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Mar 15, 2011 06:29 PM

What is with the Olive Oil?

Why can't I find a really good Olive Oil for salad like the ones they serve in restaurants? Any Olive Oil I have purchased cheap or really expensive is always too heavy and has an after taste to it. I have done a lot of research on olive oil (not to start any battles or anything) but contrary to popular belief that the best olives are from Italy many conniosseurs consider Lebanon to have the best olives and best Olive Oil. I recently purchased some Lebanese at an ethnic grocery store where the owner was extremely helpful. It was the closest thing to what I was looking for. So instead of mixing half Olive and a Neutral oiI I mix 3:1. It stll has a bit of an after taste and is heavier than I would like. I am beginning to wonder if restaurants mix their Olive with another type of oil. Any recommendations or thoughts on this matter would solve a couple years of perplexity.

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  1. Have you tried Bertolli Light? I haven't, either because my taster has gotten less sensitive (and it has) or I've just come to like the flavor of olive oil, but my impression is that this was developed for those Americans who hate olive oil but feel duty-bound to get the healthy stuff.

    If you lived near an area where a lot of it was produced, as I do here in SoCal, it's possible to find tasting rooms. Otherwise, what you're doing is probably the most useful strategy: ask the Church!

    1. Try a Sicilian olive oil. Different types of olives produce different-tasting oils, much like wine. Tuscan oil is usually sharp and peppery, while Sicilian oil is mellow and fruity. One brand I like is called Frantoia. It's pricey -- a liter on Amazon is $27.

      1. I have two olive oils I keep on hand at all times. One is a darker more pungent (and expensive) brand and the other is an extra-light Bertolli which is less viscous, has no aftertaste and very little olive taste in general. I use it when I need a neutral oil, as it's easy to find, relatively inexpensive, and cooks up nicely (or is delicious at room temp with some balsamic and crushed garlic on fresh bread).

        I went through a whole bunch of olive oils before I settled on the two I use now. Sometimes cheap doesn't equal bad, imho. I'm no olive oil expert, but I'm Greek and I have taste buds. Using Bertolli would be blasphemy according to my family, but to each his own!

        1. There are many different kinds of olive oils. They're not interchangeable. Some are very peppery and bitter; others are intensely olive-y; and others are nearly neutral. I did a taste test of the olive oils I had on hand yesterday, and the differences were astounding. Deborah Krasner has an interesting book called "The Flavors of Olive Oil" that sheds more light on this topic.

          Anyway, you should seek out "light olive oils" or try buying a mix of virgin olive oil and canola oil. While EVOO is widely considered superior, you may prefer virgin olive oil due to the lower extraction of harsh flavors.

          1. I have not found an aftertaste in the many inexpensive store brands at supermarkets. It's only when I spend more that I get an aftertaste - which might be good or bad depending on the flavor profile you're looking for.

            Of course it is a myth that Italian Olive Oils are better. Does anyone here really believe that?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Steve

              Couple this with the fact that "Italian" olive oils need not be made from Italian olives. All "Italian olive oil" means is the oil was made in Italy. The olives can come from anywhere. In truth, there aren't enough olives in all of Italy to produce the amount of olive oil that is "Italian".