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Olive oil in big cans

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hughb Feb 25, 2009 06:47 AM

I'm tired of supermarket olive oils. Looking to buy a big can of extra virgin olive oil for everyday cooking. I want something decent, but not break-the-bank expensive; I keep a jar of very good expensive EVOO on hand for those occasions when the pure olive oil taste is important.

I've been to Bari foods and to the Greek grocery store on Halsted in Greektown. They have the big cans that I want but the brands are bewildering, and I don't want to buy a huge quantity only to be disappointed.

Anyone have any advice on a good brand and a place to get a big can of it in Chicago? Greek? Italian? Spanish?

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  1. chicgail RE: hughb Feb 25, 2009 06:55 AM

    I use different kinds of EVOO for different purposes also.

    I happen to favor Spanish olive oil for it's fruitiness when I want to flavor something with olive oil, but for everyday cooking I use the EVOO in large plastic bottles from Costco. The price is right: two two-liter bottles for $24.. My only concern is ever that it not go rancid before I use it, but I've not had that problem.

    I'll be interested in seeing other people's recommendations.

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      Stuccolow RE: hughb Feb 25, 2009 06:58 AM

      I can't help you with the brand, but we buy Pomace Oil in the big can and use it for cooking.

      It's inexpensive and fairly flavorless. I believe it's Italian and have seen it available at Super Tonys. Which, btw, has some great First, cold pressed, organic Italian olive oil in a liter size for $15. It's super green, cloudy, and fresh tasting. Worth checking it out.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Stuccolow
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        CJT RE: Stuccolow Feb 25, 2009 01:38 PM

        Pomace oil is based on heating residue from olives which have already been pressed for EVOO or other, high level, oil qualities. Pomace oil is one of the lowest in quality and flavor and is not recommended for cooking if you want the flavor of olive oil to be present. You are right that it is inexpensive and flavorless. There are many Greek, Italian, and Spanish Extra Virgin varieties available in ethnic supermarkets (Garden Fresh Market, Butera, for example) at very reasonable prices ($4-$7 per liter) which would suffice for the OP's cooking needs. Just read the label carefully, as there are several brands which prominently say EVOO or VOO but are actually blends of olive and other oils (they are cheap but not good).

      2. g
        gordeaux RE: hughb Feb 25, 2009 01:51 PM

        I bet Racconto would do the trick for you. For a value play, look for Tannina brand. It's a little bit of a stronger flavor than the better quality EVOO, but it's my go to every day brand for salad dressings, and sauteeing. Racconto will be a tad pricier and a a little lighter tasting.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gordeaux
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          gordeaux RE: gordeaux Mar 2, 2009 02:17 PM

          Just as a reference point to what others have posted about prices. Tannina brand 3 liters in cans should be easily avail for 16.00 or less, and it is Extra Virgin, not a blend, not pomace, not reg olive oil. Racconto should run around 20.00. That's what I meant about a value play. I find it to be very decent for everyday evoo use. I do find Colavita better, but just not 10+ dollars better. And beware of "Blends" - I think it's the Celio brand that has it kinda sneakily labeled as a blend. I got burned once before on it. I thought I was getting a decent price - 3.99 for a liter, but I knew as soon as I tasted it.

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          jbw RE: hughb Feb 26, 2009 05:24 AM

          I buy my EVO by the can (3 liters) at Caputo's on Harlem, along with a lot of other Italian specialties in bulk (pasta, tomatoes, polenta, etc.). Excellent value. I'm partial now to a Sicilian oil (Partanna) for its fruitiness, but I've also purchased Celio (much lighter, creamier flavor) and Colavito (somewhere in between the two). Prices vary, as do exchange rates, but I think my recent purchases have been in $27 range. A similar selection of olive oils can be found at Riviera, further up on Harlem. Altho Riviera's more of a mom-and-pop grocery store than Caputo's, they also have an excellent selection of salumi and will put together one of the better subways in the area for you.

          2 Replies
          1. re: jbw
            chicgail RE: jbw Feb 26, 2009 05:46 AM

            I'd forgotten about Colavito. It's a darn good everyday olive oil.

            1. re: jbw
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              amoncada RE: jbw Feb 27, 2009 10:01 AM

              Yep, you're right on the money! I love Caputo's and Riviera...can't believe how inexpensive Riviera is, WOW!! It kills me that I can't remember the Italian brand that my mom buys for me, just threw out the can...I'll get back to you on this. My mother has a rather discriminatining palate, she really knows her vinegars and olive oils.

              Riviera's is fantastic!!!!! Ask the owner about the best Italian brand of olive oil. Also try the following;
              -Di Nigris Balsamic Vinegar (a decent cheapy every day brand)
              -Genova tuna in olive oil (YUCK, tuna in water is terrible!!)
              -Imported Italian tomato's, fantastic!!
              -Mortadella, Spec, and Italian Sausage with garlic and fennel from the deli counter, YUM!!
              -Imported Italian cheeses
              Riviera's is an old school Italian Imports deli. You will be transported back in time, it's like something out of the 1940's.

              BTW: The Kirkland brand of EVOO at Costco is pretty darn good and only $11-ish for a decent size bottle!! The huge bottle is not extra virgin though.

            2. nsxtasy RE: hughb Mar 2, 2009 01:42 PM

              Just to provide more data points... I was at Sam's Club earlier today. Here's what they had:

              2 liter Bertolli's Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil, around $15
              2 liter Bertolli's Extra Virgin Olive Oil, around $15
              3 liter Member's Mark (Sam's Club house brand) Extra Virgin Olive Oil, around $17
              3 liter Member's Mark 100% Pure Olive Oil, around $17
              5 liter Bertolli's Classico Olive Oil, around $28

              All were in bottles, not cans.

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