Is expensive olive oil worth it?

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tuningfork
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Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by tuningfork » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:17 am

Olive oil is our staple oil. We use extra virgin for marinades and dressings, and plain/pure for sautes. We rarely use other oils. Sometimes canola oil when we think the flavor of olive oil will clash with other flavors, and sometimes peanut and sesame oils for Asian dishes.

When it's time to buy olive oil, I usually buy non-grocery-store brands at the lower end of the price spectrum, depending on what's on sale. For example, current brands in my cupboard are Filippo Berio and Bertolli.

Would upgrading to more expensive / higher quality olive oil significantly improve flavor in our dishes? I've never done taste comparisons so I don't know the difference between the cheap oils I buy and oil that's 2 or 3 or 10 times more expensive. Paying more for olive oil would not break the budget, but I'm cautious about over-spending on something when the improvement would only be slight or unnoticed.

What price points or brands should I be looking at?

FlyAF
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by FlyAF » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:23 am

There is a documentary series on Netflix called "Rotten." One of the episodes is about olive oil and how pretty much all of it is faked up and down the price spectrum. It's worth watching.

themesrob
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by themesrob » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:26 am

I think either Filippo Berio or Bertolli EV are both very good options for day-to-day cooking (dressings and sautes), as is Kirkland. I do have a "nicer" bottle for when I am finishing a dish after cooking with olive oil -- personally, I find I notice the difference in taste, and since the amount involved is usually much lower, the bottle lasts a while. Lately I've been slowly working my way through a bottle of Sant Ambroeus, which is about $30, but I think taste/cost level is probably up to the individual.

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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:27 am

What tastes better to you? To me, I absolutely hate the stronger taste of expensive olive oils. I use it for everything from the omlet I make every single morning to the single dressing for salad. I only buy the absolute cheapest, lightest oil I can find. That's my taste. Doesn't mean you don't like something different. You say you substitute canola oil. That tells me your taste is very different from mine. I think I'd rather get poked in the eye with a sharp stick than eat anything with canola oil on/in it. But that's me.
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by Dottie57 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:30 am

tuningfork wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:17 am
Olive oil is our staple oil. We use extra virgin for marinades and dressings, and plain/pure for sautes. We rarely use other oils. Sometimes canola oil when we think the flavor of olive oil will clash with other flavors, and sometimes peanut and sesame oils for Asian dishes.

When it's time to buy olive oil, I usually buy non-grocery-store brands at the lower end of the price spectrum, depending on what's on sale. For example, current brands in my cupboard are Filippo Berio and Bertolli.

Would upgrading to more expensive / higher quality olive oil significantly improve flavor in our dishes? I've never done taste comparisons so I don't know the difference between the cheap oils I buy and oil that's 2 or 3 or 10 times more expensive. Paying more for olive oil would not break the budget, but I'm cautious about over-spending on something when the improvement would only be slight or unnoticed.

What price points or brands should I be looking at?
About 10 years ago, my local super market had a taste testing of higher priced olive oil. There really was a big difference and I really liked one better. Unfortunately the store carried the product for a very short time.

goodlifer
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by goodlifer » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:31 am

I use Berio when I run out at our lake house and Walmart is the only place to shop at. I usually buy any olive oil from Costco. I can tell the difference when I'm eating it on bread, but not if I'm just cooking with it. You can try a small bottle, or try contacting a company and ask for a sample. I am experimenting with different oils lately. I find I am using coconut and grapeseed oils more than olive for now, especially for cooking.

randomguy
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by randomguy » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:32 am

This is the same for every other cheap good out there. You need to sample the higher quality stuff and decide if the difference matters to you. Personal experience. I notice pretty much no difference if I am cooking with the oil. If I am drizzling it on something then yeah you can notice flavor differences between brands and quality tiers. If that difference is worth it or not is up to you.

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Pajamas
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by Pajamas » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:34 am

Yes, good quality olive or other oil is worth it when it is drizzled on foods, within reasonable price limits. Olive oil, like honey, is often adulterated and fraudulently labelled. A lot of what is sold as extra virgin olive oil simply doesn't meet the high standards for flavor or is old. You can get great olive oils from Spain, California, Australia, etc., not just Italy.

