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Olive Oil Recommendations?

Hi, I need some good Olive oil that preferably won't break the bank but is good, flavorful oil that could be used to finish dishes like pastas, salads, etc. I guess I'm looking for what they might use in a restaurant that adds that extra bit of flavor.
I bought a bottle of Zei from St. Lawrence Market on recommendation of one of the shop owners there but was very underwhelmed!

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  1. You should try Spartan Rolling Hills olive oil from Greece. I use it myself.

    http://www.spartanrollinghills.com/

    1. For finishing salads and where I am really going to taste the olive oil (not heating), I buy Olearia San Giorgio Sarafino Virgin Olive Oil. It's about $25 or so for 750ml but used where it should be it lasts a long time. Like any good olive oil should have as a prerequisite, it is in a dark glass bottle, has an expiry date, serial # and other important identifying information. It has a really great taste and I feel it is worth the money. I found out about it and the importers based in Toronto after reading an article in the Globe & Mail. I like that the guys importing this olive oil have connections to the producer, they are passionate about the product, take time to educate people and often appear locally around Toronto to present their product in stores. They have 4 different types from the same farm. Here's a great article about their olive oil and just olive oil in general that is a good short education about what to look for.

      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/f...

      19 Replies
      1. re: Flexitarian

        That is a great price if the oil is good. I stopped buying Italian EVO as it was getting hard to find a decent one at a reasonable price, and there seem so be more bad ones than good. Now I look for Greek oils. The oil I buy from Rolling Hills is around the same price as what you mention. The owner of the olive grove (or his friend) is often at Fresh From The Farm on a Saturday, sampling the oils and olives.

        1. re: foodyDudey

          Yeah, I'm definitely looking for something for taste, and not for heating. Something to give dishes that little finish that theyre sometimes missing.

          1. re: spartanrollinghills

            Would it be amazing because you represent it?

          2. re: Flexitarian

            That is an excellent olive oil. I purchased this several times. It has wonderful fresh grassy notes, and you can taste the difference when you make salad dressing with it. A little goes a long way.

            1. re: Whiskey sour

              Which of the two are you recommending?

              1. re: Nocontact

                Olearia San Giorgio Sarafino Virgin Olive Oil.

            2. re: Flexitarian

              This is my everyday finishing olive oil (I use their virgin olive oil for cooking) and it is excellent. Wonderful peppery notes (a result of a high level of polyphenols, which is a sign of its quality).

              As a country, I find Spain to produce my favourite olive oils (e.g. Pons estate, ParqueOliva).

                1. re: Nocontact

                  Olearia San Giorgio extra virgin for everyday finishing oil (e.g. salad dressing) and I use their virgin oil for cooking. When I want to "up" my oil, I use the spanish.

                    1. re: BDD888

                      Fiesta Farms has it.

                      I use a lot of the virgin one at work, works great as a finishing.

                      I also like Frantoia a lot, also available at Fiesta.

                      I'm interested to try this company that sells 3 brands in Fiesta. They're always grouped together. Morgantino, Sella Orlando, Mio Bambino. Alas they're ungoogleable.

                      1. re: aser

                        i prefer the fruitier tasting kind of olive oil to the grassy tasting kind. which Olearia would be this? or some other brand? (i live right near fiesta farms)

                        1. re: aser

                          Yes. Frantoia is my go-to. Some Loblaws carry it.

                  1. re: Apprentice

                    About three weeks ago, 'Olive.Olive', who specializes in Spanish Olive Oil had a 'special promotion' of over a dozen brand/style...etc in the Richmond Hill Costco. Very good price!

                  2. re: Flexitarian

                    The Olearia San Giorgio Sarafino Extra Virgin *Monocultivar* really stands out :)

                    1. re: Flexitarian

                      Where can I find this oil? Would love to try it.

                      1. re: SNACKeR

                        It's available at City Fish Market. 2929 Dufferin St. (at Lawrence Ave. W.) 416-256-7373, but I've seen it around at many different stores in the city (that I can't remember right).

                    2. You can get perfectly good, "First Cold Pressed Extra Virgin " Greek (Hermes) olive oil for $ 16 for a Three Litre can from Massellis Supermarket. North side of Danforth, West of Donlands. Excellent for salads. It does not come in a fancy package, however.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: AzulH

                        With all due respect, I cannot fathom how $5.33/litre olive oil, in a can nonetheless (with the added taste that can impart), can be of decent quality. Take out the cost of the can, retailer, distributor, importer and exporter overheads, transportation costs, etc and there is not much money left for the producer to create a quality olive oil out of.

