Olive oil is the lifeblood of Italian cuisine. In fact, olive oil is such an important part of Italian culture that it has its own food group in the Mediterranean diet pyramid. According to statista, Italy produced 366,000 tons of olive oil in 2019-2020 alone. Italy, along with Spain, Greece, and Morocco are the largest producers of olive oil in the world, and roughly a fifth of the worlds olives are grown in Italy. But Italy isn’t just one of the highest producers of olive oil in the world; it’s also one of the highest per capita consumers of the oil. In fact, Italians consume roughly 14 liters of olive oil per year. That’s 3.7 gallons per year!
Olive oil has been an essential part of the Italian diet for thousands of years. By the time Roman historian Pliny the Elder wrote during Roman times that Italian olive oil was, "excellent...at reasonable prices" by the 1st century AD—"the best in the Mediterranean", ancient Romans had been using olive oil for centuries. The tradition of olive oil consumption lives on in Italy and across the Mediterranean. Every Italian or Italian diaspora will have at least one bottle of olive oil in their home. In fact, many Italian-Americans joke that they didn’t know there were any other cooking oils except olive oil.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of ways to use olive oil on a daily basis, especially in the kitchen. Whether you’re looking to make a mouthwatering eggplant parmesan or a sumptuous torta con olio (an olive oil cake), the ways that you can use olive oil in cooking and baking are endless. But olive oil isn’t just versatile, it’s also extremely healthy. There are plenty of health benefits to incorporating olive oil into your diet. For one thing, olive oil is extremely rich in monounsaturated fats, Vitamins E and K, and antioxidants.
There are tons of different kinds of olive oils from all over the world made in different regions from different olive varieties with varying quality and taste. In fact, the European Union has an entire department dedicated to the regulations, classifications, definitions, and statistics of olive oil production, exportation, and consumption. But which olive oil should you buy when you go shopping? And what’s the difference between each type of olive oil, anyway?
Olive oil is most commonly divided into three categories that are fit for consumption: the famous extra virgin olive oil (lovingly referred to by Rachael Ray as EVOO), virgin, and pure olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is considered to be the highest quality of olive oil and the healthiest of the lot. This is because it’s the undergone the lowest amount of chemical processing. Its acidity is extremely low (up to 0.8% according to EU regulations), and it has a strong flavor that, depending on the country, can have different notes that range from nutty to fruity to grassy. Next up is virgin olive oil. Virgin olive oil has a higher acidity content than extra virgin olive oil and has a lighter taste due to some chemical processing. The EU states that virgin olive oils can have up to 2% acidity. Then there’s pure olive oil, which blends extra virgin, virgin, and refined olive oils. Finally, there’s extra light olive oil, which has the lightest taste of all and is an extremely refined product. It’s considered to be the lowest quality olive oil.
Each type of olive oil has different uses, but we generally recommend using extra virgin olive oil since it’s the least chemically processed and the highest quality olive oil. While extra virgin olive oil is great for sauces and salads, pure olive oil can be a great choice for certain types of baking. But no matter what you’re using it for, you can find the best extra virgin olive oil at Oleificio Asaro. The word ‘oleificio’ literally means ‘oil producer,’ which is what Oleificio Asaro has specialized in since its founding in 1916 in Partanna, Sicily. They’ve also been catering to the American market since 1936 when they started to export olive oil to the United States.
If you’re looking for a great olive oil to make your kitchen complete, or if you want to impress your friends and family, check out the Partanna product line. The extra virgin olive oil is produced in Asaro, and has won two Gold Medals and one Best of Class award at the Los Angeles County Fair. In addition, it’s a certified DOP product, or Protected Designation of Origin. This certification means that the product is recognized as having been produced in its original region. Pantanna is also a certified organic oil and certified kosher product. It’s made of one type of olive, the “Nocellara del Belice.” It has a rich aroma with notes of almond and artichoke. It’s acidity rate is roughly 0.3%. You can cook with it, use it in salad dressing, dip bread in it, or use it to make infusions.
Partanna is sold in tins and bottles. Usually olive oil is sold in tins or dark bottles. The reason for this it’s sold in dark bottles is to prevent the oil from sunlight exposure, which can degrade the quality of the oil or cause it to go rancid. There are 500 ml, 1 liter, and, for those who use olive oil in their cooking on a daily basis, 3 liter tins. For the more occasional olive oil user, Partanna is also sold in bottles of 250 ml, 500 ml, and 750 ml.
Like we mentioned before, olive oil has a ton of uses. If you’re looking for a great housewarming gift that will please everyone, a bottle of Partanna will spruce up any kitchen. But that’s not all; it also makes the perfect addition to gift baskets and can be used as stocking stuffers, graduation gifts, and birthday presents. No matter where you’re looking to incorporate more EVOO in your life, Partanna is the best choice for your everyday needs.