Will the Real Olive Oil Please Stand Up?

img_5152I grew up eating a lot of food cooked in butter, toast covered in butter – it was the oil of my childhood in the South! But in the past few years, especially living in Madrid, I became an olive oil person. I like it for cooking, I like it on toast, I like it for everything.

So as I was reading the book Real Food, Fake Food, I was surprised to find that many of the olive oils are actually a mix of fresh olive oil (the yummy stuff) and a refined, low-flavor, super-stable version of olive oil. Sure, the book calls that fake, but if you read between the intense accusations, it still shakes out that the labeling in this industry is deceptive. This doesn’t mean that every bottle is mislabeled, but Extra Virgin Olive Oils from California, it turns out, actually have a more consistently high quality than some brands from Italy, according to tests!

It made me wonder if I had good “taste” in olive oil; so I bought a bottle of California Olive Ranch, and grabbed my most recent bottle of EEVO, and tasted them. I liked them both – but the California one was really flavorful! It makes me think I could happily use whatever olive oil for cooking but might want to keep the delicious California kind with me for toast and other kinds of direct use.

Do you have a favorite brand of EEVO? I’m only now opening my eyes to the idea that they can taste different!

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13 comments on “Will the Real Olive Oil Please Stand Up?

  1. California Olive Ranch is currently our brand of choice at Costco. This news item about counterfeit olive oils was very interesting: https://www.oliveoiltimes.com/olive-oil-basics/mafia-olive-oil-on-60-minutes/50203

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think that the California works great when cooking, whipping up a salad dressing, or on your hair. It’s my go-to. Happy Fri-YAY!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve always just bought the big bottle because we use it quite a bit. Maybe I’ll have to give it more attention.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I swear by Partanna in the red tin; it’s a fruity finishing type oil and really high quality. Also… a giant bottle of whatever blend I found on sale, just for cooking. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  5. pauldelancey says:

    Grrr. I’ve read this in multiple places.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good to know about the California oil. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I happen to live in the heart of one of the big olive oil producing areas of CA! My favorite is Lucero – they sell at our local Farmer’s Market, but are a pretty big producer. Not sure how wide their sales are, but here is their website: http://www.lucerooliveoil.com/

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’ve heard that Spanish olive oil is the best. If you’re still in Spain, maybe you can find out which are the best brands produced there.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. BoSanbo says:

    Great post! I read this book a while back and it confirmed some things I suspected. I try to buy olive oil from very small local producers now – I find it has a lot more flavor. I still have my big bottle of Trader Joe’s “whatever” to use as a base oil, but when I’m finishing a dish or making a dressing or having some toast, I grab the bottle of flavorful, small-batch oil.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. archerniak says:

    I am actually a fan of Spanish Olive Oil – sometimes difficult to find in your grocery store and definitely a bit a splurge. I’ve also purchased olive oil from specialty shops that all the sell is olive oil and balsamic. If I purchase those “small-batch” olive oils, like another reader said – I use those for finishing dishes and using raw.

    Liked by 1 person

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