The Italians have a saying that goes something like: eating is just an excuse to get olive oil into the mouth. That’s how much it is prized…most important part of the meal.
Do you have DOP or PGI (as in protected origin and certified) olive oil? They would also have a unique bottle number stamped on the bottle. This oil is produced and then bottled at the origin. It doesn’t go through a chaotic supply chain of loaded into tanks, barrels, whatever, and get bottled somewhere else in the world. If so, these are the most precious bottle to set these aside…as in these are the most valuable.
Another thing to check for in all your bottles, certified or not, is the date at the back. Find out which one is freshest. I would consume the freshest one first, contrary to logic. Because the freshest olive oil is the most precious…the longer you wait, the more value gets lost…as in exponentially.
When consuming high quality ingredients, I like to follow the philosophy of “what grows together goes together”. So, for example, if you were gifted a PGI oil from Tuscany, think of that region. It is rolling hills, acres of a variety of Tuscan vegetables growing in the fields, wild boar with wild fennel pollen porchetta, Pecorino Toscano sheep milks cheese, dense forests with truffles and mushrooms, …etc. If it is a Sicilian oil, think fresh fish and seafood, etc…you get the picture. That is what you want to drizzle your precious gold olive oil on.
I agree you should not damage the oil by cooking with it. However, after the food is cooked, and placed in a platter or dish, drizzle or drench the food in oil. The hot steaming food will not damage the oil. In fact, it will release its unique bouquet and open the flavour and elevate it to a whole other level. The heat in your mouth is not adequate to open the bouquet fully. You will not experience the deeply encased flavour of the oil if you use it to dip cold crudités only. Coupling the oil with a freshly prepared hot dish helps to do that, and when the warmed oil has it’s bouquet open and hits your palate, it olive oil orgasm waiting to happen.
Hope this helps. Enjoy.