In my house, we have given up using olive oil other than Hawkes Farm Extra Virgin. This oil isn’t cheap, but the flavor is so wonderful and intense that I feel like I’m getting more bang for the buck when I use it – partly in terms of flavor for dollar, but also in terms of flavor for waistline. The olives for this oil are grown here in Alexander Valley; they’re Tuscan varieties harvested early in the year, when they are still pretty green. The variety of olive and early harvest date give the oil a fresh, grassy, spicy character that you hardly ever find in supermarket olive oil. It gives everything you put it on, from pasta to salad an extra dimension of pungent olivey aroma and flavor.