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Culturess - December 05, 2016
Culturess

Holiday Gifts for the Cook or Baker (Or For Your Own Kitchen)

Morit Chatlynne

Olive oil

Olive oil is central to Mediterranean cooking. It’s the perfect medium for light sautees, and science has documented its health benefits. Olive oil is also delicious on its own, as a salad dressing or a dip for bread. Ancient civilizations rose and fell for this golden nectar. But now, the olive oil sold in stores can be low-quality or totally fake, containing no olive oil or mostly canola. So top-grade olive oil makes a very nice holiday gift.

Most fine foods retailers sell great olive oil. Williams-Sonoma, Food52 and Sur La Table are always dependable. You can also find some exceptional olive oils online. Olive Lovers, The Olive Press, California Olive Ranch, and Apollo Olive Oil all make small batch (and some organic) olive oil in California.

If you’re looking for the highest-grade oil, Chef José Andrés has your back. This D.C.-based native of Spain wants to make sure American cooks have access to the finest ingredients, so he has partnered with La Tienda to sell high-quality Spanish products. Spanish olive oil is rich and green, with a bright and strong olive flavor. The four different Extra Virgin Olive Oils by José Andrés Foods are called Secret Blend, Arbequina, Picual and Cornicabra. These are best for simple preparations, where the taste of the olive oil enhances other ingredients instead of being hidden by them.

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