A good way to start would be with a certified California olive oil as it is a fairly safe bet as far as quality. Trader Joe's and Costco also carry some good olive oils at reasonable cost.

https://www.cooc.com/about-the-seal/

There was a thread the other day about avocado oil and there are other oils that are worth trying such as walnut oil.

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cinghiale
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by cinghiale » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:47 am

A vote for “yes,” though my perspective is heavily influenced by living in an olive oil producing Mecca. There are somewhere around 270 different varieties of olive oil in Spain. We have sampled but a few, and that sampling has allowed us to home in on the region and type we prefer. These are low-volume, “artisanal” products, from recent harvests and presses. They have an assertive green picante quality to them that leaves a bite in the aftertaste, and, like wine, a taste unique to the olive variety. If you have access to these kinds of oils, I think the complex flavor and the health benefits delivered by the countless micronutrient compounds in the fresh, live oil make it worth the price.

But you just cannot, cannot, cannot fry with this kind of oil. :oops: That’s like wearing a tuxedo to go out and do your gardening.

But also please note FlyAF’s caution about the oils sold in US supermarkets. For the good stuff, you need to find a boutique store that imports top-quality oils from known producers.
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by centrifuge41 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:50 am

I find the Bertolli olive oil has significantly less flavor than the 3.99/bottle Aldi SimplyNature house brand organic olive oil. You can get more flavor for less $ if you try out Aldi or Lidl's olive oils, which always cost between $3 and $4 a bottle at Aldi, and which get to that price at Lidl when there's a sale.

straws46
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by straws46 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:04 am

Costco is the best for the money in my opinion. We buy directly from an Italian olive grower. It's wonderful but pricey. $100 for 3 liters compared to Costco's $11.50 per liter. After a heart attack, price is no longer a factor in our dietary regimen.

larsm
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by larsm » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:06 am

No longer use olive oil generally. Now use Avocado Oil, which I buy at Costco. Do yourself a favor and try it out. If you're like me it will become your go to oil...

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Pajamas
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by Pajamas » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:09 am

straws46 wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:04 am
After a heart attack, price is no longer a factor in our dietary regimen.
How would paying $33 a liter vs $12 a liter play a factor in that at all?

You don't have to pay $33 a liter to get good quality olive oil.

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lthenderson
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by lthenderson » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:13 am

There are three things to look for when buying olive oil to ensure you are getting good stuff.

1. It is from a single source. They list their sources on the bottle and if it comes from multiple sources, it is blended and won't be as flavorful.

2. Check the packaging date also on the bottle. After a year it begins to degrade.

3. Buy only green bottles, not clear. Sunlight also degrades the oil.

Here is a video clip of a taste testing of olive oils that says some of the same things.

https://www.americastestkitchen.com/vid ... -olive-oil

wstrdg
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by wstrdg » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:18 am

We stick to California olive oils because we can trust that they are unadulterated and honestly labeled, and because they're local.

Good oil is first-press, virgin. Cheaper oils can be heat-extracted and you don't want that, nor do you want chemical extraction methods. Costco carries a very good California olive oil under their Kirkland Signature label. The bottle looks a lot like California Ranch brand. California Ranch is available in most grocery stores.

Finally, olive oil is tender and can turn rancid. Keep it in the dark in a cool place, but not the refrigerator (and certainly not next to your hot stovetop). Buy only the quantity that you can use in six months. And a good label will give you the harvest date -- you want to use it up within one year of that date.

Enjoy!

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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by mlz » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:27 am

In my experience, there is a definitely taste difference between different olive oils. We buy our oil from a boutique olive oil shop in town that lets us taste-test, and when comparing side-by-side we can notice a difference between their oils.

That said, once we get home (and don't have the side-by-side comparison), I'm not sure we can really tell a difference. And certainly we can't tell a difference when cooking with it (but then again, we both have pretty un-refined taste buds)

My suggestion would be to try it once, and see if you notice a difference.

farnsy
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by farnsy » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:29 am

Most expensive olive oil is fake--either it's a mixture of olive and other oils or it's straight up sunflower oil with green dye and some flavorings in it. That's because to make it expensive they import it from Italy. The olive oil industry there is very corrupt. If the oil is from Italy and is marketed as extra virgin, it may also be a lower grade of real olive oil.

