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Buying great olive oil

  • j

We need to have a source from which to buy great olive oil. Living in the north end of Toronto so this is the best location but are very willing to travel for a good source. We have had good offferings from Greece, Italy & Spain - all can be wonderful - please let us know your best suggestions!!

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  1. The Olive Pit on Queen St. West (basement of The Spice Trader) is my fave. Ton of good oils and free samples galore.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Hmm

      I second that. We were really spoiled by olive oil from a recent trip to Provence (which we learned a lot about from locals) ... we went to the Olive Pit and the owner was super knowledgeable and helpful. Prices weren't overly outrageous either.

    2. I want to try some fancy olive oil.. wonder if anythings available in Brampton..

      2 Replies
      1. re: duckdown

        my fam gets awesome olive oil from this greek guy that gets it shipped in, i'll let you know when the next batch gets here...

        1. re: chrisfernando100

          I wonder if we get our from the same guy: www.myolivetrees.com? It is organic, unfiltered, cold pressed and from single-growers, mostly (all?) in the SW Peloponnese. Great stuff.

      2. Grande Cheese, 22 Orfus Road, off Dufferin in Toronto has a goo selection of olive oils from Sicily, California, Spain and sometimes Turkey or Greece.

        2 Replies
        1. re: fredster1

          That is just one of multiple locations.

          I avoid Italian olive oil, as I don't trust it. About a year ago I bought some oil at that particular location of Grande Cheese and even though it was labeled EVO etc, it seems fake to me, with none of the taste of a proper olive oil. Did you know that Italy produces much less olive oil than they use for domestic consumption? It turns out that many of the oils are imported into Italy, bottled with labels saying "Italian Olive Oil" and sent all over the world.
          I have been happy with the Greek oils I buy on Danforth Ave, and the Spartan Rolling Hills brand is worth trying. http://www.spartanrollinghills.com/

          1. re: foodyDudey

            I have a tendency to agree with you. For salads and dressing I prefer the the Greek oils - more flavour, especially unfiltered ones. Some people are put off by the cloudiness of unfiltered oils. For a mild tasting oil useful for cooking I find the Costco 4 litre jug the best value and least 'offensive' in terms of overpowering cooked food.

        2. Last year I was reading some info from the International Olive Council (http://www.internationaloliveoil.org/...) regarding who imports and exports olive oil. Italy was the largest importer of olive oil from Turkey. Greece had the largest proportion of its olive crop made into extra virgin oil. I believe Italy was much lower than Spain in producing extra virgin oil.

          That being said, I have had some wonderful olive oil from Italy. One unexpected find was good olive oil from Italy by a company called Cufrol at Medium Rare ((http://www.mediumrare.to/home.html).). One of the tests that I like to perform on olive oil is to place a full shot glass in the fridge and see how long or if the oil turns to a solid. If the oil takes a day or two to turn to a solid, then I am happy that the oil is more than likely extra virgin oil. This oil was a solid the next day, and one needed a knife to extract the olive oil paste from the shot glass. The flavour of the oil is also nice imho, very fruity with a somewhat spicy, peppery aftertaste. I’ve not cooked with this oil; I use it for dressings, and to finish a soup or over salmon etc... In the past I have purchased unfiltered olive oil, and even once at a trade show purchased a $90.00 bottle of olive oil from a farm from the back woods of Sicily

          In the past I have purchased unfiltered Create olive oil from a cheese store on the Danforth, just down the road a bit form the Big Carrot. It’s been a few years since I’ve purchased anything; the last time I did buy it was not as good as the crop before. If I’m not mistaken, this is the time of year that the new crop of olive oil is available, so the Cheese Store should have a new crop available.

          1. Ok. I understand being a connessieur. But I can't afford it, unfortunately. What is a good commercial grade of oil? EVO or not. Is there a brand that performs nicely on a consistent basis? Something that's available at your local No Frills or whatever?

            6 Replies
            1. re: Dimwit

              Don't know if you have a Costo membership, but the Kirkland brand EVOO is well priced and a solid choice for every day use.

              If not Costco, then the PC brand EVOO is also a decent every day choice.

              To the OP, since you said North end, you should stop in Pusateri's one day. Yes, they are uber-pricey, but the olive oil lady there will let you taste any oil they carry (same with their balsamic vinegars, too). So you could use them to explore oils from different areas, then source the oil from one of the other stores mentioned above.

