What brand of olive oil do you trust?

After hearing an interview about the corruption of olive oil companies, I am wondering what brand is the least adulterated. I cannot really afford the delicious but expensive artisanal oils....are there any brands sold in the grocery store that are still pure?

  • Posted by: lloreen
  • December 19, 2011
  • 35896 views
  • 39 Comments

28 Comments

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LetThereBeBite
LetThereBeBite December 19, 2011

Is $12 a bottle too expensive for you? Pacific Sun's Tehama Blend is a great (award-winning) extra virgin olive oil out of California and if you buy at least $65 worth (think holiday gifts) you get free shipping: http://lettherebebite.com/product-reviews/extra-virgin-olive-oil/ I wouldn't trust anything in big-box stores.

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Amanda Hesser
Amanda Hesser December 19, 2011

A few responses from friends on Twitter -- Trader Joe's house brand is apparently from a family grove in California. Others also say to look for California sourced oils and to look on labels for an expiration date, production date, and/or a region of production. In other words, the more specific the info, the better.

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OneLifeToEat
OneLifeToEat December 19, 2011

Felipo Berio for sure!

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Maria Hita
Maria Hita September 24, 2014

Nope! NEVER Filippo Berio. They FAILED to meet the extra virgin olive oil standards.

LetThereBeBite
LetThereBeBite December 19, 2011

Also, generally, California's "extra virgin" labeling is much more reliable than any of the European brands. You may have read Tom Mueller's expose' on Italian olive oil fraud in the New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com... And some big Spanish brands in supermarkets (like Star) have failed the extra virgin test. California olive oil is very reliable for quality, and it has the upside of supporting American businesses (many of them small-medium). Another affordable CA olive oil to look into: Corto Olive.

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Laurie15
Laurie15 January 26, 2014

Agreed! I've done a lot of research since learning about this and my friends opened an olive oil store. Their supplier is Veronica Foods, and they supply a lot of olive oil to various stores in Canada/US. Very good stuff. Ultra Premium (exceeds extra-virgin) standards.

LetThereBeBite
LetThereBeBite December 19, 2011

And California Olive Ranch. Okay, I'm done! :)

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Greenstuff
Greenstuff December 19, 2011

My general rule is to avoid Italian unless I've been practically introduced to the trees. For relatively inexpensive olive oil, I generally go with Spanish (YBarra), French (Puget), or maybe Turkish or North African. Although I live in California, I haven't found a brand I've latched onto.

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Amanda Hesser
Amanda Hesser December 19, 2011

Also, here's a link to the NPR report on fraud in the olive oil industry: http://www.npr.org/2011...

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Lia M
Lia M December 19, 2011

The New Yorker had a long story on this a few years ago. According to Mueller's article, Colavita is a trustworthy brand.
http://www.newyorker.com...

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Lia M
Lia M December 19, 2011

The New Yorker had a long story on this a few years ago. According to Mueller's article, Colavita is a trustworthy brand.
http://www.newyorker.com...

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fayehess
fayehess December 19, 2011

I have found that Kirkland Tuscan Extra Virgin, is not bad. La Macchia, available on line via facebook, is the best I have come across. I have been teaching cooking in Tuscany for 9 years and finally had a bunch shipped to the States, just so that we Americans could finally have decent olive oil at a decent price without even going to the grocery store. La Macchia is award winning, comes from Montevarchi in the Chianti region, and only takes 3 days for it to be Fed Exed to your door. The farmer's name is Emilio Carlotti.

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Bevi
Bevi January 26, 2014

Faye, on a side note, I love your blog.

Sam1148
Sam1148 December 19, 2011

The best buys for the taste for me are CostCo's Kirkland Tuscan and Whole Foods 365.

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Chefbaltz
Chefbaltz December 19, 2011

diddo. you can't beat the price and it's award winning as well. make sure to get the first cold press olive oil from costco though. it's more of a green-gold hue instead of gold-yellow hue. it's a good oil to have on-hand. i think it's really tasty for the $$.

mbj913
mbj913 December 19, 2011

i like the trader joe's organc oils.

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Panfusine
Panfusine December 19, 2011

Any suggestions for NON EVOO, the kinds used for cooking, sauteeing, pan frying etc.. I've ended up using a brand from shoprite called Capatriti.. Now, with this NPR article, want to switch. I've been using EVOO from O & Co as well as wegmans for my drizzling/dressing requirements & love them..

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Panfusine
Panfusine December 19, 2011

Any suggestions for NON EVOO, the kinds used for cooking, sauteeing, pan frying etc.. I've ended up using a brand from shoprite called Capatriti.. Now, with this NPR article, want to switch. I've been using EVOO from O & Co as well as wegmans for my drizzling/dressing requirements & love them..

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Panfusine
Panfusine December 19, 2011

Any suggestions for NON EVOO, the kinds used for cooking, sauteeing, pan frying etc.. I've ended up using a brand from shoprite called Capatriti.. Now, with this NPR article, want to switch. I've been using EVOO from O & Co as well as wegmans for my drizzling/dressing requirements & love them..

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bella s.f.
bella s.f. December 20, 2011

Always liked Martinelli brand that Trader Joes carried. Now they have it under their own label as 100% Greek Kalamata Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Very nice flavor.

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jelly
jelly December 20, 2011

Olive oils are like wine. Each has a distinctive flavor and consistency. If you are looking for a good everyday oil for cooking or as a dressing for salads I have found Marca Verde at Sur La Table a great oil and a great buy, $9.95 for 1 litre. Store locator for one near you. http://www.surlatable.com/browse/storeLocator/landingPage.jsp I would save the more expensive oils for dipping sauces etc... Find a store close to you that specialized in oils and go try several. Find one that you like and spend the money. One of my favorites from California is Lucero 100% Mission Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

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LE BEC FIN
LE BEC FIN January 26, 2014

I would love to hear descriptions of people's fav evoo. i am not a huge fan though i use it (TrJ Cal. evoo in tall square green bottle. and I used to use Colavita but BJs stopped carrying it.
I prefer buttery round flavor, not grassy or bitter. I use it for cooking and salad dressing; otherwise it's butter. Appreciate your suggestions.

