How to choose and buy a good olive oil and how to use it for cooking?
The universe of olive oil is broad and very similar to that of wine, it has from soft to intense flavors, own Denominations of Origin, it can be paired and tasted, too. To take a simple look at this world, Spain has 300 catalogued varieties of olive.
If you want to buy a good oil for your home or for professional cooking, the Commercial Director of Gastroleum, José Antonio Parra, points out that it has to be extra virgin because it is as if the olive juice was extracted from the tree. «If it does not say “extra virgin” it has defects, it has been refined. Then you may like one flavor more than another, or one geographical area than another, or it may be covered by PDO seal or not, or have the ecological product seal».
Each variety of oil has its own defined sensorial characteristics and adapts very well, some better than others, for each culinary use, according to Parra.
Hojiblanca. This variety of oil has fruity and light flavors, it would go very well for the preparation of desserts and sweets.
Cornicabra and picuales. They are stronger and with a marked personality. They are ideal for cooking techniques or raw materials that need a more powerful oil. You can pair better it with meats.
Los arbequinos. Also called “Blancal” or “Arbequín”, they are originally from the Arbeca population in Lleida, that’s why it’s called Arbequina. It is recommended for fish or salads, they are more delicate, fluid and fragrant. They are for someone who likes oil but does not want to notice it too much, it just gives a brushstroke.
Also, says Parra, that in Spain what they like the most is the stronger flavor, with more consistency, however, out of the country, they sell more balanced oils, coupage, which are the mixture of several oils, more aligned with the taste preferences of the international consumer.