Produced in Spain, Italy, Greece, France and most other Mediterranean countries, the flavour of olive oil varies enormously depending on the soil, climate and olive type. Single estate olive oils are like fine wines and are the most expensive and valued.
Olive oil can be widely used in cooking, for frying, in salad dressings, in marinades and even in baking. Use light olive oil for mayonnaise, serve good quality extra virgin olive oil to dip bread into with a little balsamic vinegar, or drizzle over grilled meats and pasta recipes.
Extra virgin olive oil is the most expensive, made from the first cold pressing of the oil, it has the lowest acidity and the most flavour of all olive oils.
Virgin olive oil is extracted from the first cold pressing of the olives. It is natural and pure and has no other oils added to it.
Pure Olive Oil is taken from the second pressing of the olives. Heat is used to help extract the oil, which gives fattier, more acid oil which is blended with first pressing oil to make branded oils.
Light olive oil is produced from the last pressing, so has a very mild flavour and is ideal for salad dressing, and mayonnaise.
Olive oil has a low flash point and will burn if heated too high, so is not suitable for deep frying.