First off- let me just point out the history and health benefits of olive oils since I have your attention and quite a bit of people aren’t aware of this knowledge.
How it’s made- Extra virgin olive oil is made by crushing olives and extracting the juices. It is the only cooking oil that is made without the use of chemicals and industrial refining. Extra Virgin olive oil is the highest and most expensive olive oil classification. Its made using mechanical means, without any solvents and at a proper temperature so it wont degrade the oil. Its not easy to be made since the olives must be in good condition and the entire process is monitored very carefully. Extra virgin olive oil doesn’t stay that way forever, even in perfect storage conditions it will degrade over time, so its important to enjoy it within a 2-year shelf life.
Health Benefits- It has been stated that Extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest fat on earth. Of course a fat is still a fat and should be used in moderation. Switching out butters and margarines when you can for olive oils in its place can help to make your dish healthier and provide you with the added benefits. Without getting in to all of the scientific pharmaceutical terminology I can say that olive oil has the following benefits:
Mimics ibuprofen and can help reduce inflammation
Reduces your chances of type 2 diabetes
Can help to fight off cancer, or be used as an early preventative
Some studies say that it could help prevent strokes
Can slow down the aging of your heart
And of course it probably does so much more as well. New studies and research is coming out about it all the time, so this list can grow on forever.
Olive oil is truly a magical kitchen ingredient.
Now that we’ve all been educated and brought up to speed on how fascinating olive oils can be, lets get on to the official review of this Manatova Olive Oil Sampler set.
With each bottle being a different flavor and having 8.5oz in each, they are perfect for sampling. You can get a handful of uses out of each bottle, and test the waters to see where you think the oil might be best suited in terms of dishes. I personally tried out all of these oils in various dishes and have found some real winners, and some not so favorite ones. But that’s okay! This sample set is a great price, and you can afford to explore the flavor sea. Whichever oils you liked best can be purchased in larger sizes, or you can rebuy this set all over again if you enjoyed all 4. Of course, gifting is still a great idea as well, who wouldn’t love fancy flavor infused oils? They sit on the shelf between uses looking so expensive and pretty.
Let’s start with my least favorite oil and work our way up. Truffle infused flavor oil was not my oil of choice. I have never before had truffle anything, unless it was in reference to the chocolate kind. So I didn’t expect to like this oil, but I had hoped it would change my mind. It is pretty overpowering (in my opinion) but of course you could think differently. I added about 4 TBSP worth in to my meatloaf mix, which in retrospect may have been too much because I still tasted it, I was aiming for a more subtle presence. Although my husband inhaled it thinking it was delicious, I just couldn’t seem to enjoy my meatloaf as much as I normally do.
Next up, Basil infused.
This one I had some ideas and uncertainties with. I tried it so far on 2 different recipes, because we aren’t such a huge basil household. In one use, I had brushed the oil on to some pizza crusts for our homemade pizza, prebaked it in the oven for a few minutes before pulling it out to top with sauce and everything as normal. Honestly, it added some great depth to my pizza, and all I could think the whole time I was chowing down was about the flavorful gluten free pizza my sister had me try once. Gluten free foods often lack the consistency of “normal foods” but what they lack in texture, they make up for in flavor. This pizza was the bomb.com.
Second use was the one shown below. I cut some thick slices of yellow squash and zucchini on my mandolin, and tossed them in a bowl with basil olive oil and some garlic powder, onion powder, fresh ground black pepper and ground sea salt. Baked at 350 on a flat baking sheet for about 30-40minutes tossing them around midway to make sure everything cooked right. This also resulted in some very delicious veggies (and almost no real prep work.)
Bruschetta olive oil-
This one was tricky since when I think bruschetta I think small toasted baguettes with weird cheese and whole roasted tomatoes, which isn’t on my menu-ever; mostly due in part to the tomatoes. So branching off from that visual and trying to find something that I know we would actually eat- Grilled Cheese sandwiches. I poured a small amount of oil into a silicone muffin cup and used a brush to apply it to the outsides of my sandwiches instead of using butter. Let me just say- it added a level of class and sophistication worth repeating.
My favorite oil by far though was the Garlic infused one. Possibly because we are a garlic loving household, but also because this oil was delicious. I poured some into my cooked spaghetti noodles before plating with sauce, and it was incredible and reminiscent of restaurant quality despite being a jarred sauce and nothing else added. It also worked great spread on bread rolls for a quick DIY garlic bread.
Over all, I really enjoyed these oils and I think I may just buy a set for my dad for father’s day since I know my parents would enjoy these flavor infused oils, and he’s always trying to better his cooking skills.
You can view and purchase your own Mantova Extra Virgin Olive Oil HERE