Olive oil is a cornerstone of Mediterranean cooking. Photograph: Angel Garcia/Bloomberg
What’s in other people’s shopping baskets and trolleys is always interesting, and we would love to hear about the things you have discovered too. Tell me about them and I will track them down, try them out and report back. Thank you.
What is it? Specially Selected PDO Terra Di Bari Castel Del Monte Extra Virgin Olive Oil, from Aldi (€4.99, 500ml)
What’s great about it? As a self-confessed olive oil nerd with about five bottles on the go at any time, each used for different purposes, this bargain buy really impressed me. It has Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status, an EU standard which indicates that it has been produced in a specific geographical area, in this case Puglia, in southern Italy.
Use the olive oil judiciously. Its big flavours could bully gentler ingredients
How do I use it? As a drizzling or finishing oil, though I wouldn’t say no to roasting potatoes in it. The makers describe it as intense and fruity and “best drizzled over cold meats or pasta”. To that I would add that it is absolutely delicious over hot, grilled or toasted bread, with nothing more than a sprinkling of Maldon sea salt. It has real character and a distinctive peppery finish. Use it judiciously, I love its big flavours, but it could bully gentler ingredients. I wouldn’t, for example, use it with fish.
Where can I buy it? Aldi Ireland.
Sustainability credentials? The glass bottle – dark green to reduce the amount of daylight reaching the oil – can be recycled.
Anything else? Always make sure the extra virgin olive oil you buy has been produced with olives from the most recent winter’s harvest. Check the back label, the use by date should extend a year or more beyond the date of purchase, and if a harvest date is shown, it should be the winter prior to purchase. In this case it is “Crop 2021/2022”.