Pairing Olive Oil As You Would With Wine Will Set Your Menu Apart

Much like wine, there is a method behind choosing the right olive oil for restaurant dishes. Using a specific olive oil can not only complement and reinforce flavors in a chef’s dish, but also highlight the unique taste the oil brings to it. This can help you set your menu apart from others, and elevate your guests’ dining experience.

When you are creating your restaurant’s menu, consider olive oils with these flavor categories in mind: delicate, medium or robust.

Delicate olive oils have a somewhat buttery or floral taste, with a light peppery finish. These oils pair best with menu items like raw and mild tasting foods, adding a more subtle flavor to your dish. Think fish, mild salad greens, mild cheeses, pesto, raw vegetables. Your guests will love this attention to detail in your restaurant menu.

Medium olive oils usually have a fruity taste, with a spicy or peppery finish. These are best paired with white meats, and carbohydrates or sweeter foods. For instance, the Mandrova Nocellara, is a medium-fruity varietal from Sicily, Italy. The olives are grown on the Mandrova farm and crushed right after harvesting to produce an oil with the fragrance of fresh cut grass, artichokes and tomatoes. The spicy flavor is balanced with the bitterness, yielding it as a continually recognized product garnering the 2018 NYIOOC Gold Medal.

Robust olive oils are more pungent and have an intense, bold flavor with a strong peppery finish. These oils pair best with richer, bitter, and/or complex menu items. Such as beef, lamb, marinades, stew, pasta sauce, and bold cheeses. Consider using the Guglielmi Intenso, made from one hundred percent crushed Coratina variety olives grown in the northern region of Puglia. Its intense and spicy notes pair great with bitter greens and/or a raw oily fish.

When unsure of what olive oil will work best with your dish, remember the saying: what grows together tastes good together. For more tips on flavor notes and pairing dishes, and Foodable’s select list of olive oils, watch the video above.