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olive oil

  • c
  • chr Aug 15, 2006 05:15 AM

looking for the best extra virgin olive oil, one organic and one regular. any recommendations? and where can I find them? thanks!

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  1. There is no one 'best' olive oil. It is very subjective and different oils might be suited for different food. One might prefer the peppery oil from Tuscany, the light clean taste of Liqurian oil, the sweet and subtle oil from Provence, or the full body oil from Spain. The peppery Tuscan oil is great for beans, some pasta, with greens. The Liqurian oil goes particularly well with seafood. I would just go to a shop that carries a good selection of olive oil and sample some.

    1. If you're in NYC go to Fairway or the olive oil only store (I forget the name) in Grand Central Station. They both have tons of sample tastes along with the oil's information.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bigmackdaddy

        It's Oliviers & Co. at Grand Central Terminal. See http://www.oliviersandco.com/FO/

      2. I guess I'm looking for one to use primarily for salads and dips...

        2 Replies
        1. re: chr

          Well, it still depends on your own personal preferrence -- no one else can tell you what that is.

          1. re: chr

            I have searched high and low for my favorite oil for dipping. So far I've come up with Academia Barilla's Chianti Classico (AB makes at least nine different verieties, each one VERY different). I picked up mine from a local store, but I have found it on the internet, though the price seems to have gone up from $23 to $30 for 17 ounces. Just like the website says: strong hints of green pepper and artichoke, no spicy aftertaste. www.dibruno.com
            PS - If you don't want to spend so much, there is nothing wrong with Safeway EVOO, nice flavor, inoffensive.

          2. As I always recomend when this topic comes up, go to Zingermans- www.zingermans.com.
            Click on the olive oil tab (left side) and note the fact that you can shop by region - California, Italy, France, Spain, ect. or you can shop by flavor - light and elegant, buttery and silky, assertive but smooth, or my favorites, rustic and fruity.
            Experiment, spend a little $ and YOU decide which is best and enjoy the process!

            1. Don't make the mistake of thinking Italian oils are inherently better than those from elsewhere. You pay a premium for the "Product of Italy" label (and, do be careful not to pay the same premium for olive oils that are merely "Imported from Italy" because they are merely packed there). Olive oils from all over (France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Tunisia, Greece...California) can be wonderful.

              1. the best olive oil is the one that if you have a relative on the other side with olive trees sneaks you over a gallon of home pressed oil with another relative.

                1 Reply
                1. re: byrd

                  exactly. it doesn't matter what part of the meditteranean they're from. it is always amazing when it's "home-made."

                  however, I don't always have access to that. L'estornell from Spain, the extra-virgin organic version is what I usually buy.

                2. My favortie and also widely available olive oil is Ybarra. It is from Spain and really pretty fantastic

                  1. Ravida..made in Italy. Extra Virgin. EXCELLENT! We get it at Williams Sonoma.

                    1. Rather than endorsing a particular brand, I recommend that you look for early harvest olive oils (AKA September harvest, October harvest or green olive). These oils are made before the olives turn black. The olives have a much lower oil content at this time so the process is more labor intensive, requires more olives and is more expensive. It is the more traditional method for oil production and the flavor of the oil is much more concentrated and pure; many of the late harvest oils taste watered down to me. Some find that the early harvest oils are too bitter but I absolutely love them.

                      1. Thanks so much for all your input. I'm sure it'll take me a while to find my favorites...

                        1. from your other posts, it looks like you may be in the bay area. if so, head over to the ferry building in the city. they've got a couple of great olive oil stands including stonehouse, a local company that is planning on going into organic production. the people working there seem pretty knowledgable and willing to engage in conversation. AND you get to sample several varieties like special reserve, lemon, and original!

                          http://www.stonehouseoliveoil.com/

                          1. One that is very good for the uses you are interested in, is Zoe. It is from Spain, has a very pronounced fruity flavor, and is relativley inexpensive.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mattrapp

                              Be careful. Zoe is just a brand name, and they make several oils from different kinds of olives. I have a bottle of Zoe made with cornicabra olives that I think is horrible for bread dipping.

                              Overall, the two most important factors in an olive oil are the strength of flavor and the spiciness. Unfortunately, they often go together. For bread dipping and for the salads I make, I go for as strong a flavor as possible without spiciness.
                              The OP needs to figure out what level of each is desirable, and then search out those descriptors when searching the web or going into a store. Unless you have a very specific recommendation, avoid buying oils from the internet unless they mention level of spiciness and strength of flavor. Or you could easily waste a ton of money.

                            2. I agree that Zoe (Spanish) is very good for the price. Another really decent-for-the-price general purpose one... I hesitate to recommend ... is the Whole foods private label extra virgin. Its slightly fruity but balanced. Great for homemade pizza dough, salad dressings, and breads.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: crazycook

                                Why do you hesitate to recommend Whole Foods? This is a valuable tip as it is cheap and readily available. Safeway EVOO, for example, is perfectly fine and cheap. Low to medium strength of flavor, but if you are relying on other ingredients for that, it doesn't really matter.

                              2. Cook's Illustrated's top extra virgin olive oil pick is DaVinci. It's great stuff that I swear by. Plus, it only costs $4.70 for 17oz at my local SuperTarget. It's actually the cheapest they sell, but awesome. Works for me!

                                1. I've been ordering Mcevoy from Napa Valley for years. I've never been disappointed. It's peppery and very slightly bitter. Their unfiltered, organic Nuovo comes out around Thanksgving.

                                  1. Instead of fixating on the brand, try different olive varieties to find out which ones you like the best--there is a huge difference in the flavor of different types of olives (just as there is in different types of apples). Some are better suited for cooking, frying, drizzling, etc. Just in Spain there are 200 different varieties grown (though not all for oil). These are the most common:

                                    arbequna
                                    picual
                                    hojiblanca
                                    picuda/picudo
                                    empeltre
                                    cornicabra
                                    blanqueta
                                    verdial
                                    lechín

                                    If the bottle you are buying doesn't say which variety or varieties that it contains, there is no telling what you are getting (though it is probably picual). Once you identify the varieties that you like the best, then you can experiment with the time when they were pressed (some are better early; others later in the season) and different brands.