Price point for vinaigrette

It's a couple years now that I have been ordering olive oil from my native California. I place an order once per year, so I don't focus on the price each time I open a new bottle. I went to California oils to get reliable, competitive pricing and pay now about $17 per 500 ml bottle. I have just calculated what my vinaigrette costs. One tablespoon costs about 50 cents and a carafe (14 fluid ounces I think) costs $13.50!!! That is a lot more than the good brands off the shelf. Just wondering what your reaction is to my extravagance?

  • Posted by: Linn
  • July 28, 2013


Linn July 29, 2013
Please Food 52 technical staff HELP! I pushed the YES I agree button for pierino's response to my question and it registered as a flag inappropriate.
petitbleu July 29, 2013
I'm in agreement with Pierino here. Folks are willing to shell out for good wine, but even if you think wine is one of the food groups, wine is still not food. Olive oil is such an important part of my kitchen that I'm willing to pay more for it, even though my grocery budget is fairly tight. I love CA Olive Ranch--it's more than decent oil for a pretty reasonable price. I've splurged on more expensive bottles, but this is the one I keep coming back to. And if it makes you feel any better, you're still saving money by cooking at home.
Diana B. July 28, 2013
Thank you! That looks luscious and I will make sure I try it before asparagus vanishes from the local farmers market.
Diana B. July 28, 2013
Oh, tell me more about that violet mustard, Pierino, please, because I've got some in my pantry and no clue what to do with it!
pierino July 28, 2013
Diana B, used in a vinaigrette as the emulsifying agent it's great with asparagus or potatoes. Look up Purple Reign on this site and you can you can view my own recipe. But of course try out your own. By itself the violette mustard is also good as a condiment with a pale sausage like bockwurst.
Linn July 28, 2013
You know Pierino, I would pay that much if I knew the producer and the product local because it must be a fine lovely oil. But back to my price point. Do you think $17 per 1/2 liter is excessive for use in daily vinaigrette?
pierino July 28, 2013
Gourmet Metrics, I do take your point. One of my benchmarks for quality extra virgin olive oil is California Olive Ranch out of Chico. You can buy a 500ml bottle for $10.00 as they are a large producer. But then it almost means you have to live here again, although they will ship. I just find bottled "vinaigrettes", Newman's Own whatever to be insipid. It is so simple to make. I go over the top once in awhile and use a violette mustard with really good olive oil. To me it's the end result that matters and at a cost of 50 cents per serving---especially with the economy of scale of multiple servings---doesn't seem like a lot to me. I've taught salad dressings and my first advice to students regarding bottled dressings is "read the damn label, and you won't ever buy it again."
pierino July 28, 2013
First of all I regularly preach the gospel of California olive oils. $17 is actually quite reasonable. Depending on the cultivar and the size of the production the cost can run much higher. A friend of mine produces about 7,000 bottles per year of his highest end product and he charges $30 for 500ml. As with wine the flavor of oils from small producers can vary greatly from year to year. The larger manufacturers try to blend for consistancy.
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