César Cólliga Matínez
Expert Taster for the International Olive Oil Council

 Are there olive oils you recommend for cooking and others for dipping or eating raw?

From a viewpoint of thermal oxidation, refined olive oils and extra-virgin virgin olive oils are similar. The difference between refined olive oil and extra-virgin olive oil is that the latter has a concentration of antioxidants, vitamins, flavors and aromas not found in refined olive oils. My advice is to always use extra-virgin olive oils for cooking and for consumption. From a health standpoint, extra-virgin olive oils provide antioxidants and vitamins to our body. From a culinary standpoint, extra- virgin olive oils add flavor to anything we make or eat in the kitchen.

How should extra-virgin olive oil be preserved?

It is always best to keep extra-virgin olive oil in a dark place so as to not cause photo oxidation (degradation of the oil due to exposure to light), in places away from high temperatures (which will also accelerate the degradation of the olive oil), in moisture-free spaces (so that water does not affect its composition), and away from any strong odors that may be absorbed by the olive oil. These are simple steps that can help preserve your olive oils in the most optimal conditions for your future enjoyment. A cabinet in your kitchen or a shelf in your pantry is an ideal place for storage.

What does the color of an extra-virgin olive oil indicate?

From a standpoint of quality, the color of an extra-virgin olive oil is not an important factor. The color of olive oil is different for each of the different varieties of olives grown worldwide and range from a brownish-green color to a clear-yellow color. The color of an olive oil does not indicate anything in particular, but each variety of olive does have, after pressing, a distinctive color. The color of a particular olive oil will be different depending on the time of year the olives were picked. Thus, extra-virgin olive oil pressed from olives harvested early in the season will have greenish hues while extra-virgin olive oil pressed from olives harvested later in the season will produce an oil that has more yellowish hues.

What is your favorite olive oil?

My favorite olive oil is one that is intense and complex. I always choose an olive oil with a strong presence that can be blended in an exciting way with the rest of the flavors and aromas in a dish. It is important to pair the sensory profile of each extra-virgin olive oil with the individual dishes you create. With the vast range of olive oils available at Carter & Cavero stores, you will find many different varieties, each with a time and place for bringing out the most amazing, sensorial characteristics in your dishes.

You can visit Carter & Cavero Old World Olive Oil Company at their stores in Red Bank, Pier Village/Long Branch and Palmer Square/Princeton, New Jersey or you can shop online at www.carterandcavero.com.