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olive oil

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. PBSF RE: chr Aug 15, 2006 05:47 AM

    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. bigmackdaddy RE: chr Aug 15, 2006 05:51 AM

      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
        surman RE: bigmackdaddy Jul 2, 2009 02:46 PM

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

      2. c
        chr RE: chr Aug 15, 2006 06:20 AM

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

        2 Replies
        1. re: chr
          Ruth Lafler RE: chr Aug 15, 2006 07:00 AM

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

          1. re: chr
            Steve RE: chr Aug 15, 2006 01:13 PM

            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. Tee RE: chr Aug 15, 2006 01:29 PM

            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. Karl S RE: chr Aug 15, 2006 01:32 PM

              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. byrd RE: chr Aug 15, 2006 01:46 PM

                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
                  fara RE: byrd Aug 15, 2006 09:25 PM

                  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. frankiii RE: chr Aug 15, 2006 01:57 PM

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

                  1. m
                    melly RE: chr Aug 15, 2006 05:50 PM

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

                    1. Morton the Mousse RE: chr Aug 15, 2006 06:11 PM

                      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. c
                        chr RE: chr Aug 16, 2006 04:24 AM

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

                        1. l
                          lawrence RE: chr Aug 16, 2006 04:58 AM

                          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!


                          1. m
                            mattrapp RE: chr Aug 16, 2006 01:03 PM

                            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
                              Steve RE: mattrapp Aug 17, 2006 12:05 AM

                              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. c
                              crazycook RE: chr Aug 16, 2006 03:59 PM

                              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
                                Steve RE: crazycook Aug 17, 2006 12:14 PM

                                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. d
                                dotMac RE: chr Aug 17, 2006 12:20 AM

                                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. l
                                  lisaomay RE: chr Sep 13, 2006 08:36 PM

                                  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. b
                                    butterfly RE: chr Sep 14, 2006 01:21 AM

                                    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:


                                    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.

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