If you enjoy playing around in the kitchen, as many of us do, then it’s likely that you’ll have olive oil tucked away in your cupboard somewhere, meaning that the right one can be a great gift for someone you love.
Olive oils have been a staple of Mediterranean diets since the beginning of time and it’s easy to see why, yet with so many options on the market it’s hard to know which one to choose. Some tips on which oils are best for salad, bread dipping and more is given at the end of the article.
So whether you’re looking for a gift for yourself or a fellow foodie friend, this guide will run you through the best options and what to look for when purchasing an oil.
Best Olive Oil Gift Set: Italian Extra Virgin Sampler (Check Amazon’s Price)
With this Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil Sampler you get 3 x 100ml tins of Olive Oil from the Chianti region, all with different flavours that are great for adding depth to all your best dishes.
As the oils arrive in strong tins, they’re not easily breakable so those with young children may love this as a gift and a way to get their children into cooking without having to worry about any danger posed by a glass bottle.
All 3 are the highest grade of olive oil and are completely organic, with no additives or preservatives so you know that you’re getting the most natural flavour. It’s stated that the olives are handpicked in the morning and crushed in the afternoon to really preserve the rich flavour.
- Comes in attractive, versatile tins that are not easily breakable
- Three different flavours
- Full of antioxidants
- Completely organic with no additives or preservatives
- Produced and packaged in Italy
- The tin packaging may alter the taste slightly
- Only 100ml in each tin
Best Flavoured Olive Oil Set: Olive Oils By La Chinata (Check Amazon’s Price)
With this set of oils by La Chinata you get six different flavoured Spanish olive oils; garlic, lemon, chilli, basil, porcini mushroom and pepper meaning that there will be an oil you enjoy no matter your flavour preferences.
They are best to use as a condiment on your dishes, as using them as a cooking oil can affect the properties of the oil and compromise the flavours.
The oils arrive beautifully packaged in a wooden box and are stored in glass bottles. Each oil is suitable for vegetarians as only natural flavours are used.
The sophisticated look of the box makes them a great gift, perhaps you know someone who sticks to the same dishes and doesn’t venture out with flavours? Or even someone who has recently embarked on a diet? This gift set can be a way to show your support than sending someone you love a gift that could make their healthy meals a little less ‘boring’.
- Beautifully packaged in elegant glass bottles and a wooden box – which you could even reuse as a spice rack!
- 6 different oils to enhance your cooking experience with citrus, spicy or aromatic flavours to choose from
- Suitable for vegetarians and vegans
- Not recommended for use as a cooking oil as the heat may damage the properties of the oil and negatively affect the flavour
Best Olive Oil and Balsamic Set: Liquid Gold Greek Set (Check Amazon’s Price)
This set by Liquid Gold Ltd is a superb gift for the dinner party host in your life! This set is all you need to make quick and tasty appetisers and dips that everyone will enjoy no matter their dietary requirements. It’s from Greece, and is super quality.
The liquids arrive in glass bottles and are packaged in a ribbed gift box with a window so you can see the contents.
The liquids contain no additives, preservatives, thickeners or colouring and are suitable for both vegetarians and coeliacs. The oils also have low acidity making them a healthier option.
- Natural ingredients – no additives, preservatives or thickeners
- Suitable for vegetarians and coeliacs
- Includes a balsamic vinegar
- Nicely packaged
- The olive oil can be used to cook with
- Only one flavour of Olive Oil in the set
- Oils must be stored in a cool, dry place meaning that they may be hard to store due to the height of the bottle neck
Best Luxury Olive Oil Set: Truffle Oil By TruffleHunter (Check Amazon’s Price)
TruffleHunter’s set of white and black truffle oil is the gift to give to your friends who appreciate a little taste of luxury. It’s produced and packaged in the UK, too.
The olive oil is cold-pressed meaning that no flavour is lost during the pressing process and both bottles contain small pieces of truffle to ensure that you can really taste it.
The oils are suitable for a range of diets; vegetarian, coeliac, vegan and kosher. The uses are endless and only a tiny amount is needed to really bring dishes to life as the flavour is so strong, it can be used in anything from pastas and risottos to roasting potatoes.
So if there’s someone you know who loves eating out at fancy restaurants, why not buy them this? They can bring the restaurant taste they love so much into their own home.
