EVOO Cheese – Pairing Olive Oil and Cheese

Cheese, along with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), is one of the oldest and most traditional foods in Italy. Many think that the combination of these two elements could be a bit risky, as cheese is usually paired with wine, honey or marmalades. But that is not the case. An EVOO cheese combination is unique, tasty and loved by many people.

 

WHAT IS EVOO?

EVOO is extra virgin olive oil obtained by pressing only healthy olives with a mechanical process. Choosing to use EVOO is said to have many health benefits: it is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants. The Italian tradition says that in childhood it contributes to proper growth and bone formation,  while for adults it is recommended to protect the cardiovascular system.

EVOO AND CHEESE

All cheeses start from a milk base, which can be cow, goat, sheep milk or a mixture of them all. The infinite variants of cheeses are possible thanks to the different processes and local traditions. 

To choose the oils and pair them with cheese, we must first understand the degree of seasoning and the fat content. The consistency of the cheese and many other factors can determine the success of the combination.

The combinations are often dictated by personal taste, however, a simple classification can be made by distinguishing fresh and aged cheeses on one side, and distinguishing the oils for the intensity of the fruity notes and the bitter and spicy sensations of the taste.

A light fruity oil, like “Delicato” EVOO, can be perfectly combined with a medium-aged cheese. The reason why delicate oils are recommended for this type of cheese is to not cover the flavour of the raw material.

On the other side, fresher cheeses require medium intense oils, capable of giving a balanced flavour, like “Moraiolo” EVOO.

 

FOR EACH CHEESE THERE IS A MATCH

The same rules apply to different types of cheeses. 

Pecorino cheese, with a compact and rather tasty structure, can be combined with an oil with a soft and delicate flavour.

With cow’s milk cheeses, which tend to have a sweeter taste, more intense and persistent oils are recommended.

Goat cheese, with an intense taste and aroma, is well matched with medium-intensity oils.

In general, mild-tasting oils go with equally delicate and fine foods. More savoury oils, with a round taste and medium intense scents, go with foods with more pronounced aromas.

Finally, the oils with a more bitter and spicy taste accompany well foods with a more robust structure.

EVERY RULE HAS AN EXCEPTION

According to what we’ve been saying until now, Mozzarella, a light, delicate cheese, should be matched with equally light and fresh oils. But it is perfectly fine to combine a bitter, spicy and well-fruity oil with a mozzarella, without affecting the taste balance.

This shows us how in the end it is only us and our palate who decide which combination of flavours is the best. Surely following the guidelines and indications on the best combinations between olive oil and cheese leads to good results … but in the end, it is only by daring new combinations that you discover new and unexpected flavours!

And you? Have you ever tried EVOO cheese?