half onion and sauté in a hot pan with a drizzle of classic extra virgin olive oil - or with a drizzle of truffle oil for a more pronounced taste - until translucent, but not colored.
- In the pan, pour in the rice and stir for about a minute until the grains become slightly pearly.
- Pour in the white wine to deglaze, then let reduce.
- Pour a generous ladleful of hot broth over the rice/onion mixture and cook over low heat, stirring regularly, before repeating just before the broth is fully absorbed by the rice. Repeat for 15 to 18 minutes.
- Cooking is complete when the rice is melting on the outside and slightly firm on the inside.
- While the rice is cooking, grate half of the Pecorino cheese, then cut the rest into shavings. Set aside.
- Remove pan from heat and gently stir in butter and grated Pecorino.
- Arrange in soup plates, sprinkle with Pecorino shavings, drizzle with black truffle olive oil, season with salt and pepper and enjoy immediately!
If your taste buds are aroused by this recipe, don't wait any longer to travel to the Mediterranean by discovering our oils and vinegars with delicate and authentic flavors, made from top-of-the-line ingredients.