              1. re: TorontoJo

                Thanks so much to everyone for the great suggestions - we will start our search on the weekend. if anyone else has more ideas, we are listening!

                1. re: jmlh

                  I discovered a lovely Tuscan oil at the 2008 Wine and Food show. It is imported from Maremma from a small family-run operation. I bought a couple of bottles and when I ran out, I contacted the woman from the show via e-mail. She lives in Aurora/Bradford, I believe and sold me a case of 12 bottles for a very good price (much better than the single bottle price!!!). She hand-delivered the case to my parents' home address in Toronto (C.O.D.). I'm still enjoying my olive oil immensely. Unopened and kept in a cool, dark place, I was told that the olive oil would be good for at least a couple of years. Once opened, the shelf life is about 6 months.


                  1. re: 1sweetpea

                    Is that link correct? It does not appear to be active now.

                  2. re: jmlh

                    I recommend extra vergine olive oil from Italy "Ardoino Fructus". I buy it from Sobey's on Mount Pleasant. It's very mild and not extremely expensive (500 ml around 10 doll)

                2. re: Dimwit

                  whole foods' 365 organic oil is a really good choice for a low price point. it could stand as a finishing oil.

                  but personally, for finishing i love frantoia with all my heart. i agree that italian olive oils have a tendency to really stink. frantoia (fruity with a peppery finish, unfiltered, green, and really viscous) is not one of these. it's not expensive per se, but still too expensive to waste or cook with.

                3. Another suggestion for a reasonably priced, nice, clean tasting, everyday extra virgin olive oil is Whole Foods 365 brand. I believe it's $9.99 for the litre bottle (the organic version is more expensive though).

                  1. The Cheese Boutique has a really good house brand, there's also an olive oil store in Sherway Gardens near Williams-Sonoma that sells the best olive oil I've ever tasted (Turkish, cold press).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Boodah

                      Yes, The Cheese Boutique has their own brand.
                      I was fortunate to purchase it when they had their 2 for 1 promo.

                    2. For the north end of TO, pusateri's offers probably the largest selection. Although you'll be paying a bit of a premium. They always have one or two out for sampling.


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mrbluemeanie

                        Great store options and shops above. When looking for great olive oil, tasting is ideal, but you should also try to look for a production/harvest date on the bottle, and place of origin. If it has an acidity value, and the type of olive varietals used on the label, even better. Beware of oils that don't have this info or say "imported from..." instead of "product of..." or you will never know what you're getting inside.

                      2. Anybody have any experience w/ Il Baglio? It comes in a glass 1L bottle, I've seen it at Fiesta Farms and Vince Gasparro's for $13. It's ungoogleable....

                        I've also been curious about Morgantino at Fiesta, 750ml for $24.99, it's unfiltered.

                        excuse the crappy cellphone pics....

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: aser

                          Have you asked one of the Joes? .. I find them pretty open and honest.

                          And - is there a brand there that you've enjoyed?

                          1. re: mikefly

                            Just want to let everyone know that we bought two great olive oils at the Olive Pit. 0ne to serve with bread & the other to drizzle on cooked veg. We are now enjoying these on a nightly basis. This is a great store with a wonderful staff. Thanks to all for your recommendations!

                        2. Anyone know where to get the cheapest organic olive oil in the GTA? Doesn't have to be extra virgin, as long as it's organic olive oil.

                          I need it for making soap, and I need liters upon liters of them. A 18L container won't even last me a week.

                          1. I have discovered a source of extraordinary olive oil on the Danforth:

                            Uzel Olive
                            "the best olives in the world"
                            974 Danforth Ave.
                            Toronto ON
                            M4J 1L9
                            647 477 3170


                            They claim the gemlike black olives are grown without pesticides or chemicals. The oil not a heavy and cloudy; instead, it is fresh, herbaceous, and delicious. Not cheap, but not prohibitively expensive. A gallon costs about $70. (They sell smaller quantities.


                            They also sell sumptuous olives, fresh tapenade, olive oil soap, Turkish jams, Turkish honey, and spices. In the winter months, I buy dried figs from the recent harvest.

                            1. Does anyone go to "Olive that!"? Locations in whitby and unionville, and a third coming soon near high park.

                              It's an olive oil tasting bar where you can sample the oils and they fill them on demand out of big stainless steel barrels where the oil is stored to prevent air and light from getting to them. From what I understand the oil has a 6 month life which is why I've stopped buying all other olive oils because of the lack of "crush date" disclosed on the bottles.