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Olive Oil We're Loving

Photo: Beth Branch

I attended the Summer Fancy Food Show earlier this month, and still feel like I'm nursing some sort of sensory overload hangover. Three days, countless walked miles, and hundreds of samples from over 2,400 vendors later, I'm still thinking about the standouts from that week. You name it, I tasted it. From pomegranate chips to valerian-infused coffee for insomniacs, I'd like to think nothing surprises me anymore. For the foreseeable future, Flavor Friday will be dedicated to the products that have been on my mind for the past few weeks, the ones that made me seriously consider making a u-turn and going back for seconds.

Agrovim has been churning out world-renowned Greek olive oils from their flagship brand Iliada for decades, but it was their more recent foray into flavored extra virgin olive oils that made me do a double take. Awarded two gold stars from the Great Taste Awards in 2012, the line boasts seven flavors, all of which I tasted and loved. I've cooked with truffle oil before and wasn't shocked by basil or chili, but as I scanned the collection the flavors started getting less familiar. My curiosity peaked at the rose olive oil, and after sampling (and rubbing on my hands) I was a convert. More aromatic than flavored, these particular oils, including vanilla, chocolate, and orange, can be used for baking, cooking—even skin care! Who doesn't love a good multipurpose product?

This week, we've been performing some experiments by replacing olive oil quantities in our favorite recipes with flavored oil. Here's what we're loving: Olive oil cake (chocolate) Vanilla vinaigrette (vanilla) Raspberry-rose vinaigrette (rose) A drizzle of olive oil over vanilla ice cream has been the game changer for me this week. Don't knock it 'till you try it.

Note: When using flavored olive oils for vinaigrettes, start with a smaller amount than your recipe calls for and add oil to taste.

Flavor Friday is a weekly column that explores trending flavors and off-the-wall ingredients you’ve got to try—even if just once.