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pierino
pierino January 26, 2014

A study done by UC Davis in 2011 showed that 73% of the exported olive oils from Europe were not in fact "extra virgin". Sensory testing and spectrum analysis proved that they met neither IOC or USDA standards. Testing done by institutes in Germany and Australia confirmed this.
California olive oil is now the gold standard. Now the bad news; this year's yield was incredibly small. This is cyclical thing not necessarily something to worry about other than short supply. It was worse in Northern California where they had to struggle with olive fly infestation. I'm in touch with a lot of growers in the industry and some are not releasing a 2014 bottling. Instead they are holding it back to enter in the competitions.
California Olive Ranch is consistant and reasonably priced if you can find it. They are one of the larger producers.

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Pegeen
Pegeen January 26, 2014

Ina Garten recommends Olio Santo, Central Valley CA as a good all-purpose oil. Available through Williams-Sonoma and other food specialty stores. I've used it and like it a lot. Not inexpensive but if you're primarily using it for cooking and salad dressing it will last a long time.
http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/olio-santo-olive-oil/?pkey=e%7Colio%7C3%7Cbest%7C0%7C1%7C24%7C%7C1&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-NoMerchRules-_-

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bigpan
bigpan January 26, 2014

Its up to your taste and what is available, but, DO look for oil that is in dark glass (or dark plastic) to prevent light getting to it. Not so in USA, but in Europe the oils are labelled with the pick date and/or the package date. The reason USA does not do this in most cases is because the oil is close to expired before it arrives. Different oil tastes depending on country, where grown (by the sea will have more salt in the air and soil, hillsides might be chalky, many olive trees are grown amongst lemon trees).
One guarantee is, the cheaper it is - the cheaper it is !
If you buy a gallon at Costco for 9.99 you are getting a jug of something that is worth a buck or two wholesale.
Best way to taste oil is to sip it from a spoon (if you dip bread into it you will simply taste the bread !) Buy 3 or 4 and figure out which one you like, give the rest away.
Store out of light, slightly chilled. Use often.

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pierino
pierino January 26, 2014

Yes, dipping with bread is for sissies. Tasting olive oil is very much like tasting wine. Would you dip bread in your wine to taste it? What I look for is a long finish as the different parts of your palate go to work. It may begin buttery or grassy but a really good oil will give you a little pepper kick after a second or two. Some oils I describe as "flat line". That is there is no finish. That's how I would describe Trader Joes. For some inexplicable reason some people prefer that. I don't know why. There are olive oil shops out there that will let you taste before you buy.

boulangere
boulangere January 26, 2014

Bread dipped in wine is heavenly.
http://thesolitarycook.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/sunday-baking-gold-nugget-bread/

boulangere
boulangere January 26, 2014

Here's a better link: http://wp.me/27pPl

jk
jk February 19, 2014

Corto olive co. provides both a harvested date and a best used by date. It was also reasonably priced at $ 10 for a liter (34 oz).

bugbitten
bugbitten January 26, 2014

Let me also recommend California Olive Ranch which I've been able to get from the last few harvests. They make a pricier "Arbequina" which is from heaven.

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pierino
pierino January 26, 2014

Arbequina is made from a single cultivar, originally from Spain (Catalonia). It's popular with growers in California for it's comparatively high yield in fruit. The downside is that the trees have a shorter life.

sexyLAMBCHOPx
sexyLAMBCHOPx January 26, 2014

California Olive Ranch is sold in Stop n Shop now and TJ Maxx in CT.

LE BEC FIN
LE BEC FIN January 26, 2014

lamby, that's because you guys is so high class down there in CT;-}

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sexyLAMBCHOPx
sexyLAMBCHOPx January 26, 2014

so sassy finny-poo, lol.

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Maria Hita
Maria Hita September 24, 2014

Found on lifehacker.com:
The brands that failed to meet the extra virgin olive oil standards, according to this study: Bertolli, Carapelli, Colavita, Star, Pompeian. Eat Grown Local also reports: Filippo Berio, Mazzola, Mezzetta, Newman's Own, Safeway, and Whole Foods in this list; the data may be from the earlier 2010 study when more brands were evaluated.

The real deal: California Olive Ranch, Cobram Estate, Lucini. Kirkland Organic, Lucero (Ascolano), McEvoy Ranch Organic are also noted by Eat Grown Local.

My suggestion: AVOID anything that you find at Walmart. That forbidden store is not to trust!
I wouldn't buy olive oil that cost $10 for 1000ML, that probably has been diluted/mixed with Canola Oil. YUCK!!!!!

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Susan W
Susan W September 24, 2014

Walmart sells California Olive Ranch. It's where I buy it because it's affordable there. I also buy my Viva paper towels and my 100% coconut milk there. I don't really think they are in the back pouring canola into the olive oils.

Jan Weber
Jan Weber September 24, 2014

Kirkland Tuscan EVOO from Costco is a very safe bet for a great price.

Right now I am using a 3L tin of ZOE extra virgin which is sourced from Castile-La Mancha in Spain, you should be able to find ZOE in various sizes in specialty stores across the USA. I got mine from the Pennsylvania Macaroni Co. in Pittsburgh, PA.

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Jeremy
Jeremy July 16, 2016

Il Re Olive Oil is quite good. Very balanced with a strong kick.

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BerryBaby
BerryBaby July 18, 2016

Filippo Berio love it!

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