Cheap olive oil comes from California, and really is what it says on the label. Stick with store brands from Walmart, Sam's, Costco, etc. if you want the real thing. The fancy oils with Italian sounding names and those from premium places like whole foods are the most likely to be fake.

I can imagine that oil with added olive flavoring and dye could be quite delicious, but most people want olive oil, at least in part, because it's relatively healthy.
Last edited by farnsy on Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

JBTX
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by JBTX » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:31 am

FlyAF wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:23 am
There is a documentary series on Netflix called "Rotten." One of the episodes is about olive oil and how pretty much all of it is faked up and down the price spectrum. It's worth watching.
I thought I saw a similar thing on 60 minutes years ago.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cbsnew ... olive-oil/

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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by tidelandp » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:34 am

Pajamas wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:34 am
Yes, good quality olive or other oil is worth it when it is drizzled on foods, within reasonable price limits. Olive oil, like honey, is often adulterated and fraudulently labelled. A lot of what is sold as extra virgin olive oil simply doesn't meet the high standards for flavor or is old. You can get great olive oils from Spain, California, Australia, etc., not just Italy.

A good way to start would be with a certified California olive oil as it is a fairly safe bet as far as quality. Trader Joe's and Costco also carry some good olive oils at reasonable cost.

https://www.cooc.com/about-the-seal/

There was a thread the other day about avocado oil and there are other oils that are worth trying such as walnut oil.
I agree. Good extra-virgin olive oil is rich in healthy fats. Unfortunately, the industry is rife with fraud and counterfeit products. Last year, Italian police busted a crime gang with Mafia connections that was shipping cheap olive pomace oil to the U.S. where it was re-labeled as the more expensive EVOO. I stick with domestically produced stuff that's been certified by the COOC. To earn its seal, growers must submit their oils for lab and taste testing.
Last edited by tidelandp on Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

Frank Grimes
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by Frank Grimes » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:45 am

Olive oil has a pretty low smoke point, so high-heat cooking probably robs it of the flavors, etc that presumably one would be using it for.

That's mostly the type of cooking I do lately, a lot of one-pot stir fry type dishes, so I use stuff like coconut or canola which holds up better to that heat.

Pompeian olive oil seems to go on sale pretty often at the store so that's what I end up buying. It's probably one of those brands that is adulterated/cut with cheaper stuff but it tastes alright to me. And it's cheap.

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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by international001 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:52 am

Only extra virgin has the good radical properties that make olive oil so healthy. Taste is your option

Careful with the ones showing with an Italian flag. If you read the label, they import from Spain, Greece, Turkey ...

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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:10 am

I buy in Costco Kirkland Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil in 2-liter (2 Qt. 3.6 Fl Oz) containers. I only use it in salads; I don't fry. The expiration date is usually at least a year later, and I buy several containers at a time. This oil provides an excellent benefit/cost ratio.

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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by HongKonger » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:20 am

Yes. There is a huge difference between the oil you put in food (NEVER fry with) and the oil you drizzle over food (or dunk your bread in). Decent producers usually have QR codes on that will give you all the details you need to decide - single source, first press, geographical and terrain info. It all makes a huge difference to the taste. I once attended an olive oil tasting/pairing dinner hosted by a boutique Italian producer. It was a real eye opener.

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tuningfork
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by tuningfork » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:33 am

Thanks for the responses! Lots of good information to consider!

Hopefully I can avoid the counterfeit products.
Frank Grimes wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:45 am
Olive oil has a pretty low smoke point, so high-heat cooking probably robs it of the flavors, etc that presumably one would be using it for.

