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Extra virgin olive oil: what is it and why is it so important for Italian cuisine?

When it comes to Italian cuisine, it results safe worldwide to say that we are in front of a real masterpiece, capable of transcending borders and captivate palates all over the world, thanks to the artful blend of flavors, traditions, and cultural richness that characterizes it. Italian cuisine is much appreciated for its diverse regional nuances, with its gastronomy that stands as a symbol of culinary excellence, woven into the fabric of the country’s identity. The love that the whole world has for Italian cuisine extends far beyond its tasteful pleasures, becoming an actual historical and traditional affair, based on the passion for life’s simple, yet profound flavors.

At the heart of Italian cuisine, we can, in fact, find a legacy of culinary craftmanship, passed down through entire generations. Its success is deeply connected to a reverence for tradition, since in Italy recipes are cherished for centuries and cooking becomes a family’s ritual. The unmistakable aromas of basil, oregano, and garlic, or the notes of Italian cheeses such as Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano define Italian dishes, even though every region has its own story to tell when it comes to food and ingredients.

Certainly, anyway, in such an heterogeneous and fascinating cultural and gastronomical mosaic, one of the most cherished and essential ingredients, which can be found in every regional food culture in Italy, is extra virgin olive oil. Much more than a simple ingredient or a cooking medium, extra virgin olive oil finds itself to be a symbol of Italy’s landscapes and one of the staples of this country’s rich agricultural heritage. Extra virgin olive oil, better known as liquid gold in Italy, has a very characteristic texture and flavor, being the lifeblood of Italian cuisine. When it comes to buy extra virgin olive oil, so, it’s very important to select the source. Among the most reliable, the e-commerce Olico.it can be highlighted for the quality and the variety of the products offered for sale.

Extra virgin olive oil is, in fact, so appreciated in Italy due to its purity and distinct taste, being pressed from the finest olives. Being a cornerstone of Italian culinary philosophy, extra virgin olive oil embodies a commitment to quality, simplicity, and dedication to authenticity. In this article, we are going to explore the difference between extra virgin and classic olive oil and the real importance of this ingredient in Italian cuisine, reflected via its use in a various number of dishes.

What is the difference between extra virgin and normal olive oil?

There are several differences between extra virgin olive oil and the normal, or refined, one. Especially, these are focused on their production processes, quality, taste, and chemical composition. Starting from the extra virgin olive oil, it is extracted solely by mechanical means, without using any chemical treatment. Olives are, generally, pressed or centrifuged to extract the oil afterwards.

Extra virgin olive oil is the highest grade and considered the purest form of this ingredient, due to its superior taste, aroma, and health benefits. Extra virgin olive oil goes under stringent controls regarding quality, taste, and acidity. It all comes into a better flavor, given by the solely natural flavors and aromas of the olives used for its production and by the very low acidity that also makes it highly beneficial for health.

Regular olive oil is, instead, known also as pure or light olive oil and involves a refining process for its making, where it’s often a blend of virgin and refined olive oils, involving the use of heat or chemicals to neutralize flavors and reduce acidity. Olive oil belongs to a lower quality grade when compared to extra virgin olive oil and doesn’t’ retain the natural characteristics of the olives due to its refining process. Obviously, all of this brings to a higher acidity than extra virgin olive oil. In conclusion, we can clearly agree that extra virgin olive oil is the purest and better nutrient kind of oil, and these features are what make this ingredient stand out in Italian cuisine.

The main uses of extra virgin olive oil in Italian cuisine

Extra virgin olive oil is, as we previously said, a cornerstone of Italian cuisine. This ingredient can be found in several meals and preparations. Extra virgin olive oil is, in fact used for dressing and finishing dishes such as salads or typical bruschetta. It is also used for soups and grilled vegetables. Furthermore, extra virgin olive oil can be found in sauces and marinades such as pesto or marinara, or for making a typical and simple aglio, olio e pepperoncino pasta, with garlic, oil, and red pepper. Sometimes, extra virgin olive oil is used also for frying food and for several bread recipes such as ciabatta and schiacciata.




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