Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Treat it like wine

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Types of Olives

There are hundreds of different olive varieties, and ripeness at harvest plays a major factor in any oil’s flavor. That said, here’s a brief overview of some common olives used for oil:
◦Arbequina
Native to Spain’s Catalonia but also popular in California, this versatile olive is fruity, round, and easygoing. It can showcase a distinct almond note.
◦Frantoio
Often the lead olive in blends labeled Tuscan or Italian, it’s bold and assertive, with grassy and peppery notes. In Tuscany, it’s picked early to accentuate these flavors.
◦Koroneiki
Perhaps the signature olive of Greece but growing in popularity worldwide, this delivers pungent oils that feature tropical fruit and herbs.
◦Picual
Maligned for its use in flawed, bulk oils, it can shine when handled properly. Intense notes of green tomato and tomato leaf impart a unique flavor.
◦Mission
Though originally from Spain, sometimes considered California’s “native” variety due to a long history in the state. Grassy and peppery, its early harvest oils can present green tomato and pine, while late harvest versions can be round and buttery.

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