                        1. re: Flexitarian

                          All I can suggest is that you try a blind tasting, you might be surprised!
                          For example, the number of times that Segura Viudas is rated more highly than non-vintage Champagne in blind tasting by cognoscente of Champagne, who often start their sentences with the patronising phrase "with all due respect..." is quite remarkable, and the price differential is about 4X

                          1. re: AzulH

                            I have blind tasted olive oil and have yet to taste one for the price you are paying taste as good as one for 5x+ the price. You might want to read this article from the Toronto Star today wherein it outlines how companies doctor olive oil so they can sell is for the $5.33/litre price you are paying for it. Note the quote that 'the biggest culprits are six big Spanish and Portuguese bottling companies, which have driven down the price of olive oil to about 1.80 euro per litre — an “impossible” low price. Five years ago, it would have cost 5 euro.' So, you might not want to be so smug and do a little more thinking before commenting. The article also references and entire book that investigates the shady business of subpar olive oil.

                            The article is here:

                            http://www.thestar.com/news/world/art...

                            1. re: Flexitarian

                              I had read the article with interest, and thank you for posting it for others to read. The article indicated that the Canadian authorities might be more vigilant in their testing to ensure that the claims of the various olive oils were accurate.
                              In your blind scramble to appear all knowing and as you say 'smug' you failed to note that the Hermes oil I invited Chowhounders to sample, without prejudice, was neither Portuguese nor Spanish but Greek.

                              1. re: AzulH

                                Please excuse me for butting in here, but I've been following this thread with some interest, and found a couple of things online I'd like to share.

                                Assuming this is the same product mentioned by AzulH, Hermes is imported by Krinos, and is listed in the following link. You'll notice that all their other oils are stated to be Greek, but Hermes is claimed only to be from the Aegean. It's possibly Turkish, then, but I have no idea. If it is, that might help explain the low price point.

                                http://www.krinos.ca/products.asp?cat...

                                Hermes has been caught adulterating its olive oil in the past:

                                http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/AmericanFam...

                                One would hope they've cleaned up their act since then. Having said all this, however, I would agree with AzulH that you can't know how good a product tastes unless you've tried it yourself.

                                1. re: 5secondrule

                                  Many thanks for your very good additional research. Interestingly, they have even backed off "Aegean" and replaced it with " Mediterranean" ( so it could even come from those villians of the piece, Portugal & Spain!!)

                                  1. re: AzulH

                                    Sure...or Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, etc. Not that there's anything wrong with the olives from those regions.

                                2. re: AzulH

                                  AzulhH: Just because my views may differ from yours does not mean that you need to claim that I think I am 'all knowing'. I certainly don't and am always willing to learn. for sure though, I know way more about the olive oil that I buy than if I bought what you suggest and that's because the producer cares to let me know on the pacakge. And, as the article says, the biggest (not necessarily the 'only') culprits are Spanish and Portuguese. As such there was no need for me to point that out as it pretty obvious the writer was not restricting his observation to only those two countries. Culprits can exist geographically anywhere as can top quality purveyors.

                                  As for the olive oil from Massellis Supermarket that you are urging us to try, the presence of 'fancy packaging' is irrelevant and nowhere did I suggest such fancy packaging is necessary, The point is whether enough 'information 'is printed on the bottle to determine its provenance and be informed of indicia of it's quality, as I noted above. None of these appear to be evident on the olive oil you suggested, even though it could very easily be printed on the container, nor is the olive oil even Greek as you have claimed. It is telling that a company that neglects to put much information on their unfancy packaging has also been caught adultering their oil in the past. This all makes the olive oil highly sus.

                        2. The Spice Trader (with it's onsite subsidiary call The Olive Pit) at Queen/Walnut has a whole range of olive oils ... while some are very pricey, they also have several reasonably priced "house" choices ... and you can sample a dozen before making your final choice, so you won't get home and find yourself underwhelmed ...

                          1. As odd as this may seem, I've been buying and using the EVOO sold at the Terroni restaraunts. Its got great flavour and spiciness and its only $15 a 750 ml bottle.
                            Its the one they use so I figure if its good enough for them its good enought for me.

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