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Best brand of everyday use olive oil?

I just wanted to know where I could get some of your favorite olive oils for everyday everything use. I like a stronger "olivey" taste to my olive oil so should I avoid virgins? What does that imply? I'm a newb at this so I just wanted to be pointed at the right direction. I just want a bottle of great olive oil from somewhere I can get to--Trader Joes, Whole Foods, other large chain markets, etc. Thanks for the suggestions!

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  1. Trader Joe's! Cheap and good. Extra vergin olive oil is a little "grassier." I don't know if that's what you mean by olivey. You'll want to avoid light olive oil, which is more like a neutral oil (canola, corn, vegetable).

    Plus, if you buy something at TJ's or Whole Foods and hate it you can return it, no questions asked.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Pei

      Refined (non-virgin) olive oil, which has little olive flavor if any, has a higher smoke point than evol, so it's more suitable for high-temperature cooking such as sautéing.

      Trader Joe's for me too. For people with no TJ nearby, Cooks Illustrated recommends Da Vinci or if that's too expensive, Filippo Berio. Haven't used them. Colavita is also recommended, second to Da Vinci, but it costs more per ounce.

      1. re: John Francis

        In my area (Southern California), Da Vinci olive oil (not extra virgin) is outrageously hard to find. In fact, virtually any kind of non-extra virgin is hard to find at standard supermarkets. Even TJ's has a very limited selection when compared with the extra virgin varieties, but at least it's consistently available.

        Mr Taster

        1. re: Mr Taster

          I always see regular (non extra virgin) olive oil being sold at the Culver City and Torrance Costcos.. If you are looking.

          1. re: mstinawu

            Assuming you're referring to Da Vinci olive oil brand (non-extra virgin)? If you've seen this at Costco, that's definitely a find.

            Mr Taster

            1. re: Mr Taster

              Nope. I think it was Kirkland brand.

      1. I adore the greek olive oil sold at Trader Joe's. Greek olive oil is a bit stronger and more distinctive in flavor than your standard Italian stuff... but it adds such nuance to your dishes. Especially since many of your guests may not be familiar with Greek olive oil and will be so curious trying to put their finger on what it is that makes your salads, etc. just a little bit different...

        1. I'd say that an Extra virgin olive oil is more likely to have a stronger flavour and taste more like olives.

          Now, to answer your question:

          For cooking, I quite like Colavita as Shaebones suggested. Carapelli isn't bad either.

          For cold uses or finishing a light sauce, I like a greek olive sold as "Silver Leaf". It is carried at a local organic and natural foods store (Big Carrot in Toronto) and they have an experessly organic pressing as well as their standard pressing which is uncertified.

          1. For cooking, I usually use Colavita or WF's 365 brand extra virgin olive oil.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MMRuth

              I agree with MMRuth, these are my everyday brands. I've used these two for at least 10 years.

            2. Of the readily available EVOO (the TV foodie we all love to hate has made me feel stupid when I use that abbreviation) supermarket brands, I like Colavita as well. I also like the somewhat more assertive flavor of Ariston, a Greek oil that's sold in refillable bottles (i.e., large bulk container and you bring your bottle back for a refill) under the brand name Ariston in some of the "gourmet" farm stands. (And the Ariston balsamic sold the same way is pretty good as well.)

              1. For cooking, I like the big 3 liter jug of the 365 Whole Foods brand.

                For supermarket olive oil, I'll second or third Colavita.

                For salads &c, I like to try a lot of different ones. Whole Foods has some reasonably priced organic ones that are pretty good.

                I don't think I've ever tried the Greek oil, but now I'm intrigued!

                4 Replies
                1. re: Mill City Modern

                  Do you happen to know how much the 3-lt WF 365 brand costs? The two WF near me are generally free-for-all zoos so I only go if it's significantly worth it. (Good EVOO at a reasonable cost would be worth it.)

                  1. re: The Ranger

                    If the three litres is the big metal can, the last time I bought it I think it was around $20.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      Yes, it's the huge metal can and it's around$20.

                    2. re: The Ranger

                      The other thing I like from WF is their Canola Mayonnaise - I make my own sometimes as well, but even my DH who is particular about his mayonnaise, likes it as well. I find that their 365 brand products are good value - also the bottled Italian sparkling water - at $.89 a litre, it's much cheaper than Pellegrino. Tend to go to WF at non-peak times a do a quick soup of their staples that I like. In NY, I also find that their prices for dairy products are very good.

