At home, I use Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil for everyday. It is a good all purpose olive oil for a reasonable price, but not your regular supermarket cheap olive oil. Then I purchase more expensive oils, maybe one every 6 weeks or so. Each time it is a different one. I am trying new recipes all the time and this helps me target specific kinds of cuisines as well as trying different oils. I usually get a smaller bottle so I can use it up within 6 weeks.Then I go to the next one. This way it
keeps the cost down too.
Great news! High price does not necessarily mean good quality.
Testing olive oils is one of the more pleasurable parts of my business. I recently tested a $49.00 (for a half liter bottle) olive oil and I compared it to a $12.99 one that was produced in the exact same region of the same country. The cheaper one was by far the better one.
I always try to find out about the producer or the origin of each oil that I try, and in this example, the results were interesting. The cheaper oil was not from a cooperative where oils are combined from neighboring farms nor was it from a large bottler or "producer" that sometimes incorporates lower quality olive oils into their "blend". The cheaper one came from one small farm and the more expensive one was produced by a cooperative from the same region as the cheaper one. The journey to the retail store can often disproportionately affect the price of the oil. So, in my search for flavor and the other organoleptic qualities, I find that information about the origin of the oil helps me to identify what I am buying.
Being in the olive oil industry, I cannot name my favorite olive oils in our forum. What I can say is that olive oil is a very personal affair. I invite you to read my previous postings on this matter.
(I am so proud of myself! This is the shortest answer I have posted to an olive oil question!!!!)
A recent article in Cook's Illustrated compared olive oil to wine: different years can mean either a good or bad crop. Wheat is the same way. Crops vary yearly and what is good this year may be lousy the next.
We found a family in Sacramento, CA that makes a wonderful, handmade EV oil. They sell it at the Farmers' Market in
Walnut Creek every Sunday of the year, and also by mail.
Angelo Santa Emanuele Sebastian
"Bariani grows their own olives and harvests them by hand. Its 100% pure olive oil, natural and unrefined. Since none of the natural antioxidants are removed, the oil retains its beautiful green olive color along with its frangrance and wonderful flavor. Bariani... its like having homemade olive oil right in your kitchen. What a treasure." Qoute fron the website "Elenora's Kitchen"
Bariani Olive Oil
9460 Bar du Lane
Sacramento, CA 95829
I don't know who packages their product, but I enjoy Trader Joe's private label olive oil---both the extra virgin and pure.The flavor is great and it's also a good deal--about $5.99/liter.
Papa-thanks for that description of your taste testing experience. Will you explain to me what "organoleptic" qualities of olive oil are? It sounds like something I should know about.
At home in Israel i didn'y know olive oil come in brands with fancy names and bottles. We used to go down to the village(we live on a mountain sorround by oceans of olive trees far as the eye can see) during the harvest time and get some of the press, after choosing the olives.
That was fun, although the smell associated with olive harvest is the aroma of diaheria from the rotting pits and olive straineed olive mush.
When I cook, I don't use one but three or more olive oils according to need and finanace. Blended cheap non strong flavored for sautting, one more priced for most salads, one expensive delicate for desserts, and one special expensive for last touches.
You should remember that like wine, a good olive oil qualities dissapear with long cooking while bad qualties keep forever, so never used a bad one.