The Basque region is overflowing with olive oil.
In Basque alone you will find a olive oil comes in a full spectrum of greens, signifying the varying intensity and diverse applications for this celebrated oil.
Lighter olive oil has a higher smoke point, meaning it is the perfect medium for a spanish freiduría (chip-frying shop). The lighter oils are often used in canned foods like what I imagine to be the most unctuous treat: chorizo canned in olive oil or fish out some Hojiblanca -soaked anchovies for a an easy snack.
The darker the oil, the more complex the flavours and when the choices are endless, it can take an expert to decide a pairing that will put both the oil and the other components of the dish in the best light. Olive grower and Chef, Jean Pierre Vandelle introduced Spain to its first olive oil trolly, where diners at El Olvio can oogle the oils before a professional selects the perfect one for the dish. One of them is Arbequina olive oil which is slightly sweet, a little bitter, with a delicate notes of almond. It’s favoured by chefs for desserts (think olive oil chocolate truffles), but some can’t resist using it as a dressing with herbs over freshly caught, sweet lobster.
Other oils are piquant, deep green and sometimes grassy. These are begging to meet on a plate with equally-grassy goats cheese and some crackers, or over braised lamb with fresh herbs.
Really, there is an olive oil for every dish. ( And that’s just olive oils from Spain!)