That's mostly the type of cooking I do lately, a lot of one-pot stir fry type dishes, so I use stuff like coconut or canola which holds up better to that heat.
I use non-extra-virgin olive oil for most vegetable sautes, eggs, etc. Canola for heavy duty frying. I would probably continue to use cheaper olive oil for sautes, though I'd like to be sure I'm not buying fake olive oil for that purpose.
HongKonger wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:20 am
Decent producers usually have QR codes on that will give you all the details you need to decide - single source, first press, geographical and terrain info. It all makes a huge difference to the taste. I once attended an olive oil tasting/pairing dinner hosted by a boutique Italian producer. It was a real eye opener.
I never realized olive oils were so dependent on such details as geography and terrain. Sounds much like wine. I will definitely try some up-scale olive oils to see if I can taste the difference. Maybe see if there's a boutique shop in town that offers taste testing.

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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by lazydavid » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:42 am

Our go-to for general cooking is either Costco or Sam's club house-brand EVOO. Good quality for the price. For dishes where the olive oil's taste is prominent, we have a few better ones. The Trader Joe's Tunisian in a greenish-blue can has an outstanding flavor and is very reasonably priced. We have a few others we use as well, none that I can remember the name of at the moment.

This is by far the best olive oil I've ever had:

https://oliveoillovers.com/masia-el-altet-high-quality/

It is the house oil at all of Joël Robuchon's restaurants. I have not been able to find it locally.

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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by bert09 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:52 am

I like California Olive Ranch brand - it is a little bit more expensive than what others are suggesting, but I really like the taste. America's Test Kitchen came to the same conclusion, so I feel pretty validated:

https://www.americastestkitchen.com/tas ... -olive-oil

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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by KSOC » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:57 am

We use the regular Aldi brand regular olive oil for cooking & baking instead of vegetable or canola. It really has a mild flavor. I use Aldi EVO for some Italian dishes for flavoring. Lastly, if I'm frying foods, it's coconut oil (not the heavy coconut taste) or peanut oil. We will buy European style pure butter.

I was skeptical of store brands, but after trying Aldi & Publix they were more then acceptable to us. So my answer is no, not worth it to my family.
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by crg11 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:59 am

I used to buy the cheap extra virgin olive oil from the grocery store. Then I read this book: https://www.amazon.com/Real-Food-Fake-Y ... 01B3VMBN8/ and it completely changed my perception. Real extra virgin olive oil is surprisingly rare :(

http://extravirginity.com/ is maintained by the author of that book and using his supermarket list, I purchased California Olive Ranch's olive oil. It's excellent and really not that much more than the cheap fake stuff I was apparently using before.

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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by InvisibleAerobar » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:42 pm

Even almost 7 years later, I can still remember listening to this podcast on olive oil. http://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2011/12/02/ ... -olive-oil

Key question is how do you know the true provenance of your olive oil.

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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by tigermilk » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:03 pm

wstrdg wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:18 am
We stick to California olive oils because we can trust that they are unadulterated and honestly labeled, and because they're local.

Good oil is first-press, virgin. Cheaper oils can be heat-extracted and you don't want that, nor do you want chemical extraction methods. Costco carries a very good California olive oil under their Kirkland Signature label. The bottle looks a lot like California Ranch brand. California Ranch is available in most grocery stores.
We buy California as well with the same assumptions. We can only hope that domestic oils are harder to fake than foreign. We get Kirkland's for general cooking and California Ranch for everything else (dipping, dressings, etc, basically anything where the oil isn't heated).

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jabberwockOG
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by jabberwockOG » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:15 pm

Extremely hard to beat Costco brand Kirkland Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil for price and quality.

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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by bhsince87 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:16 pm

bert09 wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:52 am
I like California Olive Ranch brand - it is a little bit more expensive than what others are suggesting, but I really like the taste. America's Test Kitchen came to the same conclusion, so I feel pretty validated:

https://www.americastestkitchen.com/tas ... -olive-oil
I especially like their "Robust" version.

I am a bit of an "Olive Oil Snob." Yes, it's a thing! Good olive oil is very much like wine.

I tend to prefer Spanish boutique products, but I try new brands constantly. It's fun!

I fry/cook/bake with Bertolli extra light (not a blend). I buy it by the gallon.

Since I've discovered California Olive Ranch Robust, it is my current go-to for fresh use. I keep a bottle at the table, one in the kitchen, and another at work.


