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What's your cooking EVOO?

Just what the title says? I'm coming to the end of a 3L can and it's time to replace it. I don't recall the brand (I transferred the last bits to a reusable bottle and recycled the can a while ago) but it was some semi-fancy Italian. It wasn't any better than the Colavita I bought last time.

Is Colavita or an equivalent fine? Or is there a world of saute magic I'm missing if only I bought the right oil?

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  1. I don't think you need good EVOO (or even EVOO, light olive oil is fine) for cooking. The heat breaks down all the good stuff. I save the quality EVOO for salad dressings, finishing cooked dishes, and other applications where it doesn't get heated much.

    2 Replies
      1. re: GilaB

        When you're cooking olive oil for a long time, the heat will destroy most of the nuanced flavors that connoisseurs value in an extra virgin oil. For everyday cooking, I usually use Kirkland brand olive oil, though I've switched to a Lebanese brand that is remarkably delicious in tabbouleh or baba ghannouj at $4 per bottle.

      2. I use the Kirkland Organic from Costco for all uses. It's not expensive, assuming you have a Costco membership :) The 2 large bottles last me a loonnngg time.

        1. I've used the Trader Joe's President's Reserve for years. It's only $6 for 34 oz. and is great for cooking.

          2 Replies
            1. re: Terrie H.

              Ditto to this. And California Olive Ranch is pretty good as well, and reasonably priced.

              http://www.californiaoliveranch.com/

            2. Kirkland. Pretty good oil, especialy for the price. They move it as well. So you don't need to worry about how old it is.

              1. I don't have a Costco nearby, but instead a BJ's. They carry a two litre bottle of Carbonell Spanish EVOO. It's quite good, and pretty reasonable at $9.99 for the bottle. I use it for everything.

                2 Replies
                1. re: mwk

                  Using Carbonell right now and like it. Generally I find Spanish oils to be well priced, on the fruity end of the taste spectrum, and good all around oils.

                  1. re: mwk

                    Yes me too and for the reasons listed.

                  2. I've come to the point where I buy a jug of "pure" olive oil to use for those many applications where sauteing and long simmering would obliterate the nuances of EVOO. Also, I read once that pure olive oil has a higher smoke point than EVOO, although I won't say I know that for sure, because it was just one internet source saying so.

                    I actually keep three grades of olive oil on hand: pure for general cooking; a solid EVOO for things like salad dressings and certain marinades for quick-cooking items; and a really good EVOO for use uncooked, as in Caprese salad or drizzling onto finished foods.

                    Presently, that means I have a jug of Bertolli Classic Olive Oil from Sam's Club for the low end, and a bottle of Columela EVOO for the high end. Something like Colavita would be my target for a solid middle-level EVOO. But every year those oils change. That's fun, but it means it's always work to know what's best each year.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Bada Bing

                      It's counterintuitive, but my impecunious state has caused me to discover that the WalMart bulk olive oil is grassy, peppery and delicious. Go figure.

                      1. re: PesachBenSchlomo

                        Yeah, actually I rarely buy groceries at Walmart and not very often at Sam's Club, but the place has buying clout, and every so often they score some good stuff.

                        I know at Sam's Club, their "store brand" is Member's Mark. I think that Walmart itself might use some different name ("Great Value" or some such). I did once try the Member's Mark EVOO and it was certainly no slouch alongside most brands in the $7-12 per liter range.

                      1. Fairway's varietal line has been my only EVOO for many years now.

                        1. Usually Greek EVOO, preferably Cretan. I'm not picky about the brand.

                          1. Interesting. It appears I've been throwing some money away. Thanks for the responses, all.

                            1. It's more important that it's fresher and pure. I like that California Olive Ranch dates its harvests and is subject to more scrutiny for purity than imported stuff. Price point is good, too.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Karl S

                                The purity question reminds me of that stunning survey a while back about how much olive oil that claims to be extra virgin is not, and sometimes it's not even all olive oil:

                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/720875

                                That's not to say you couldn't cook well with these oils, because we can taste what we cook and adjust, and--as this thread largely bears out--EVOO is kind of lost in the process of long cooking anyway.

                              2. Trader Joe's has several varieties extremely inexpensive ~ I think $7/32oz. World Market's store brand also $7/32oz and occasionally they have some from Hungary and Turkey.