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Extra virgin olive oil is the most important ingredient in my kitchen. I always buy the very best, insuring that even a dish as simple as toasted bread and olive oil will be a tasty bite. There are hundreds of cultivars of olive oil olives in Italy, each with its own distinct flavors—just like wine grapes. Always buy extra virgin pressed in the most recent past November. Extra virgin should ideally have the year it was pressed on the label; by law it has to have an expiration date (18 months from bottling) although the product really doesn’t expire and is still good after that date, just not with its maximum flavor profile. I finish up last year’s extra virgin in the kitchen or for baking. Castello di Ama, Fontodi and Tenuta di Capezzana are some of my favorite Tuscan extra virgins. I'm crazy about Sicilians Tenuta La Rocchetta and Planeta, from the Castelvetrano area and Azienda Occhipinti and Pianogrillo from the Ragusa area.