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Italian Olive Oil
Olive oil is one of the most sought after exports Italy has to offer. Thanks to Nini & Deluca, you can choose from an outstanding selection of the best Italian olive oils available and have them delivered right to your door!
We carry only the most authentic and highest quality Italian olive oil products. To deliver the best olive oils Italy has to offer, we source our products from traditional manufacturers with deep historical roots in the country’s various olive oil producing regions.
At your family’s next feast, let Italian olive oils take center stage and bring your salad dressings, pasta dishes, meats, fish and other delights to a whole new level of taste.
Extra Virgin Olive Oils
Anyone familiar with olive oil has seen terms like “extra virgin” and “cold pressed” used liberally on product labelling, but what do these things actually mean?
These names refer to the quality of the oil, as well as the amount or type of processing it has undergone.
The term “extra virgin” is reserved for the highest grade of olive. Extra virgin olive oil can only be extracted through cold mechanical methods, without using solvents or other refining methods. Although less than 10% of global olive oil production meets this criteria, roughly two-thirds of Italian olive oils fall into this premier category.
The term “cold pressed” means that the oil was never heated beyond a certain temperature (in general, about 27°C or 80°F) at any stage in extraction or processing so it retains more nutrients than it would if processed by other methods.
The Regional Influence on the Olive Oils of Italy
There are many factors that influence the taste of various olive oils. The location of the olive groves where the olives were first collected, the “terroir,” plays the most important role, as the species of olives used and the climate and soil conditions they came from have a large influence on the final taste of the oil.
Italy has more than one million square hectares of land dedicated to olive cultivation, spread throughout the peninsula, so it comes as no surprise that flavor profiles vary significantly from region to region.
Olive oil from northern regions, such as Liguria and Lombardia, are characterized by light, delicate flavours. People often describe the oils from these regions as “mellow” or “soft” that finish with the kind of subtle floral notes that is reminiscent of chamomile tea.
Oils from this area work best with fish or risotto dishes, but they are also great for drizzling over fresh bread.
The central Italian regions of Toscana, Umbria, Marche, and Campania are known for producing oil with bolder flavor profiles than their northern counterparts. The sometimes pungent aromas of these oils are often described as herbaceous or grassy with a finish that can blur the line between peppery and spicy.
These oils pair well with both vegetable-driven dishes and red meats, like bruschetta and salads or steaks.
The further south you go, the stronger the flavours get. The southern regions of Abruzzo, Puglia, Sicilia, Calabria and Basilicata are known for producing rich, vibrant and full-bodied flavours. Their intense aromas and spicy finishes will brighten up any dish!
Remember: each and every high-quality olive oil sold by Nini & Deluca has its own unique history and flavour profile. Even oils from the same region could have significantly different flavours.
The Health Benefits of Olive Oil
As a central part of the highly-touted Mediterranean diet, the health benefits of olive oil have become widely known in recent years. A wealth of studies and anecdotal information has now confirmed what Italians, and people throughout the Mediterranean region, have known for generations: Olive oil is good for you!
As a source of healthy monounsaturated fats, extra virgin olive oil is a healthy choice for cooking. Oleic acid makes up the majority of olive oil’s monounsaturated fat content, and it has many health benefits, including reducing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, helping the body burn fat, promoting brain function and fighting infections.
Olive oils also have powerful anti-inflammatory effects that promote good overall health and can help fight against a myriad of inflammation-related health problems, like arthritis and heart disease. Organic extra virgin olive oil is also a major source of antioxidants, which help fight inflammation and reduce your risks for chronic diseases and various types of cancer.
Although extra virgin olive oil is a major source of healthy fats, consuming olive oil will not make you pack on the pounds. Contrary to what some people believe, extra virgin olive oil is not associated with weight gain. Diets rich in olive oil are linked with favorable effects on body weight, not long-term weight gain.