Olive oil on bread?

Apr 12th, 2002, 05:05 PM
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I cannot quote you the source, but I read that when you eat bread with olive oil rather than butter, it is more satisfying and thus, you eat less bread . Yes, they are both fats and probably have about the same amount of calories but one is animal and one plant. The olive oil is definitely better for your heart.
Apr 12th, 2002, 08:00 PM
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My mother is from Naples. Several years ago we went to an Italian restaurant (in the US) and were served bread with olive oil. This was the first time she had seen this and looked rather puzzled. I said "mom, don't you like this?". She said that she was take aback for a moment because when she grew up in Italy they ate this combination with every evening meal because they couldn't afford butter. So she was surprised to see peasant food in a fine restaurant.
Apr 12th, 2002, 08:53 PM
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The olive oil with bread thing has likely been around in certain areas of Italy for some time, but the new mania for doing it has its roots in the Napa Valley. I can't remember the name of the restaurant (but it may be Tra Vigne), but the chef there claimed to have been the first to do it. Years ago now, so maybe a different chef.

So to answer the original query, it's more of a food fiction. In my experience Italians always eat bread with meals, and they pretty much always eat it plain. I remember travelling to Munich once with a group of milanesi who all thought it hysterically funny that the Bavarians ate their bread with butter.
Apr 12th, 2002, 10:02 PM
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We were in Arles several years ago, and stopped at a winery. The proprietor insisted that we all have a shot of olive oil before we tasted the wine. Said he drank a half liter a day. Didn't even offer us bread.
Apr 12th, 2002, 11:12 PM
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In the central part of Italy where extra virgin olive oil is mostly used we do indeed like to dip our oil in the bread, this is done though in a specific time period. The olive oil crop is in late November/beginning of December and I don't know if you have ever had the opportunity of tasting the oil as soon as it comes out of the press!! l'olio nuovo is simply scrumptious, then day after day it loses colour,taste and fragrance. So the answer is yes we do dip our bread in the oil but mostly in the fall. Most of the oils that are purchased in shops or served in restaurants are cheap blends of third class oils and god knows how old they are....
Apr 13th, 2002, 04:54 AM
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Quite some time ago I had saved an article written by Marcella Hazan where she wrote a great, get to the point, article about regional differences in Italian cooking. In the article she briefly discusses this issue of olive oil and bread. (It's an American thing, not Italian). If you'd like to read the article it's at made-in-italy.com/winefood/food/intro.htm
Her comments about olive oil are in the second last paragraph.
Apr 13th, 2002, 09:17 AM
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Interesting comments! I must say that I really don't care where it originated, it tastes great (especially with a little balsamic vinegar and some grated Parmesan cheese!, although I'm not sure that it's less filling!
Apr 14th, 2002, 01:26 PM
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Last nite while out to dinner at a nice restaurant in Boston, the bread was served with olive oil as it is now in so many restaurants in the U.S. I happened to say that in the six trips to Italy that I have made in the past eight years, and in the more than a hundred restaurants in five different regions that I have eaten, we never were served oil with bread. My fellow diners thought that it was a tradition there. Both sets of my grandparents were born in Italy, I have visited relatives there, and I never remember them eating oil with their bread. My experience does not mean that no Italian nationals dip bread in oil, but it certainly is not typical.
Apr 14th, 2002, 01:43 PM
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Ron, just curious as to what region your grandparents are from?
Apr 14th, 2002, 01:52 PM
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I believe Dario's comments are probably the most accurate on the subject. We were in Florence last November and were offered olive oil and bread in several restaurants. They were very proud of the oil and explained to us that it was "very green" and "very new." On prior trips to Italy at other times of the year, we were never offered bread and oil. So, it makes sense to me that it is the time of the year -- when the olives are first harvested. At any rate, it sure is good.
Apr 17th, 2002, 06:42 AM
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To Sandi:
My paternal grandparents were from Abruzzi, from a town called Castel del Giudice. My maternal grandparents were from Sicily, from a town call Santo Stefano de Briga. I have been to both places, and found the experience (considering the familial connection) just wonderful.

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