                  2. Thanks for all the suggestions. I do actually use Colativa at home for cooking and sauces. The Greek olive oil does sound intriguing--I will try it out on my next stop to Whole Foods. =)

                    1. For sauteing and high heat cooking, I generally use regular olive oil and any type will do (Currently using Goya.) But my Extra Virgin Olive Oil of choice is Frantoia. It's Sicilian, it's pretty expensive, and it is hands down the best. Very fruity. I am not brand loyal about many things but I always buy Frantoia. I have been cooking for years and it is definitely the best olive oil, IMHO.

                      1. I really like Zoe from Spain for the characteristics you say you enjoy. It is fairly cheap, especially if you buy the 3 ltr. size.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: mattrapp

                          As I've said before, Zoe makes more than one EVOO. The one from cornicabra olives has a powerfully peppery aftertaste which may not suit your needs.

                        2. Costco's house Kirkland brand is surprisingly OK for cooking. I'd use something finer for salads or to dress small plates, though, where you're tasting the olive oil directly.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Mr. Cookie

                            I'm a Kirkland fan -- I'll (generally) purchase Kirkland products over name-brand products because of the quality products I've experienced. But the Kirkland olive oil was just one of those products that I can't stand; it tasted of plastic. I ended up returning it.

                            1. re: Mr. Cookie

                              I think Kirkland olive oil is mixed with soybean oil. I have a soybean allergy that includes an allergy to soybean oil. I have had repeated reactions to Kirkland's brand olive oil that are identical to my reactions to soy (swollen tongue, hives, sneezing, runny nose, excruciating nausea). I can tolerate other olive oils and olives.

                            2. Which Costco olive oil did you buy? Apparently there are more than one kind. Last month (for the first time ever), I bought a liter of the Kirkland Signature limited quantity EVOO from the Tuscany 2005 olive harvest. It sells for under $11 and I think the flavor is very good--good enough to use on most everything, which really surprised me. It was clearly marked with the origin of the olives, where it was produced and the harvest date -- that's what convinced me to buy it. I doubt if I would like the more generic Costco olive oil.

                              I'm always experimenting with new EVOO's. One I liked recently was Oil of Paicines grown and produced in the CA Central Coast area.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Moka

                                The current Kirkland Signature is 2008 harvest.

                                Absolutely the best.
                                I tasted it for the first time shortly after returning from my prior trip to Italy (Nov 2008), where I tasted quite a few right-off-the press oils. It is definitely the real thing.

                                BUT keep in mind: freshly pressed EVOO only lasts for about 6 months. After that window, it becomes a more regular EVOO ( not bad, but not special ).

                                I wouldn't recommend any other olive oil from Costco.

                              2. Interesting this has come up as I was talking yesterday, with my Italian friend and cooking teacher about olive oil. She said she looks for three things...Extra Virgin, First Cold Press, and oil from Italy. She uses Kirkland for everyday. (The oil that comes in two large plastic bottles packaged together). I found that interesting as my husband does most of the cooking and has been using that oil for a long time. I always thought he bought it because it was reasonable (cheap). Wrong!!

                                Also, if you want a fabulous taste treat try Moulin "Jean-Marie Cornille" Olive Oil. It is available at Kermit Lynch and I believe Traverso's. I read about it in The Provence Cookbook by Patricia Wells, page 27. We love it on Acme Bread, toasted, with fresh tomatoes or goat cheese or whatever. It is expensive, but a large bottle and so worth it.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Cerise 37

                                  You should tell your cooking teacher that "oil from Italy" these days means about the same as "car from America".

                                  Read under "Mix and Match"

                                  Mr Taster

                                  1. re: Cerise 37

                                    Allow me to disagree with the " oil from Italy " statement. I was born and grew up in Greece. In the Greek military I had the chance to visit many rural areas. The most contaminated,dishonest,and fraudulant olive oil comes from Greece,and Italy.Sometimes even nowdays from Spain.They are selling " unleaded for super".
                                    So be very suspicious. "Spitiko" is a very old and reliable brand from Greece.I had DaVinci,Hermes extra virgin olive oils that tasted like pomace. WalMart,Sam's Club,Costco,Traders Joe,Whole foods are very big and powerful companies.
                                    The distributors know this ,so they keep it honest for their own good.
                                    There is no better olive oil in the world than the one from the north Mediteraneean coast.
                                    Libanon,Tunesia produce honest olive oil but I personally, don't like these varieties.
                                    Stein eiyia sou (Cheers)

                                  2. If you want a WOW olive oil, try toribethorganic from the etsy website. I have never tasted such a great flavor in any olive oil.

