My obsession with food and travel led me to this piece: olive oil and food pairings from around the world. These dishes remind me of places I have been and are simple enough to make at home – and they inspire my future travels.

I’m not an olive oil expert, but my suggestion is to rely on your senses. Try a spoonful. (Don’t be scared, it’s healthy-ish.) Taste and savor the aroma. If you like it, then it’s a good one – bonus points if it has a cool label. I’m a sucker for cool labels.

I use light olive oil for everyday cooking, such as frying eggs and sautéing vegetables, and save the more complex ones for salad dressing or putting the final touch on a dish. I also like using olive oil from the country whose cuisine I’m cooking: It feels authentic and adventurous. Cooking is all about having fun in the kitchen, reliving previous adventures, and dreaming of the next getaway.

These days, olive oil-aholics like me can join numerous olive oil clubs, such as The Best Olive Oils marketplace, which sends members three award-winning oils over the course of a three-month subscription ($99). Here are some combinations and recipes I love:

Fried Eggs + Spanish Oil

I’m partial to Spanish olive oil. I fell in love with Pons after cookbook author Jeff Kohler recommended it in a Virtuoso Life article (browse the current issue)  – it’s my oil for everyday cooking. A fried egg with crispy edges can only be achieved by using oil, not butter:

Pour 3 to 4 tablespoons into a hot pan, crack in an egg, then gently shake and baste its white part.

fried egg

Lemon Aioli + California Oil

This oil from Pacific Sun Farms is bright and peppery. I use it to make Meyer Lemon Garlic aioli, which I spread on paninis and eat as a dip with veggies or fries.

Tip: Use a Meyer lemon instead of the regular lemon while in season (November through March in the U.S.).lemon aioli

Greek Salad + Greek Oil 

Óleaves is my favorite for Greek salad dressing, which I eat and daydream of finally sunbathing in Santorini.greek salad

Tortilla Española + Spanish Oil

I learned how to make this Spanish staple when I visited my daughter in Vigo last year. I use this oil from Spain.

Beet Hummus + Tunisian Oil

I love the bright color of beet hummus, made with this olive oil from Tunisia. It’s not a bland beige like normal hummus – plus it’s delicious!

Burrata + Italian Oil

This is my go-to “impress your guests” Italian appetizer: Burrata con Tartufo, homemade pesto, and charred tomatoes on the vine, drizzled with Olio di Dievole 100% Italiano – Nocellara, an exquisite oil from Italy.

Pan-Seared Fish + Mexican Oil

My favorite olive oil from Mexico adds a nice finish to pan-seared sea bass with vegetables and Salsa Macha, a hot peppery Mexican sauce that you can buy in a bottle.fish

All photos by Melanie Fowler, art director at Virtuoso.

4 comments

  1. I’m starving reading this…so true about the different olive oils from around the globe. They transport you right back there!

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