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Jul 14, 2008 11:01 AM

Italian Olive Oils

I went to a wine tasting event yesterday that had some other booths related to the wine industry...such as olive oils. I ended up buying two different Italian olive oils:

1. Riviera Ligure DOP from Academia Barilla--supposedly a lighter, delicate oil from northern Italy. I didn't get to taste this one because they had one bottle left...and it was being sold by a very attractive Italian man named Francesco who was very persuasive. $25 for c. 25oz

2. Primo from Olio & Olive--A strongly fruity oil from Sicily. I did try this one and liked it quite a bit. $30 for c. 25 oz. (Sold by a very attractive Italian man named Marco!)

I was wondering if anyone else has tried these oils and what your reactions were.

My cooking group is having an Italian dinner this Saturday night and I am making an Arugula/Endive/Toasted Walnut Salad with a white wine vinaigrette (white wine, lemon juice, mustard, honey, salt, pepper EVOO). Thought I might make 2 batches of the with each do a comparison.

Also, what variety of white wine might work best in the vinaigrette? Any suggestions?

Just curious as to what everyone else thought of these oils since I have never used either before.


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  1. Ok, I can't honestly say that I've tried the brands of olive oil that you mention...but I'm married to an Italian (btw: who I found to be very attractive & persuasive!) and have lived in Italy for a couple of years (now I'm in Spain). While there, I enjoyed trying olive oils from each region of Italy and did notice quite some strong differences in taste. Funnily enough, each region in Italy claims to have the best olive oil. So, who's right depends on personal taste.

    Olive oil from Liguria is much more delicate in taste than say, Tuscan olive oils that have a strong colour & fruity, peppery taste (which I prefer). I'm guessing your Riviera Ligure DOP oil from Academia Barilla belongs to the Barilla pasta group?

    The dressing on your salad might be a bit too rich (mustard & honey & white wine) to notice the subtle taste of the Ligurian oil. You might be better off serving it simple - as the Italians do - with Balsamic vinegar & olive oil...with a sprinkle of salt & pepper over the salad leaves (maybe even some shaved parmiggiano-reggiano cheese). Even better would be to do some bruschetta (grill some pieces of good rustic bread) and drizzle with the oils and serve hot...this would be the best way to really get a "taste" for the oils.

    Hope this helps!

    1 Reply
    1. re: msmarabini

      Thanks for the feedback! The way our cooking group works is that the hostess plans an entire menu and then we sign up for recipes that she I am not at liberty to change the recipe without being subject to a flogging! The honey and mustard are added in very small quantities. If I find the Ligurian oil too light to stand up to the recipe, I might offer that as alternative to the dressing in the recipe with just a bit of balsamic to go with it as you suggested.

      Thanks again!