You know you’re in your thirties when you have essentially built yourself an olive oil capsule wardrobe. Or when your day gets a little bit brighter when you know you’ll be making something for lunch or dinner that utilizes a fancy olive oil! (Throw this into the same category as being excited about air fryers, pans, vacuums, and so on. 🤣)
I admit my deep appreciation for olive oil stems from a very stereotypical place–yes, spending a semester abroad in Florence, Italy. I bet you didn’t see that coming. (😜)
Cooking vs. finishing olive oils:
It is in Italy I learned that a good cook always has a couple bottles of extra virgin olive oil on hand–one everyday bottle for cooking (an inexpensive, mild-tasting version you can pick up at the grocery store) and a bottle for finishing (high quality and flavorful), used for drizzling over a finished dish for added flavor and depth–on salads, drizzled on top of a bowl of soup, to dip bread into, the final touch to a simple piece of chicken, and so on. This is often the key to taking your dish from *good* to *amazing*!
I find myself especially enamored with “finishing” olive oils as the weather warms up and we start gravitating toward more simply prepared meat and veggies on the grill! So that’s what we’re talking about here today–they bring me lots of joy and I hope they do the same for you!
My three favorite fancy olive oils:
The best classic Italian olive oil:
This is the oil I reach for most often, because it goes with everything! My friend Luca runs an imports company (he mostly sells to restaurants, but now has some of his products on Amazon so us commoners can take advantage 😉) and this stuff is the REAL deal, made in Sicily. It comes in a two-pack, so you’ll always have some on hand (or give the other bottle as an awesome gift!) The bottles are huge and last a long time, so it’s a great value!
It’s flavorful, not too bitter, with those peppery notes that you only get from the best imported olive oil! I swear it makes everything taste like it came from an Italian grandma’s kitchen.
After seeing Hitha and Grace rave about Brightland Olive Oil on Instagram, I had been dying to try some! Hitha so kindly introduced me to their founder, Aishwarya Iyer (thanks Hitha!) I fell in love with the brand story of how she got started (she has a background in the beauty industry, which explains why the branding is SO stunning). After learning that most of the olive oil in the US is rancid and low quality, she set out to create a new kind of olive oil brand, made from a family farm in California!
I love their “lucid” aka lemon-flavored oil–if you love anything bright and citrusy, this will be right up your alley! It’s especially delightful used in salad dressings and drizzled over veggies!
Fresh basil olive oil:
Also from Brightland, if you are a basil-lover (like myself), this one, called “Arise” is for you! The herbaceous basil notes are so fresh and flavorful, but not too overpowering! This is my favorite to use with anything tomato-based–like a Caprese or bruschetta, but also in salad dressings, drizzling over meat dishes, crostini, and more! Truly tastes like summer in a bottle!