I reccomend the OP give it a try. It's pretty easy to find and very consistent from batch to batch.
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l2ridehd
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by l2ridehd » Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:46 pm

Tried many, like some of the higher end stuff, but my go to for price and quality is Pastene. I buy it online directly from Pastene. It comes in a 3 liter can for about $25. They also have the San Marzano ground tomatoes which make the best gravy.

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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by Elsebet » Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:33 pm

I buy my Olive oil from Costco and use it in a lot of ways.

I also use Peanut oil for popcorn and canola for higher heat dishes, although recently I've been thinking of using an alternative for those in either coconut or avocado oils.

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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by InvisibleAerobar » Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:46 pm

Elsebet wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:33 pm
I buy my Olive oil from Costco and use it in a lot of ways.

I also use Peanut oil for popcorn and canola for higher heat dishes, although recently I've been thinking of using an alternative for those in either coconut or avocado oils.
or just butter

coconut oil has a strong flavor. good in curries and sweeter dishes, but it really throws off other dishes

I personally buy TJ's California Estate Olive Oil. It's got a nice peppery kick to it, and seems to garner good reviews. No idea about the pressing methods though. I used to cook exclusively with it, but anything high temp these days, I use either butter or safflower seed oil

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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by Loik098 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:53 pm

1) As a dressing? Maybe. Do some taste tests first before wasting your money.

2) To cook with? No. If you haven't noticed the taste of your oil until now, you won't notice it by changing, either.

Contrary to the (recent) prevalence of TV chefs who do so, you should not be using EVOO to cook with, anyway. It's a crappy oil for that purpose and, as mentioned, a lot of it is fake stuff with few health benefits. It's just easier to use an oil with a higher smoke point (I use avocado) for everything in the kitchen.

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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by HongKonger » Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:45 am

tuningfork wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:33 am
Thanks for the responses! Lots of good information to consider!

Hopefully I can avoid the counterfeit products.
Frank Grimes wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:45 am
Olive oil has a pretty low smoke point, so high-heat cooking probably robs it of the flavors, etc that presumably one would be using it for.

That's mostly the type of cooking I do lately, a lot of one-pot stir fry type dishes, so I use stuff like coconut or canola which holds up better to that heat.
I use non-extra-virgin olive oil for most vegetable sautes, eggs, etc. Canola for heavy duty frying. I would probably continue to use cheaper olive oil for sautes, though I'd like to be sure I'm not buying fake olive oil for that purpose.
HongKonger wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:20 am
Decent producers usually have QR codes on that will give you all the details you need to decide - single source, first press, geographical and terrain info. It all makes a huge difference to the taste. I once attended an olive oil tasting/pairing dinner hosted by a boutique Italian producer. It was a real eye opener.
I never realized olive oils were so dependent on such details as geography and terrain. Sounds much like wine. I will definitely try some up-scale olive oils to see if I can taste the difference. Maybe see if there's a boutique shop in town that offers taste testing.
They are indeed like wines or single malts in that they are influenced by the soil, the water, climactic condition etc. You will certainly taste differences such as earthiness, nuttiness, peppery, sweet/fruitiness. Enjoy!

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:13 pm

The last EVOO I bought was Terra Delyssa. This is supposed to be estate-grown, pure Tunisian oil. Frankly I'm not that great at telling the difference between various olive oils.
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by stoptothink » Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:29 pm

HongKonger wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:45 am
tuningfork wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:33 am
Thanks for the responses! Lots of good information to consider!

Hopefully I can avoid the counterfeit products.
Frank Grimes wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:45 am
Olive oil has a pretty low smoke point, so high-heat cooking probably robs it of the flavors, etc that presumably one would be using it for.

