Italian Olive Oil - Gourmet Guide

June 12, 2019 | By Dave Mattingly

Olives have been cultivated for nearly 6,000 years and are believed to have originated in the Mediterranean region. Olive oil has been used for thousands of years in such diverse ways as food, fuel, medicine, religious ceremonies, and even skin care.

The Roman Empire spread the cultivation of olive groves throughout its empire in Europe. Olive groves were so essential to the Roman Empire that their southern regions were based around their olive growing territories. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the cultivation of olive trees waned, only to survive in remote areas in the hills of Tuscany. In the 12th century, Italian Olive cultivation returned and by the 15th Century, Italy was the largest producer of olive oil in the world. Today, Italian Olive Oil is still famous for its quality and value.

The top Italian Olive Oil production regions are Puglia, Tuscany, Liguria and Umbria, with Puglia being home to a third of Italy's olive trees. Each producer of Italian Olive Oil creates a distinctive flavor characteristic due to the type of olive used, growing methods, topography and climate. Italian Olive Oils range in flavor from delicate and mild, to tangy and spicy. Italy has over thirty Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) olive oils. Italian Olive Oils with PDO status are regulated to guarantee a unique and high quality olive oil that has been made using specific production methods and techniques in certain regions of Italy.

Italy is known for their fine quality extra virgin olive oil. Italian Extra virgin olive oil is made from the first pressing of Italian Olive Oil, has an acidity value under 1%, and uses no heat during its pressing process. Italian Olive Oil is unmatched for its use in cooking and as an ingredient in many foods from soups and salads to meats, seafood and vegetables. Italian Olive Oil is excellent in antipastos, salads dressings, sauces, with bread or in place of butter.

Health Benefits of Italian Olive oil
Italian Olive Oil is a star not only in the culinary world, but also is known for its many health benefits. Olive oil contains vitamins A, D, K and E, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol. Italian Olive Oil is also known to be anti-inflammatory, may lower blood pressure and is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. Olive oil is also enjoyed for its moisturizing properties and is used in skin care products such as soaps and moisturizers.

Italian Olive Oil is produced by harvesting olives from the olive tree and then grinding the olives into a paste. The olive paste is put onto a press which extracts the liquid oil and water from the olive paste, leaving behind the solid remnants of the paste, or pomace. The olive oil is then separated from the water usually by using a centrifuge prior to being bottled.

igourmet's Italian Olive Oils are carefully crafted in Liguria, Tuscany, Sicily, Calabria, Umbria, Puglia and other regions by dedicated experts. Available in organic, infused and flavored varieties, igourmet offers the most complete line of oils on the web. When searching for gourmet food online, look no further than