Oil & Vinegar
What is Italian olive oil and vinegar?
Made from the oil of pressed olives that are cultivated in Southern Italy, the best Italian olive oil adds depth and flavor to many dishes. There are thousands of olive varieties in Italy, which produces complex and nuanced flavor profiles. You’ll find the best Italian olive oil from Tuscany, Abruzzo, Sicily, and Liguria, giving you distinct flavors and textures that offer different uses in the kitchen.
Add Italian vinegar to the mix and you’ve got the building blocks for a long list of salad dressings and sauces. Used as a health tonic by Hippocrates, the father of medicine, balsamic vinegar is made from the juice of Labrusco or Trebbiano grapes, which is aged in wooden barrels for a minimum of 12 years.
History of Italian olive oil and vinegar
Experts estimate the cultivation of olives began roughly 7,000 years ago in the Mediterranean. Antiquity researchers have found evidence that the Ancient Greeks used olive oil as an everyday moisturizer.
Today, the oil still brings a plethora of health benefits to the table. Olive oil is a blend of monounsaturated and saturated fats, plus omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and oleic acid and is known to reduce inflammation. According to the American Heart Association, olive oil lowers the risk of heart disease by helping reduce bad cholesterol.
A reliable table companion of EVOO, balsamic vinegar has an impressive history that can be traced back to the Middle Ages. In 1046, the Holy Roman Emperor Henry III traveled to Modena, the village where balsamic vinegar was first produced, and was given a bottle from the monks to commemorate his upcoming coronation.
What dishes are these Italian condiments used for?
It’s not just the health benefits that make Italian olive oil a must-have for every kitchen. In fact, it’s the cooking oil of choice for chefs because of its ability to resist high heats. Italian EVOO has a higher smoke point because it is minimally processed, making it ideal for frying, baking, and grilling. The high smoke point also affects the taste. Because the oil is unrefined and pressed from the olives without using heat or chemicals, it has a more robust flavor and deeper color than other types of cooking oil.
Beyond baking, sautéing, and grilling, olive oil is also a key ingredient in classic Italian cake. Made with traditional cake batter ingredients like butter, flour, baking powder and sugar, this popular Italian dessert is light and elegant, especially when you use Paesano Organic Unfiltered Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a rare variety that exhibits a more delicate and nuanced flavor profile than other Italian oils.
Where to buy Italian olive oil and vinegar online
Because of the wide range of flavors and textures, the right oil can make or break a recipe. Luckily for you, we feature an extensive selection of premium Italian olive oils, including Frantoia Cutrera, a robust EVOO from Sicily that stands out with hints of celery and tomato. Another popular brand, Olio Carli is a versatile extra virgin olive oil that’s excellent for dressings, marinades, bread dip, and much more. Another favorite Sicilian oil is Partanna, which is cold pressed and kissed with the aroma of almonds and artichokes. Use it as a finishing garnish or as a flavor enhancer for classic Italian dishes.
At Supermarket Italy, we also feature top rated vinegars such as Fattoria Estense, which is made with a family recipe and ten years of aging, giving it a complexity that works well with meats, fish, cheeses and vegetables. A small drizzle over your favorite dessert also helps bring out the rich and bright flavors.
Italian olive oil and vinegar are the most fundamental ingredients of world cuisine and cornerstones of every kitchen pantry.