- Set contains both white and black truffle oil
- Will last you a long time as only the tiniest amount of oil is needed for full flavour
- 13 month shelf life
- Olive oils contain pieces of truffle to enhance the flavour
- Really versatile – suitable for a range of diets and meals
- Produced and packaged in the United Kingdom
- Only 100ml of product in each bottle
- If too much of the oil is used, the flavour can be overpowering
Best Infused Oil Taster Set: Gourmet Spice Company (Check Amazon’s Price)
Gourmet Spice Company’s Super Six Infused Oils are a safe gift option if you’re not entirely sure what flavours the person in mind prefers.
This taster set is made from rapeseed oil rather than olive oil. This means that the oil can be used for drizzling, roasting, dipping or even frying and they’re rich in Vitamin E, Omegas 3, 6 and 9 and low in cholesterol so not only are they great for your palate but for your body too.
Gourmet Spice hand make all their products in the UK in small batches to ensure they’re the best they can be.
If you have a friend who has just started to develop their cooking skills, why not help them along the way? They can make any dish more adventurous without having to get themselves a load of extra ingredients that they’re not too sure what to do with.
- The set contains a variety of different flavours to choose from
- Rich in omegas and vitamin E
- Can be used in pretty much any way imaginable
- Arrives in a custom box with recipe tips enclosed
- Suitable for Vegetarians
- Be aware that this is Rapeseed rather than Olive Oil
What’s The Best Olive Oil To Dip Bread In To?
If you’re an Olive Oil lover like me, then one of your favourite ways to really taste the oil might be to use it as a dip for your favourite loaf of bread.
However, not any old oil will do and it’s important to know what you’re looking for. Simply put, it doesn’t matter what brand – the only olive oil that you should ever consider dipping bread into is extra virgin. This is because this particular oil is meant to be tasted rather than cooked with.
The delicate balance of flavours in an extra virgin olive oil makes it the best oil for not only dipping bread, but also drizzled over salads, soups and meats.
The viscosity of extra virgin means that the bread doesn’t become completely soggy, instead it soaks up just the right amount for you to enjoy it. Using any other kind of olive oil will just amount to a waste of carbs! Lightly toasting the bread also helps, and if I had a choice, I’d say ciabatta or focaccia are the best breads to go for, too.
Which Olive Oil Is Best For Salads?
Olive oils are one of the most popular dressings to complement a fresh salad. They’re renowned for being rich in healthy monounsaturated fats that are said to protect you against a variety of health issues, such as strokes, heart attacks, and even type 2 diabetes.
So, what kind of olive oil is best for salad dressings? Again, it’s extra virgin! As mentioned previously, this kind of oil has the strongest flavour.
Depending on what you’re using in your salad, you may wish to match the notes of the olive oil with the vegetables in your salad. For example, salads containing a lot of fresh vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers would pair well with an oil with peppery notes. On the other hand, a salad containing fruit may be better off with a citrusy oil to enhance the flavours.
Of the suggestions above, La Chinata’s collection of six oils is guaranteed to have an oil to pair with your favourite salad no matter the ingredients.
What’s The Best Type Of Olive Oil To Buy?
With so many different brands and types of olive oil out there it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with choice, extra virgin, light, filtered, cold pressed, the list goes on! But choosing an olive oil that’s right for you and your cooking style needn’t be hard.
If you’re looking for an oil to use as a condiment, there’s no doubt that you should opt for an extra virgin olive oil and any of the flavoured sets above will do.
However, if you’re looking for an oil to cook with too then I’d suggest the set by Liquid Gold. This oil can be doubled up as a cooking oil due to its low acidity and delicate flavour. Plus, you get the added bonus of being able to use the balsamic vinegar for salads and bread dipping.
The right olive oil gift set all depends on what the receiving party is likely to use it for. Flavoured sets such as the ones made by La Chinata and Gourmet Spice Company will add extra depth by pouring over your finished meals due to the wide variety of tastes that the sets offer. This means that these sets are best for those who are a little less experienced in the kitchen.
If you have a friend that loves the finer things in life such as eating out, then TruffleHunter’s set of white and black truffle oils will suit them. They can be used in almost anything, from risottos to pasta dishes, really allowing anyone to create the rich taste of a restaurant meal in their own home.
However, if you’re looking for an all-rounder oil then I’d suggest Gourmet Living’s set of 3 extra virgin olive oils. These are the most versatile, providing 3 different flavours that can be used both to cook with and to dip bread into.
Plus, extra virgin olive oil can be used in all sorts of beauty recipes, from repairing split ends to relieving cracked heels, this gift set can fulfil a multitude of needs!
As a final tip, if you want to source an ethical olive oil from Palestine, my other article on Palestinian Olive Oil should help you out.