To use olive oil solely as a condiment is a serious mistake. It is so much more than this. It cannot, therefore, be limited to the simple role of a dressing. Without a doubt, it is a condiment, but it is also so many other things as well. To be clear, it is a food, above all else. It is, in the fullest sense of the word, a food. It is no accident that it has been defined as a ‘functional food’, meaning a food which can be used in multiple ways. It is a food which is part of a normal diet, made of natural components with specific functions which go beyond that of the classic nutrient to the point of contributing to a state of well-being and good health, to a better quality of life. This is precisely what is meant by the definition of a functional food. For this reason, olive oil cannot be limited to the role of simple condiment. This precious olive juice is interpreted each time, whenever it encounters other foods. Hence the need to know the raw materials well and to be able to match them to perfection. The oil is perfect in every context, from appetiser to desserts, on its own as well as in baking, from the more traditional recipe to those which are more innovative and experimental. On their own, the fragrances and the flavours of each type of oil are highlighted, making each dish delicious and appetising, but it also enhances the flavours and aromas of the other foods to which it is added, as olive oil is a great flavour carrier. Due to its high seasoning effect, it is enough to pour just a little and, as a consequence, only the required fats, the good ones, are introduced to your diet without an excess of quantity. Even for cooking, it is the most suitable fat, because it reacts better than the others at high temperatures, is the healthiest and most stable. What more can one ask for?
This text is taken from chapter 6 of the book “An Olive Oil Family” written by Cristina and Federico Santagata, published by Olio Officina Edizioni.