What is the best Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

The title says it all and it has nothing to do with Popeye’s girlfriend.

What do you use?

I like Monini.

Have used Colavita™ for years, after sampling several brands. I save it to use it where I can get the most bang for my $$$. Lightly-cooked, or non-cooked foods, such as: Dips, sauces, salad dressings, hummus[YUMMEE!] benefit from a good olive oil.The fruity flavor and aroma tend to dissipate with long cooking, that’s why some chefs, Lidia Bastianich in particular, will dress a finished, or almost-finished cooked dish with a final spritz or deluge of EVOO. The warm/hot food makes the olive oil release that scent and flavor you originally bought it for. Mangia bene!

I like Trader Joe’s Extra-Virgin for everyday use. It’s cheap and flavorful.

Fortunately, I have a cousin that lives just outside of Florence. I use the stuff she brings me for that extra-special flavor. Unfortunately, I ran out of the last bottle she brought, so I can’t tell you what it is (if in fact you can buy it in the U.S.)

I typically have at least 2 bottles in the house.

I keep a good quality supermarket oil in a can next to my stove for sauteing and any sort of cooking that requires olive oil. Cook’s Illustrated rates Davinci Extra Virgin as the best all-around supermarket oil, so I buy that. It’s pretty good.

I also keep a couple bottles around for salad dressings and dipping bread and any other stuff that doesn’t involve disguising the oil. One of my favorites is Sciabica. I also like that one with the bird on the front - um, forget the name. I’ll check later and tell you what it is.

I like Bertolli’s. It tastes great and I can get a gallon tin sometimes on sale for about $20 at Jungle Jim’s.

I go to little Middle Eastern markets and find tremendous bargains in high quality olive oil. The last two times I bought “Kalamata” brand Greek olive oil.

Try reading Mort Rosenblum’s book Olives. He’s a good food writer, and this book won a James Beard award. Each chapter describes a different country’s olive oil production, history and quality. Rosenblum tasted the oil in each country, and although Italy and Spain produced extremely good oil, he came to the conclusion that Greece produced the best. Then he found that a lot of the oil in Greece is shipped to Italy and rebottled there as Tuscan olive oil! If you are able to find Greek oil, you’ll find it’s cheaper and tastes better than most other oil.

My half-gallon cans of Kalamata brand EVOO were $14 each!

Kalamata is good olive oil - I used to buy that when I lived in the real world. I really like fruity green oils, and Kalamata is that.

The bird brand I mentioned before is L’Estornell. Really good stuff. Too pricey for every day use, but great for salads and such.

As with most things, it’s a matter of what taste you’re looking for. Some oils are much lighter, some more fruity. I really like Lucini, which can be found in many large grocery chains now. It’s not overpowering, but is fruity enough for dipping bread.

After tasting most of the olive oils in my local market, I’ve settled on Frantoia to be my extra virgin olive oil of choice. It’s fruity and slightly pepper. Very fresh tasting. I could drink shots of that stuff.

Some of the Californian olive oils are very good. Usually a decent Greek (kalamata), French and Italian are useful. Olive oil lasts a long long time, so it is good to have a few different bottles of good stuff. I find Kalamata is ritcher and thicker, French is spicier, and Italian is less thick and more rounded in flavour. Also Traider Joes White and Black truffel oils are fantastic value.