Olive Oil: The New Wine?

You will never get me to say on the record that I don’t love a nice bottle of wine wrapped up in foil and presented to me by dinner guests. I mean, come on, that’s just crazy. But I am going on the record to say something that has never been said before. (Except maybe by me, I think, six years ago in Real Simple…wish I could find that link.) Here goes: When it comes to host gifts Olive Oil should be the New Wine. I mean, think about it: When you get a bottle of wine as a host, generally, you drink it that night or at some point within the week and generally, you sort of forget who gave it to you. The gift of wine is a wonderful gesture — I’m not saying it’s not — it’s just that olive oil can sometimes be more wonderful. Because it usually catches you by surprise and because it can be stretched out for weeks, forcing you to remember the giver’s generosity every time you make a homemade vinaigrette or a eat a bowl of Sunday Minestrone, which demands a high-quality drizzle upon serving.

A few of my favorites to give and get: Grove (shown above, $32-$45); McEvoy Ranch (from $23); Frankie’s Spuntino ($18); Pasolivo (From $24) and Volpaia ($28). You could also just take a stroll through your favorite market and see what looks good. (Whole Foods has tons of options.) A few things to look for before you purchase: You want the words “extra virgin” on the label, but don’t worry about “cold pressed” which nowadays means next to nothing; Dark, opaque bottles generally signify quality. (The good ones know that light and heat can be damaging.) Look for a date stamp — you don’t want to buy oil that’s more than a year old. Also, it doesn’t hurt to buy something pretty. It is a gift after all.

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Rae Lovvorn

That’s a great idea! We have a tea plantation not far from us, so we sometimes take dried local tea, for similar reasons. I’ll keep olive oil in mind for the next time I need a host/ess gift.


I don’t know why I’ve never thought of this—but I now I want to return half the things I bought and get people olive oil instead, ha!

A Life From Scratch

Agree! I’m a huge wine fan, but, if someone brought me a beautiful gift of olive oil as a hostess gift – well, it would be my favorite by far! I would think of that spectacular person every time I used it – which, would be a lot.


This is EXCELLENT! I just made a note to pick up a bottle, using your tips, for a party this weekend being thrown by our fellow food-loving friends. Thank you! I have learned so much from this blog, I just adore it!

Julie M

Great idea, and thanks for the tip about “cold pressed”. Things are so heavily labeled/described it can be overwhelming.


Totally love this! A nice balsamic vinegar is another wonderful choice for a foodie friend or hostess gift.


Jenny, you are so right. My neighbor went to Italy this past summer and she brought me back a can of olive oil. I was touched by her gift and I remembered her generosity each time I used it. It elevated every day chicken cutlets to a whole new level.


I fried chips on olive oil, I cook with it, I dress, I season with it. Cannot do anything in the kitchen without olive oil… It’s a great gift. There are a lot of “gourmet” versions that I’ve already offered as a present


What a great gift idea! I’d recommend Saratoga Olive Oil Co. They have wonderful, fresh extra virgin olive oils as well as infused olive oils. Check them out online!


This is great! I actually just gave a set of four olive oils that were different flavors. I found it at a holiday market and even wish I had picked some up for me!


I absolutely love this idea. I too wish I thought of it. I certainly will be doing this from now on.


I had the same thought and stocked up on Saratoga Oils and Vinegars to gift the last time we were in Burlington, VT. If you haven’t been to one of their stores, I highly recommend it.