Kitchn Love Letters

The New Savory “Dessert Finisher” I’ll Be Reaching for All Summer Long

published May 11, 2023
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

The first time I tasted olive oil in a dessert, I was so confused and delighted all at the same time that I couldn’t stop going in for another bite. It was an olive oil gelato from my favorite pizza spot in New York, who served it drizzled generously with more olive oil and a pinch of flaky sea salt. The savory, grassy notes of the oil were such a surprising match for the sweet ice cream, and yet it totally worked! Thereafter, I not only would go out of my way for a scoop of that gelato, but I also became mildly obsessed with the use of olive oil in dessert. So much so that olive oil cake was our wedding cake.

So from the moment I spotted McEvoy Ranch Chai Spice Olive Oil, I knew I needed it in my pantry. While I’ve seen olive oil flavored with the likes of rosemary and chile peppers, chai-spiced oil was totally new to me. I love the warming spices of cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger that are typical of chai, but I couldn’t quite imagine how they’d play with olive oil. One drizzle on my ice cream was all I needed to convince me it’s absolutely brilliant. 

Credit: Sheela Prakash

What’s So Great About McEvoy Ranch Chai Spice Olive Oil?

McEvoy Ranch, based out of Petaluma, California, produces all sorts of wonderful olive oils, but it’s the flavored olive oils that are especially unique. The company uses what is known as the agrumato method where it simultaneously crushes olives with fresh herbs, fruits, or spices together rather than simply infusing the oil. The result — in the case of this chai olive oil — is an oil that’s heady with spices. Ginger, cardamon, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, and black and pink peppercorns lend warmth and sweetness that’s balanced by the savory oil. Truly, it’s unlike anything I’ve tasted before.

What’s the Best Way to Use McEvoy Ranch Chai Spice Olive Oil?

If you’re dubious about using olive oil in desserts, this is the bottle that will convince you. While you could absolutely bake with it (it would be fantastic in this chocolate olive oil cake), it’s such a special oil that I prefer to use it as a finishing oil instead. This time of year, my after-dinner treats are as simple as they come, thanks to peak-summer fruit, and this chai spice olive oil will be what I continuously reach for to finish them off. Here are just a handful of ways you’ll find me using it.

  • Poured over a bowl of vanilla ice cream with berries or sliced stone fruit.
  • Drizzled on chocolate mousse or pudding.
  • Tossed with fruit salad.
  • Brushed on peach halves before and after grilling.
  • Drizzled on pound cake with whipped cream.

Buy: McEvoy Ranch Chai Spice Olive Oil, $40 for 375 mL at McEvoy Ranch

Have you tried flavored olive oils? Tell us about it in the comments below.