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bulk olive oil in berkeley/oakland ?

Hi there, just getting resettled here in the Bay Area from a too long stint on the east coast. Any recommendations for places to buy good bulk oil? Berkeley Bowl?


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  1. The Pasta Shop's the only place I've seen it.

    I don't think the Bowl sells liquids in bulk.

    Pasta Shop
    1786 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

    4 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Yes, the Pasta Shop on 4th has 3-4 varieties from which to choose. They usually have one Spanish oil. The PS on College had only one oil in bulk when I lived in that neighborhood 3 years ago.

      They also sell bottles for your olive oil or you can bring your own or you can even get it in a plastic takeout container if you've forgotten your bottle.

      I've been very happy with the oils I've bought at PS on 4th and it takes a lot for me to brave 4th Street these day.

      1. re: chocolatetartguy

        I've been buying bulk oil at the Pasta Shop for years, and they always have three excellent choices. Recently I've been favoring the California Olive Ranch oil they offer. It used to be made from pure arbequina (Spanish) olives, but is now made with a blend of Spanish olives, including arbequina. I've read that California Olive Ranch is a huge commercial operation--if I remember right, the largest in the state--but trust me, they are making a terrific product. It's smooth and nutty with an amazing texture/mouth feel.

        Monterey Market sells it in bottles at $9.95 (unless it's gone up recently), which is cheaper than I've seen the bottles anywhere else and about the same as you'll pay buying it in bulk at the Pasta Shop. (I just bought some there and refilled the bottle I bought at Monterey Market for just under $10.)

        1. re: TopoTail

          What is the size of the bottle?

          1. re: wolfe

            California Olive Ranch uses 500ml bottles.

    2. I believe that the Berkeley Whole Foods (on Telegraph & Ashby) sells it.

      Berkeley Bowl does sell liquids in bulk, but they are pre-packaged... they're to the right of the counter where you have your bulk foods weighed and labeled. If I remember correctly, they carry olive oil and maybe one other oil, plus, honey, agave syrup, and others.

      1. For cooking, I used to buy Kalamata olive oil in 3-4 liter cans at Lucca Ravioli in SF, but these days I get it by the bottle at Trader Joe's.

        1. How much do you need and what quality? Might just head to Costco or a warehouse type store.

          7 Replies
          1. re: ML8000

            Magnani may sell it (Hopkins at Monterey)- they used to, along with a number of vinegars.

            1. re: ML8000

              Costco used to carry a good, relatively inexpensive EVOO, but to my taste, Trader Joe's Kalamata is currently better.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                I buy extra light olive oil from Costco for basic cooking. Interestingly, it usually costs more then EVOO in standard grocery stores I think I get 6 liters for around $20. I also buy EVOO from TJ for salads...hard to beat those prices.

                1. re: ML8000

                  Kirkland "Signature Pure" is currently about $5.50 a liter. I think TJ's EVOO Kalamata is now $8.

                  For salads I like Oleificio Chianti Buonsapore, which I prefer to think of as costing 50 cents per tablespoon.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    I've never bought EVOO from Costco. The price is better but there's no way I can use that much. I can use that much extra light w/i a year but not EVOO.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Costco/Kirkland oil is sold in plastic bottles which I've read is not good. True?

                      1. re: baron45

                        The quart / liter bottles are glass. Big jugs are plastic.

              2. Farmer Joes on Fruitvale sells it. I don't know the price.

                1. Magnini Poultry on Hopkins has it and IMO it is better and less expensive than the stuff at Pasta Shop

                  You might check Lola's on Solano. They sell it by the bottle, but ... it is the olive oil they use for the restaurant. This is just excellent stuff. John wanted to make good quality olive oil available to customers without having to pay big bucks.

