Invite your friends over and have your own olive oil tasting! Here are a couple of ideas that are easy to prepare and make perfect, healthy Italian appetizers. Serve them with a light white wine, spumante or cool rosé.


(Raw Vegetables Dipped in Oil)

This recipe starts when you make a trip to the best produce market or farmer's market in your neighborhood. Pick out the freshest looking dipping vegetables from among the following:

Fennel bulbs
Celery hearts
Red, yellow and green bell peppers

Slice or cut the vegetables into appetizer-sized pieces and keep them in ice water until you are ready to serve them. Gather several attractive small bowls and into each pour half a cup of one of cold press extra-virgin olive oil arrange the vegetable pieces on one platter. Let your guests dip each vegetable piece in the oil and garnish with plenty of fine sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Fresh crusty bread is a great accompaniment and another perfect way to taste your oils.


One of the world's favorite appetizers is also easy and fun to make, especially on the barbecue or over coals in a fireplace. Start with a loaf of first-class crusty bread. Slice it fairly thick. Cover with cloth napkins to keep fresh.

Have ready:
Cold press extra-virgin olive oil
Several large cloves of garlic sliced in half lengthwise

When everyone is gathered around the fire, place the bread slices on a grill and toast them until they are slightly charred. Rub a halved garlic clove all over the top of each slice, then use a tablespoon to dribble on some oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Eat as many as you like because it couldn't get any healthier than this! And by the way, don't forget to teach your friends how to pronounce this delicacy (brus-KET-a).

Buon appetito!