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Jan 14, 2012 10:01 PM

Good quality fresh olive oil in Vancouver or Burnaby?

After reading I'm on the quest for a really good quality olive oil. My main concern is to find one with a harvest date (not best by date.) Organic would be best but not necessary. Price is not a concern as I plan to us this for eating and not for cooking. It would be great if I can buy it in Vancouver or Burnaby. I don't like buying online.

My favorite use for EVOO is to mix it with sherry vinegar and eating it with a Terra Bread baguette.

If anyone has a preference (eg. Italian v/s Spanish v/s Greek, etc.) I'd be interested to know why.

Thanks for your suggestion and opinion.

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  1. Bosa Foods on Kootenay or (the latter has some very good quality oils and vinegars. Vancouver based proprietors go to Europe to source the oils personally). The organic Librandi is quite nice (and the only one I have tried in their catalog.)

    5 Replies
    1. re: fmed

      Thanks. I will check the Bosa on Victoria Drive. I checked WholeFoods and they had 4 brands of olive oil that had an actual harvest date. Don't know if it's good but they were pricey. I've tasted a pricey olive oil at a wine tasting and it had a turpentine flavour to it. I don't know if this is what is considered peppery? And I've tasted olive oil at restaurants and it was much smoother, is this fruity? I've heard that Costco's olive oil actually ranked up there but I think that was taking price as a factor.

      I will check out Librandi. Thanks.

      1. re: maxmillan

        I am by no means an expert in olive oils, but I'll give it a shot...I think "turpentine" could be considered "fruity" since the chemical compounds often responsible for "fruitiness" (i.e., esters) smell a bit like solvents. To me, "fruity" is more a "aroma" than a "flavour" if you know what I mean.

        "Smoother" probably means that you don't find the oil pungent nor bitter (both of which can be positive traits). "Peppery" is a type "pungency" to me. (Sorry for all the "quotes". All of this stuff is so subjective.)

        You can taste quite a range of aromas and flavours from fruity, vegetal, bitter, peppery, citrus pith-y, grassy, buttery, rancidity etc. I often find that olive oils' aromas are more profound upon tasting rather than upon whiffing. (Retro-nasally vs Ortho-nasally).

        Am I making sense?

        1. re: fmed

          Part of the spiel at VOOC was this so-called peppery flavour/feeling when a good olive oil hits the back of your throat. I only tried an emulsion they had with the oil I bought so I can't say I've experienced it, as I'm not in the habit of doing shots of olive oil :-).

        2. re: maxmillan

          Hi maxmillan,

          I am Teresa from the Olive Oil Merchant (fmed mentions us above). I just wanted to respond to some of your questions which are very interesting. Turpentine is NOT a flavour that would be considered favourable in olive oil. What you probably noted there is a fault that is called "fusty" which is the result of olives being left too long after harvest before the pressing starts. The olives start to ferment and the result is what you tasted. Pepperiness (or pungency) is unmistakable. You feel it in the back of your throat and it tickles/burns. This is an indicator of freshness. You will not find this in stale or old oils. It is the polyphenols/antioxidents (ie. the health benefits) that make it peppery. Smooth is actually not considered as a favourable characteristic as it is an indicator that the oil is older and has lost its health benefits (or never had them to start with). To be considered Extra Virgin, by law, an oil must have some degree of 1. pepperiness/pungency, 2. bitterness and 3. fruitiness. The fruitiness can be described as tomato, artichoke, grass, herb, etc, depending on the type of olive that was used to produce the oil.

          As far as production country go, there are great oils coming from all those countries and also some terrible oils. Producers from each country will tell you that theirs is the best without being able to tell you exactly why. Artisan is the key that you need to look for. Industrial, high intensity farming practices produce oil that taste like turpentine...

          Glad that you read Extra Virginity. It is a great book... the farm that is referred to in the first chapter (De Carlo) is one our partners. We are so happy that this kind of info is finally being spoken about by the media.


          1. re: extra_virgin

            That is great info Teresa. Thanks!