                  If you are ever in Napa, the olive oil shop in Oxbow Market has some

                  1. Stonehouse stand at the Tuesday Berkeley Farmers Market usually has their house blend oil in bulk, and last week had their delicioso Arbequina in bulk as well. May be pricier than what you are looking for, but it's really delicious oil.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Armoise

                      Stonehouse also has a store (olive oil and vinegar tasting) on 4th Street in Berkeley - a few doors North of Restoration Hardware, pass the Art Gallery.
                      Also if you feel like taking a drive in Fairfield near the Jelly Belly Plant - Sepay Groves has an olive oil store - tasting - sorry I do not have the address but it is in the industrial area off the freeway across from the Guittard Warehouse.

                    2. Still need to know what you consider bulk and grade of oil. Foreign or domestic?

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: wolfe

                        wow, great ideas. Thanks.

                        Mostly interested in foreign. Spanish, Portuguese, Tuscan. All very different but we like them all. We used to be 3-5liter tins at Whole Foods when we lived on the east coast, but hoping to go in and refill gallon jugs and support a local vendor.

                        Ideally would like to by something with a unique flavor, which you often don't get at the big places where the oils are blended. But I could be overgeneralizing. Possible that Costco's is a single-origin type oil. But tough for that to be the case when the oils are purchased in such bulk.

                        1. re: edgrimley

                          If you want to support a local vendor, check out the farmers markets, though (with a few exceptions like the $40/liter Stonehouse Arbequina rworange mentions) I have found few that I liked and none that were good values. Stutz is pretty good but starts around $16/L.

                          Molinari's used to carry a good, relatively inexpensive oil from Orland, CA. Not sure of the brand or if they still have it. It's a Portuguese family operation.

                          Costco's "extra light" is refined so pretty much flavorless.

                          1. re: edgrimley

                            Magnani has Delizia products in large containers with spigots. I haven't tried their oil but regularly use their pomegranate balsamic. Price about $11-12/ liter, I think.

                            Magnani Poultry
                            1576 Hopkins St, Berkeley, CA

                            1. re: wolfe

                              Yeah, I love their pomegranate vinegar. There are little plastic cups to sample the vinegars and olive oils.

                              1. re: rworange

                                Magnani 1:15 update. They are pumps not spigots.There are at least 9 different oils. They are $11.99 a large bottle. (qt or l?) Some are labelled with olive variety such as Cortina, Mission, Korneiki or Barnea. Some are flavored, Blood Orange, Persian Lime, Garlic, or Whole Lemon. One is Phoenician and I don't know if that is an olive variety or the boat it came over on. They also have 7-8 vinegars including a sherry. All are available for tasting.

                        2. If it is bulk you want the kitchen where I work uses oil from the Pasta Shop, California Olive Ranch oil Arbequina in 2.5 gallon containers.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: wolfe

                            your kitchen should buy from Veronica Foods, who imports oils from Calif. and around the world. You'll get better oils at much better prices than the Pasta Shop!

                            1. re: the cooker

                              It not necessary to import oil from California and I believe the oil from Pasta Shop from California Olive Ranch has been praised in this thread. The price 2 years ago was about $75 for 2.5 gallon for extra virgin. The present price for a 2.5 gallon bag in a box California EV olive oil fron Veronica is $100.

                              1. re: wolfe

                                I would like to point out that the pricing you have quoted for Veronica Foods is inaccurate (I know because I purchase from them all the EVOO & Balsamic for both of my restaurants in Berkeley & for my place in Piedmont). I think you've confused West Coast Products with Veronica's? Pretty sure the two companies aren't affiliated, and West Coast only does California products while Veronica's provides California olive oil as well as imports.

                                Veronica's is the only place I have found that will provide the numbers of the oil (polyphenols, etc), which I find incredibly helpful when I'm pairing olive oils for different uses and dishes.

                                1. re: napoligirl

                                  Thank you for the clarification. The West Coast link was under Veronica Foods on one of searches and I mistook it for a link to their prices. Are Veronica's oils just the Deliza brand covered above in the Magnini discussion above?

                          2. Market Hall in Rockridge sells bulk olive oil. I don't know the price though.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: lucymom

                              That's the Pasta Shop discussed above.

