A beginner's guide to olive oils

A look at the different types of olive oil from around the world

A selection of olives and olive oils. Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images
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Koroneiki – extra virgin olive oil and/or organic

This is a classic Greek oil variety with notes of tart, fresh apple and banana. It is a robust oil that has a glowing golden-green colour, and comes from various provinces in the country, including Peloponnese, Zakinthos, Crete and Samos.

It is perfect as a finishing oil with any salad, vegetable dishes or grilled meats.


Surani – extra virgin olive oil

This oil is the most important variety in Syria, and one of the most popular oils in the Middle East. The olive itself has a high oil content, making it ideal for producing a variety of oils. It is very stable in heat and of very good quality. Its flavour is delicate, making it less pungent than the Italian varieties, and it is a light green hue, almost golden in colour.

It is the perfect oil for frying and as a base for flavourful dishes.



Coratina – extra virgin olive oil

This is a naturally intense oil from the area of Puglia, with deep green tones and golden traces. As a robust oil with peppery depth of flavour, it is agreeably pungent with subtle hints of fruit.

It is used to enrich flavours in grilled and roasted recipes, soups, stews and pasta sauces.

Frantoio – extra virgin olive oil and/or organic

From the Tuscan regions of Italy, this oil has a wonderful fresh-cut grass aroma with fruity notes, and delicate hints of green apple. It is golden in colour, with olive-green traces, and has a clean-crisp aroma laced with fruity hints of artichokes.

It is the perfect partner to any vinegar in salad dressings, and enhances the flavour of ingredients when cooking.


Arbequina – extra virgin olive oil and/or organic

This is extracted cold from sweet and fruity Mediterranean Arbequina olives from Catalunya. It is a pure, glossy, green, superior oil that encompasses a broad range of flavours that are hyper-aromatic, grassy and fresh like crisp apples. This oil is best used uncooked. It is a fresh oil that combines perfectly with crisp, grilled or roasted vegetables, cold and creamy soups, and sweet pastries.

Picual – olive oil, extra virgin olive oil and/or organic

The Picual oil is one of the world’s most important oils, accounting for 20 per cent of global production. It comes from various provinces of Andalucía, and has a great taste, normally bitter, with hints of woody flavour. This oil is best used in frying, although it is equally good for salads, in cold soups and for marinating meats