At Olive Oil Co in Barrie and Newmarket, we will often ask you, “What types of food do you like to eat?” Yes, we’re curious—hey, we like to eat too—but by better understanding your palate preferences, we can help you choose the best extra-virgin olive oil pairings for the food you eat.

Each one of our featured EVOOs is excellent on its own—we can guarantee that. But when you tell us how you’re using your EVOO, we can narrow down your selection. That’s also why we might even recommend having more than one EVOO on hand to cover all of your culinary needs—if you’re using EVOO for salads, frying and baking, you might want to experiment with different varieties and tastes.

Think of EVOOs as finishing salts or spices for your meals. Salt helps blend the flavours in your dish and enhances whatever you’re eating. Spices, of course, add that extra ‘oomph’ that makes your meal delicious. A quality EVOO, with its notes of pepper, spices, fruits or greens, does the same.

Having one quality EVOO in your kitchen is just fine—you’ll be able to enjoy it with most of your meals. But if you’d like a more fruity or mild flavour for your salads, we encourage you to try one of our more mild EVOOs. It’s almost March currently, and we have some lovely fresh Arbequina or Picual from Spain that would fit the bill.

If you’re going to be using your EVOO for frying, you may prefer a more robust flavour. Currently, we have a hearty Coratina that would work beautifully with meat or roasted root vegetables. And yes, you can fry with a high-quality EVOO, and ours are perfect for that.

If you’re cooking fish, ask us to recommend a delicate EVOO variety, and then taste-test it for yourself before taking it home.

Another way to think about EVOO is to compare it to wine; if you’re enjoying a wine-pairing experience, you’re going to start with a white wine, more delicate than spicy, with perhaps floral notes. That’s the wine you’re going to pair with your fish or salad course. Just as scallops and garlic love a Chardonnay, they also love a delicate, less bitter EVOO.

For a pasta course, perhaps a Chianti or lighter red would be offered. In an EVOO, that might be a fruity, green variety with little bitterness and a bit of pepper spice.

As you move into your main course, you’re likely to pair a steak or roast beef with a hearty Cabernet Sauvignon or a Merlot. Think of roasted vegetables or a lovely bison steak with a hearty, high-polyphenol variety such as the Coratina on our shelves right now.

At Olive Oil Co in Barrie and Newmarket, we take time to learn the nuances and characteristics of each of the EVOOs on our shelves. We can ‘walk’ you through the tasting process so that you can find the EVOO—or EVOOs—that are perfect for your culinary desires. Ask us for a taste of any of our oils and balsamics—we’re as excited as you are about eating simple, healthy and delicious food!

Article by Catherine Kenwell

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