                                    1. I'm not that into Carapelli, but they do have an olive oil labeled as Carapelli Nobile, made with "olive pulp". I'm no expert, but I find it tastes pretty nice by itself, some other brands I find a little acrid when tasted alone.

                                      1. "Everyday everything use" is extremely broad. Different oils burn at different temperatures and therefore have different uses. www.cooksillustrated.com recommendations rarely steer me wrong, and their olive oil picks are no exception.

                                        For tossing in salads and other "raw" applications, look for Columela extra virgin. it has a full, beautiful, fruity flavor but it is hard to find and a little pricey at about $20. (I got my first bottle from amazon, and subsequently found it at a local Italian deli). When I can't get to the deli or don't feel like spending that much, I've found success with Trader Joe's Santorini extra virgin olive oil. Avoid cooking with extra virgin as it burns at a very low temperature.

                                        For cooking and sauteeing (not high heat applications), Da Vinci 100% pure olive oil can be found at some supermarkets (I've gotten it at the small family-owned supermarket chain How's Markets in LA, but I can't find it at any of the big Safeway conglomerate type supermarkets.) The stuff is extraordinary... a full, beautiful fruity flavor almost on par with an extra virgin. None of the other standard supermarket oils like Filippo Berio, Bertolli, etc. come anywhere near it (though Colavita comes closest).

                                        NOTE: this is not "Da Vinci Extra Virgin" which is found all over the Safeway style megamarts.... it is specifially called "Da Vinci 100% Pure"

                                        Mr Taster

                                        1. For everyday stuff, I get a huge container of Bertoli at Costco. I also babysit a doggie whose owner goes to Italy for work and he brings me back nice olive oils as a thank you for watching the dog, so I use those for vinaigrettes etc.

                                          1. I also like the WF 365 brand for everyday use, Pompeeian is decent also, don't like it in dressings, though.

                                            1. mstinawu,

                                              You've got it wrong on stronger "olivey" tasting olive oils. The extra virgin olive oils have more of that taste, not less.

                                              As for what I like for everyday use, as one of the other posters above said, "Cook's Illustrated" never steers you wrong. I liked DaVinci when they first recommended it a few years ago, but they said in the latest tasting that it had changed and they did not like it that much. They admitted, though, that it is an agricultural product and can vary. I like it still.

                                              I also like Vigo, which is a Tampa-area brand. The Vigo Company is an importer, and well as the name they have given to their extra virgin olive oil, and I am not sure how extensive their distribution is.

                                              I am also partial to Publix Supermarkets' house brand and I like Colavita (as did "Cooks' Illustrated" in their second tasting article.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: gfr1111

                                                I'll reply to your comment about DaVinci in order to make my more general point: olive oils are not the same year after year, so last year's bargain star is no sure thing 12 months later with a new crop. For EVOO, I buy at least two grades, one for cooking, where I mainly keep an eye out for sales. Colavita, DaVinci, Zoe, Bertolli, etc.--or big-box store specials. (Alas, we have no Cost-Co here, but I have liked some EVOO sold in Sam's Club.) Then I buy better oils to reserve for non-cooked applications.

                                              2. Can some one recommend some brands sold in Toronto? I've been using Bertolli or PC (supermarket brand) extra virgin. Does have that "olive" taste that some one mentioned. Grassy? Don't recall.

                                                Love to hear from Italian-Canadians or Americans.

                                                Perhaps some one could suggest brands sought after in Italy that have been imported to Toronto.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: BDD888

                                                  Have you tried Terra Delyssa yet? It's quite fruity and nothing like any of the versions offered by Loblaw's and definitely doesn't taste anything like Bertolli. On the west coast it's sold at Superstore in 3L tins.

                                                  1. re: BDD888

                                                    Saloio, look in Portuguese neighborhood

                                                  2. I've taken a chance on brands I've never heard of... from places like Home Goods... even Big Lots and a place called Ollies (mostly close-out items). I look for something on label like "product of... Spain, Italy, etc.". Have paid as little as $5-6 a quart/liter and have yet to have one NOT taste "olivey" the way I like it.

                                                    OLive oil is something we NEVER had at home when I was a kid. First time I had it as part of a salad dressing... was HOOKED!