Olive oil connoisseurs

  1. fluidistic

    fluidistic 3,336
    Gold Member

    So I've been trying lots of different olive oils, all extra virgin so far (it's the most common olive oil here in Argentina). Usually they have a weak taste and for some of them, it's even hard to say I can really feel the olive taste. The other day I bought a 3 times less expensive than others olive oil and... it has the strongest taste of olive I've tasted so far. You can't go wrong when you taste it. So basically it's my favorite so far and it's really cheap.
    I was wondering if lesser quality olive oils have a stronger taste. According to wikipedia the extra virgin should have a "superior taste", whatever superior means.

    What is your experience with olive oils?
  2. jcsd
  3. Re: Olive oil connaisseurs

    The less expensive oils have the sweetest taste. Many olive oil experts frown on these but many others like it.

    As a general rule, the greener it is the fresher it is.
  4. turbo

    turbo 7,063
    Gold Member

    Re: Olive oil connaisseurs

    It's hard to tell what you're really getting because olive oil distributors are notorious for misbranding. The California olive growers are constantly fighting this problem. So much oil comes to the 'States labeled as "cold-pressed Extra Virgin" and it is definitely not!
  5. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Olive oil connaisseurs

    My favorite cold pressed extra virgin olive oil is not the most expensive, but has the nicest flavor, for my taste. Go with what you like.
  6. Moonbear

    Moonbear 11,955
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: Olive oil connaisseurs

    Many years ago, I lived close to a gourmet shop that had many expensive olive oils (among other things) and would put out samples to dip bread in for tasting. While I could taste subtle differences between brands, it wasn't enough to justify the huge differences in price between some. I did like some of the lower price range of the "fancy" brands better than just the cheaper extra virgin olive oil in the grocery store enough that I'd splurge on a bottle for bread dipping, but unless you're going to eat it like that where it isn't mixed with other ingredients, the cheaper brands in the regular grocery store are just as good in my opinion.

    Some try to raise the price by claiming things like "first cold pressed" but that's inherent in calling it extra virgin. Avoid plain, light, or refined olive oil...that's the flavorless stuff that's been heat or chemically processed. If there's a possibility of misbranding (you'd know your local consumer protection laws better than I would), then another helpful tip is the extra virgin olive oil usually looks greenish while the refined stuff is the same pale yellow as other vegetable oils. Though, many tint the bottles, so you still can't tell.

    For me, it's mostly been just trial and error to find what I like.
  7. turbo

    turbo 7,063
    Gold Member

    Re: Olive oil connaisseurs

    Many distributors use green bottles, so it's very hard to decide on looks alone.
  8. Re: Olive oil connaisseurs

    I don't know what kind of EVOO you've been trying, but the better EVOOs are definitely anything but bland. You can also try EVOOs that are infused with herbs if you want more taste. The US, for example, is not a member of the International Olive Oil Council (maybe Argentina isn't too?), which is why we are currently a large dumping ground for the world's inferior olive oils. Maybe Argentina doesn't have enough regulation over their product to ensure quality and that olive oils are not being cut with inferior oils. In the US, olive oil manufacturers can put "first cold pressed" on their bottles without being subjected to any regulation or quality testing at all.
  9. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,539
    Gold Member

    Re: Olive oil connaisseurs

    Hm. Here in Canada we buy olive oil but I don't know the quality. We are heading to Italy on vaykay soon. Perhaps we will sample the olive oils there.
  10. Re: Olive oil connaisseurs

    The silly thing is that in Italy, often a cheap normal household oil used for cooking is what passes as an exquisite oil in the rest of the world.

    Speculating, I think it's mostly a matter of taste, people in the rest of world normally don't, or didn't, appreciate the strong flavor of olive oil so Italy started off by selling the oils with the weakest flavor first.
  11. First press all the way. My friends family makes olive oil in Italy and I would always get a bottle of first press. It's nearly black in colour and very strong so you only need to use a little.

    Haven't had in a while :(
  12. I cook with it. I dip bread in it. I put herbs and spices into it to further flavor it. I like it. As far as I know, it comes from squeezing olives to get the oil out of them. Some olives taste a little different than others. Though they all taste like olives. If you like a strong taste, and you've found what you like and it's cheaper than the rest, then you've hit what's called the food jackpot. Enjoy.
  13. Didn't Olive oil Popeye? A rubber band on a slippery surface. There has to be a physics paper in there somewhere.
  14. Pythagorean

    Pythagorean 4,483
    Gold Member

    The best olive oil is peanut oil.
  15. turbo

    turbo 7,063
    Gold Member

    Think of cider vs apple juice. Fresh cider has some pomace floating around in it, clouding the cider a bit. Apple juice is more heavily processed and filtered, and is clear. Real cold-pressed olive oil should look a bit cloudy and green/greenish brown. This oil is the real deal, and is the oil that you should dip your bread in, or drizzle on vegetables or salads.

    Here's the rub: The word pomace is often used in the olive oil trade, and it indicates that the solids from cold-pressing have been reprocessed using heat and/or chemical extraction (and probably filtration) to produce the oil that you're buying. Such "olive oil" may actually be better for frying, etc, because it has a higher smoke-point, but it has very little taste and is (by far) inferior to cold-pressed olive oil if you try to use it on salads and other situations where a good-quality olive oil is called for.

    Edit: If you watch Rachael Ray or other cooking "experts", please know that most of them are blissfully unaware of the difference between first cold-pressed olive oil, and processed olive oil. And if any of them recommend olive oil for stir-frying, turn off the TV and put on some music instead. You need an oil with a high smoke-point for that, and I always use peanut oil. There has never been any olive oil in my wok.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
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