Just like most Asians, I grow up eating food cook in pork lard or peanut oil. I never knew the existence of olive oil even when I tried to cook my first plate of pasta which turns out as a disaster.
I only learn about olive oil much later when I watched cooking programs from the discovery travel and living channel (now known as TLC) and of course from Jamie Oliver.
The fact is olive oil cost so much more than our usual peanut oil which makes it uncommon as basic cooking oil used in most family here. But when it comes to pasta, salads and most European dishes, there is no compromise.
I won’t go into the differences between extra virgin and pure olive oil but in general, i use extra virgin when i do not need to heat it. It is good for salad, as a dip with balsamic vinegar for crusty bread and as table oil for adding into cooked food to gain that extra smoothness. Pure olive oil for the actual cooking as the cost is slightly lower than extra virgin. And if you are loaded with extra cash, you can try using it for deep frying and tell me the difference.
Personally, “Pietro Coricelli” from Italy is my preferred brand as it comes in dark bottles which are the best for storing olive oil.