Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Treat it like wine

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EVOO has little in common other cooking oils such as­ canola and others, ­even so-­called pure or light olive oils. Those are refined, which means they’re put through a chemical process to strip foul flavors and render them inert. EVOO, on the other hand, is basically freshly-­squeezed olive juice that, in the hands of the right producer, showcases the unique elements of both variety and terror.

As with wine, the art of pairing oil with food is crucial to maximum enjoyment. (We’re talking raw oil here, the only way to use the best stuff. Heat is the enemy.) Though variety matters, particularly for connoisseurs, flavor intensity ­ a result of ripeness at harvest ­ is a better place to start. Strongly ­flavored oils pair best with rich foods, for example, while delicate oils show their best stuff alongside lighter fare. Sound familiar?
Olive trees among the vines in Crete
Olive trees among the vines in Crete

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