      2. Basil Olive Oil, based in Pitt Meadows:

        Their own olive tree farm in Greece is their supplier:

        You can buy their oils and products at:

        8 Replies
        1. re: LotusRapper

          BTW, the new Drizzle Tasting Room in Fairhaven (Bellingham) opened last year and is worth checking out:

          Seemed every time the Missus and I were about to walk in there, Junior's toy-dar comes on and he makes a sudden trantrum-y plight to go to The Toy Garden store half a block away ....... :-(

          1. re: LotusRapper

            This new Olive Oil place just opened in Kits on Broadway @ Trafalgar


            1. re: Sam Salmon

              Cool ! Thx for the tip. Hope they include balsamic vinegar too.

              I just get mine from Gourmet Warehouse, their house brand.

              1. re: LotusRapper

                I went in to the new VOOC yesterday in search of a present for a friend. The owner and her mum were very helpful and enthusiastic about the venture. Their distributor is in Oakland and seems to a be a wizard about sourcing. They are offering plain and flavoured olive oil in three sizes, as well as balsamics of various descriptions and you can taste everything. I nabbed a Persian lime olive oil.

                1. re: grayelf

                  Is it anything like this place in PDX? I had a field day in there last fall - stocked up on some lovely oils.

                  1. re: kinnickinnik

                    It's everything like that place, at least from the pix. They could be (gasp) franchises, down to the urns and the bottles, even the shelves.

                    1. re: grayelf

                      Thanks - that sounds really promising!

          2. re: LotusRapper

            I second the Golden Eleni olive oil from Basil Olive oil products. It's very fresh and of the highest quality. I use it in my restaurant.

          3. There was a follow-up piece with the Extra Virginity author on olive oil fraud and what to look for in a quality olive oil (with a few brands mentioned) that was posted on the New Yorker site yesterday that might help.

            1 Reply
            1. re: clutterer

              Extra what ? I think that author needs to get out more often ..... ;-)

            2. Thanks to everyone for your eye opening input. I will definitely check out the the Kits shop. And as for the fusty Palestinian olive oil I just bought, I'm making pumpkin loaves with it. I notice that Donald's Market has two "harvest dated" olive oils. One is organic as well. WholeFoods has 3 "harvest dated" olive oils as well and the Olivista from California is an outstanding value of $10 for this month. They also have a Marques De Valduez olive oil from Spain and Le Moulin De Villevieille from France.

              One last question. Why do some bottles of olive oil in the shops have clusters of coagulated fats? Is this bad?

              5 Replies
              1. re: maxmillan

                It is OK. Olive oil will coagulate in cold weather like this - especially at unheated grocery stores (like Donald's.)

                1. re: fmed

                  This olive oil is still "coagulated" at room temperature, too. It's just a few bits of globs on the sides of the bottle.

                  1. re: maxmillan

                    It should clear up when the temperature goes up. Is your home cool in the winter (like mine)? Even at room temperature in the winter, my oil is a bit clumpy. Try warming it in a bucket of warm water to see what happens.

                  2. re: fmed

                    Aha! That's what happened with my bottle then. I was trying to figure out what sort of oxidation/contamination it might have been but I hadn't even considered simple temperature (my house is really cold in the winter!).

                  3. re: maxmillan

                    I'm certainly no expert, but after searching and tasting a number of more readily available brands, I really enjoy the frantoi cutrera primo extra virgin olive oils. I find them both peppery and grassy. they are available at a number of places around town (whole foods, stongs and others) but I find stongs to consistently have the best price ($25 for a 1.0L bottle).

                    Anyone else have thoughts on this oil?

                  4. Temecula Olive Oil (and balsamic vinegars) -- in So Cal off the I-15 (day trip if you go up and over the Pines/Palms hiway 74 FROM Palm Desert area or the Hwy 79 from Borrego Springs) -- agreed, this is a long-distance favourite and not a direct answer to the OP ... and it might be sacrilege to be infusing flavour in to an oil -- it is LIME flavour - and delicious - so if any BC snowbirds are down south, this is a fun little place to visit (the cute downtown is just off the major I-15 interstate where 15 meets 215) -- i think there are wineries in the area too (i don't get much beyond Trader Joe's "winery" --- i also like their balsamic vinegars, esp the one that's reduced with vanilla and figs, delicious on hand-picked, tree-ripened BC Okanagan peaches in season.)