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How Much Difference Is There In Different Extra Virgin Olive Oils?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

How much difference is there between different brands of extra virgin olive oil?

 

In the market for extra virgin olive oils, there is quite a variety of makers.   

 

I have even seen a store specializing just in olive oils with a big variety of pricey, supposedly gourmet selections. 

 

I stick with extra virgin oil.     I have tried several brands such as Goya, Fellipe Berrio, and perhaps some other commonly available brands sold in NYC.      

 

I usually use them for sauteing, and I usually put lots of garlic in whatever I'm sauteing.

 

Even tasting them raw before cooking, all the brands taste about the same to me.

 

 

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post #2 of 12

I've never been able to taste a difference in most of the brands you get at stop and shop or something like that. However you can taste the difference in good olive oil, for dipping and things of the sort. I'm not a snobby person I wouldn't say that if it wasn't true. But i've had many different olive oils from many different countries and you can taste a difference in some for sure.

post #3 of 12

The stuff we get here in the states, with a few exceptions of course, is pretty much all the same IMO. I generally use regular olive oil just because the extra virgin has a lower smoke point so it makes it a pain to cook with.


My boss went to school in Italy, and brought home some of the "good stuff" from her last trip back. I could definitely taste a difference, but only because I was comparing the two side by side.

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    -MPW

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post #4 of 12

Definitely can when its side by side with the good stuff agreed. I went to Italy a few years back and snuck back  a few bottles of olive oil and wine in my suitcases. The olive oil was definitely better/different.

post #5 of 12

Italy is not the best producer IMHO of olive oil. Their climate doesn't support full maturity so they harvest early. The taste of that sort of oil has become accepted, but I prefer oils from Spain, and Greece.

post #6 of 12

There are HUGE differences; and lots of exceptions to any generalization anyone gives you.  The subject can be very complicated.  The range of good choices for any purpose depends on your tastes and purpose.  The one rule that's more or less constant is that the freshness counts, so try and get the most recent harvest.  

 

I like extra virgin olive oils from Italy, France, Spain and California.  The best oils I'm getting now are mostly from California, but that's because we like going to a particular shop which specializes in them.  I've also got a great bottle of "finishing oil" which happens to be Italian, and our current, everyday EVOO is TJ's Spanish. 

 

The major taste elements are freshness, fruitiness, body and acidity (lower acidity is generally preferred).  You try and seek a balance; while trying to stay within the boundaries of affordability.  It's nice to have one oil for almost everything and another for "special."  The super-duper oils usually don't stand up to heat very well, so that's another consideration.

 

BDL

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post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post

Italy is not the best producer IMHO of olive oil. Their climate doesn't support full maturity so they harvest early. The taste of that sort of oil has become accepted, but I prefer oils from Spain, and Greece.



I've had olive oil from greece, spain and italy. Not imported, like quality oil in said countries often at wine tastings etc. And while they were all far superior to what you can buy in normal stores here, I have to say I didn't see that much of a difference in them to say one is much better than the other. However I am in no way an olive oil expert just my personal experience.

post #8 of 12

While I agree that there are some major differences between extra virgin olive oils, from different regions, I think for the average palette it's pretty hard to distinguish the differences (if not almost impossible) when the oil is used any way other than by itself.  What I think is more important is freshness and quality of oil.  Those readily show themselves, but once mixed into a dish most people couldn't tell you if the olive oil was a Spanish or an Italian olive oil.

 

As for cooking with EVOO I was always taught, and agree with the statement that it is a waste to cook with EVOO.  Use that for finishing dishes or in uncooked dishes and use a regular olive oil to cook with.  But that's my opinion and I know others that disagree with it.

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post #9 of 12

Cold (first) pressed is supposed to be the healthiest and strongest tasting.

 

Some were faking their virginity-  http://www.boulderweekly.com/article-3171-not-so-virgin-olive-oil.html

 

post #10 of 12

Most grocery store brand olive oils, even the extra virgin, are blends of many different producers oils in order to achieve a consistent and affordable product. more 'artisan' for lack of a better word oils are produced from a single grower's plot of land, so, much like blended vs. vineyard specific wines, the terrior is more pronounced. With a little effort you can find high end Italian, French, Greek, Spanish, Turkish etc. oils with distinct flavours (you do not want to heat these oils, they are used almost always for finishing a dish). It was pointed out to me, and i find this true in italian olive oils (i havent had a chance to test side by side with olive oils from elsewhere) that the oils produced in the higher, more mountainous regions inland are darker and stronger, while those grown in the lowlands near the coast are much lighter and fruitier.

post #11 of 12

I was in the same mindset until a few weeks ago. A salesman from an olive farm for lack of a better word came into the restaurant. we set it up like a wine tasting tasting about 9 different olive oiles different pressings filtered unfiltered it was amazing the differences you could pick out i mean the lightest going from looking almost like canola with little flavor and ranging to deep green with a buttery flavor o even darker green with a heavy pepper flavor. its similar to grapes also in the type of olive you use, elevations the dirt that it grew in. if you ever have a chance to try something from small farms or very high end producers its well worth the eye opening. as far as cooking my understanding is that it is absolutely pointless cooking with good olive oil as it is with good wine because once it touches the heat the aromatics you paid the extra money for are lost. For finishing and some light dressings i think its wonderful though. 

post #12 of 12

Tom,

 

Since you are in NYC, try the Western Beef store brand of first cold pressed EV olive oil.  It is $13.99 for 3 liters and consistantly good, from Italy and a nice greenish-gold.

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