I get asked all the time for my recommendations on olive oil. Of course if I had my way, I would hop on a plane and head to Tuscany and bring back a suitcase full of it. I have in fact brought a few bottles back from Italy before and was depressed when I used the last drop in the bottle.
Homegoods and TJ Maxx have great imported olive oil from Italy. You will find some that say cold pressed, and that is very good quality. Olive oil is considered cold pressed when its temperature during the extraction process never climbs above 81.9 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures are kept low to preserve the natural aroma and flavor of the olives and maintain the nutritional value of the finished product. Also, cold pressed olive oil may retain more nutrients than olive oils treated with heat. It's loaded with healthy fats, vitamins E and K, and several antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. These nutrients may promote brain and heart health, in addition to other benefits. Cold pressed olive oil is better in quality, flavor and health benefits than lesser grades. The heat and chemicals used in further processing already-cold-pressed olives reduce the flavor and eliminate many of the antioxidants and other health properties.
Since cold-pressed olive oil has low acidity, the smoke point is higher. This makes it an excellent option for baking, sautéing, and pan frying.
Types of olive oil:
~EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL. It is the best quality olive oil. ...
~VIRGIN OLIVE OIL. It is an unrefined form of olive oil extracted using the cold-pressing technique. ...
~PURE OLIVE OIL. Pure Olive oil is created by mixing either extra virgin or virgin oil with the refined
~ REFINED Usually has no taste or smell, and it will be light in color or even colorless.
How to use it:
~EXTRA VIRGIN Seasoning or Salads
~VIRGIN Cooking Sautéing & Baking
~REFINED Only for cooking
Whatever you purchase, just make sure it says Made in Italy or Product of Italy.