                            2. Magnani (Hopkins, near the Monterey Market) has several bulk oils at a good price. Most of them are California products. Maybe all, I can't remember. Can't say anything about quality though because I've never bought oil there.

                              Re Costco: I don't think there's a better deal on olive oil than their Tuscan oil. Ten dollars for a liter. Current crop (fall, 2010). Real Tuscan olive oil not something from Tunisia, bottled in Italy and labeled Italian (as much of the stuff on the supermarket shelf is). It's a blend of typical Tuscan varieties and quite a robust oil. Note that there are several olive oils at Costco. The organic is, I'm told, well regarded, but it's in plastic bottles. Haven't tried it myself. Then there are lesser grades. I'd stay away from those.

                              I also like Trader Joe's California Arbequina olive oil. Highly likely that it is from California Olive Ranch, which is the largest olive oil producer in the US and probably the only one capable of supplying the volume TJ's needs. But, don't let COR's size dissuade you. They are producing a fine quality olive oil in the Spanish tradition. More buttery and milder than, say, Costco's Tuscan oil.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Gustavo Glenmorangie

                                I just bought some organic olive oil from Costco in plastic bottles. Can you elaborate the issue of oil in plastic bottles? are there specific food safety concern such as leaching?

                                1. re: ckshen

                                  Found several warnings like this one. In the bag in box I would expect the O2 problem to be avoided.
                                  "Avoid buying olive oil in plastic containers because some of the compounds used in the manufacture of the plastic may be absorbed by the oil. If you have to buy oil packaged in plastic, transfer it to a glass or stainless steel container after you open it since contact with oxygen can trigger the chemical reaction."

                                  1. re: ckshen

                                    Sorry, I really just meant to distinguish the organic oil from the Tuscan oil. I don't think the plastic bottles are a hugely big deal except for the aesthetics of glass vs. plastic. In general, I do make an effort to avoid plastic containers but that's becoming increasingly hard to do.

                                    However, for what it's worth, I don't think there's much of a price difference between the Tuscan and the organic and anytime I can buy real, current crop, Tuscan DOC olive oil at $10/liter, it's just not going to matter to me that it's not organic.

                                    I don't know if it's true or not, but I've heard that Costco buys the entire output of a Tuscan olive oil coop every year for their Tuscan blend. It sells out well before the new crop arrives.

                                2. This place has opened recently -- I have not been there yet.
                                  I believe they sell in bulk.
                                  Amphora-Berkeley Olive Oil
                                  2928 Domingo Ave
                                  Berkeley, CA 94705-2454

                                  It's across from the Claremont Hotel.



                                  2 Replies
                                    1. re: Joel

                                      They do not have any prepackaged bottles (they bottle everything when you buy it), so I would think their entire selection would be available in bulk. They have a pretty wide selection of flavored and unflavored oils and will let you sample anything. The olive oils are pretty good, but I would say not any better than places like the Pasta Shop. They also have a lot of flavored balsamic vinegars, most of which I found pretty strange tasting (things like coconut and chocolate flavored).

                                      The staff is very friendly.

                                    2. If you are in San Francisco, I found the bulk Olive Oil at Rainbow Grocery excellent. It is from a company called Vida Oliva, who imports premium, organic single cultivator oils from the south of Spain. The bulk oil is a Picual varietal from Andalusia and it has that wonderful big flavor that Spanish oils are known for. Rainbow and Farm Fresh to You have the bottled product as well. I heard through the company that many Bay Area restaurants use it in their kitchens. Such as, Restaurant LuLu, COCO500, La Folie, and Manresa.

                                      Manresa Restaurant
                                      320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

                                      Rainbow Grocery
                                      1745 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                      La Folie
                                      2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: real5151

                                        How much is the olive oil at Rainbow Grocery ?

                                        Rainbow Grocery
                                        1745 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                        1. re: baron45

                                          I really don't remember, although it's super competitive.. cuz you fill and re-fill your own bottles or the store supplied bottles. The quality is super high and I know they sell a lot of it, so the turnover of fresh product is rapid.