French Olive Oils: Tips for How to Choose the Best

Olive oil is fabulous, and comes in a huge variety of flavors and prices. That seems to surprise people. To know the basics is important. What olives you use and the method of pressing them affects flavor. The way you store and use oils also affects flavor. Below are some tips for Olive Oil use that we teach at Bliss Travels when we do tastings in France.

Our Trip to the Provence Market for Olives

1. Olive oil should be cold pressed. Why? Heat destroys the oil. The best quality oils are cold pressed, and will say so on the label. This brings up another point.

2. Light and heat destroy Olive oil. So, store your oils in a cool place, in dark bottles or out of the sunlight.

3. Olive oil has a low “smoking” point. This means it burns easily. So, if you cook with it, watch the temperature, and don’t use an expensive oil for cooking.

4. What are you using the oil for? A drizzle on veggies or fish? Pick a flavorful one –fruity or spicy depending upon the dish you are serving. Last year, we gave our clients this amazing meal in Provence, and the olive oil on this dish was from local trees, to complement the local produce!

Fruity, EVOO Olive oil, from local trees!

A salad dressing? Pick one based on the other ingredients in the dressing. Using oil  in your pan so food doesn’t stick? Pick the least expensive, lightest flavored oil.

In the below picnic we brought for clients on the TGV train to Provence, we have 3 oils being use. The first for the vinaigrette (notice the dark bottle), is mild, but fruity as it is mixed with vinegar, mustard, salt…and for the artichoke. The second is in the chicken presse, with zucchini –a strong spicy oil, to hold it’s own with the ingredients. Last, there is a mild oil used in cooking the vegetable tians.

 The best way to learn about the oils and to choose the ones you most like is to taste them plain or with a bit of bread. Visit an Olive Oil mill. (We do all the time on our trips) Plan different tastings –and then make spiced oils for breads. The more you try them, the more you’ll figure out which oils work best for which of your dishes.
Have questions? Want to know more? Please contact us!
Look up our recipes or watch our cooking show, on our website and enjoy the food photos on our facebook (Bliss Travels) page too!

2 comments on “French Olive Oils: Tips for How to Choose the Best

  1. I had no idea there was so much involved in oil. I will pay more attention on my next trip with you!

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