Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Treat it like wine

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Next, try each oil with a variety of foods. An easy choice is bread, especially several of varying flavor strengths, such as a white baguette, a rustic farmhouse and a rich, whole wheat loaf. Soak each piece, and notice how the bread’s flavor intensity affects the oil. (Drizzling over a variety of simply cooked meats or vegetables will also work well.)

Though many differences between wine and oil are obvious, hopefully this exercise will illustrate how we can evaluate and enjoy them in similar ways. I’m not suggesting stocking your cellar with oil —­fresher is always better here— but that redirecting even a morsel of the obsession normally reserved for vinous pursuits will reap rich benefits.

So find an oil vendor you trust. (Start here.) Experiment with different olives, blends and regions. Host a blind tasting. Finish your plates with a golden flourish. And always, always dip your bread.

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