That's mostly the type of cooking I do lately, a lot of one-pot stir fry type dishes, so I use stuff like coconut or canola which holds up better to that heat.
I use non-extra-virgin olive oil for most vegetable sautes, eggs, etc. Canola for heavy duty frying. I would probably continue to use cheaper olive oil for sautes, though I'd like to be sure I'm not buying fake olive oil for that purpose.
HongKonger wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:20 am
Decent producers usually have QR codes on that will give you all the details you need to decide - single source, first press, geographical and terrain info. It all makes a huge difference to the taste. I once attended an olive oil tasting/pairing dinner hosted by a boutique Italian producer. It was a real eye opener.
I never realized olive oils were so dependent on such details as geography and terrain. Sounds much like wine. I will definitely try some up-scale olive oils to see if I can taste the difference. Maybe see if there's a boutique shop in town that offers taste testing.
They are indeed like wines or single malts in that they are influenced by the soil, the water, climactic condition etc. You will certainly taste differences such as earthiness, nuttiness, peppery, sweet/fruitiness. Enjoy!
The chemical fingerprint of all aromatic oils is highly influenced by various geographic, terrain, climate, and harvesting factors. In my area of research (I am in science and research for the single largest company in a different oil industry), even the time of day in which the plant from which the oil is extracted from was harvested could have dramatic effects on chemical composition, therefore on smell and taste.

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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by HongKonger » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:59 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:29 pm
HongKonger wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:45 am
tuningfork wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:33 am
Thanks for the responses! Lots of good information to consider!

Hopefully I can avoid the counterfeit products.
Frank Grimes wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:45 am
Olive oil has a pretty low smoke point, so high-heat cooking probably robs it of the flavors, etc that presumably one would be using it for.

That's mostly the type of cooking I do lately, a lot of one-pot stir fry type dishes, so I use stuff like coconut or canola which holds up better to that heat.
I use non-extra-virgin olive oil for most vegetable sautes, eggs, etc. Canola for heavy duty frying. I would probably continue to use cheaper olive oil for sautes, though I'd like to be sure I'm not buying fake olive oil for that purpose.
HongKonger wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:20 am
Decent producers usually have QR codes on that will give you all the details you need to decide - single source, first press, geographical and terrain info. It all makes a huge difference to the taste. I once attended an olive oil tasting/pairing dinner hosted by a boutique Italian producer. It was a real eye opener.
I never realized olive oils were so dependent on such details as geography and terrain. Sounds much like wine. I will definitely try some up-scale olive oils to see if I can taste the difference. Maybe see if there's a boutique shop in town that offers taste testing.
They are indeed like wines or single malts in that they are influenced by the soil, the water, climactic condition etc. You will certainly taste differences such as earthiness, nuttiness, peppery, sweet/fruitiness. Enjoy!
The chemical fingerprint of all aromatic oils is highly influenced by various geographic, terrain, climate, and harvesting factors. In my area of research (I am in science and research for the single largest company in a different oil industry), even the time of day in which the plant from which the oil is extracted from was harvested could have dramatic effects on chemical composition, therefore on smell and taste.
Can you tell me whether biodynamics really does have a significant influence? When I lived in the South of Italy, many small/family producers of wines and olive oil used to harvest and bottle by the moons phases. I understand the theory and it makes sense to me but would be interested to hear from a scientific perspective.

iamlucky13
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by iamlucky13 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:46 pm

This is interesting reading, in light of having during a recent grocery trip, noticed for the first time just how many different olive oil choices there were.

The variety on the shelf piqued my curiosity enough to start counting. I think the total was around 150 different specific products, and there was probably over 50 different brands, just in an ordinary Safeway. I suppose it could be interesting to try a few different products from time to time to see if I develop any preferences.
HongKonger wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:59 pm
Can you tell me whether biodynamics really does have a significant influence? When I lived in the South of Italy, many small/family producers of wines and olive oil used to harvest and bottle by the moons phases. I understand the theory and it makes sense to me but would be interested to hear from a scientific perspective.
I'm not anything remotely close to an expert on olive oil, but I'd wager there is, as I have seen in many other fields, a mix of truth and myth to many olive oil farming practices. One thing I would not bet against, is that if a farmer tried a simple test like harvesting one half of a field one day, and waited 14 days to harvest the other half of the field, the resulting oils will have different flavors. That's really a test of ripening, though, not the moon.

I guess in the case of the moon idea, we'd literally be talking about lunacy in the etymological sense.

In terms of basic principles, however, the two most obvious potential effects of the phases of the moon are very weak. Tides causes variations of water level measured in feet over thousands of miles, as well as very small variations in atmospheric pressure. The former is obviously relevant for plants in a tidal environment, but most plants are isolated from such macro scale changes. Likewise, the light of a full moon is only about a millionth as strong as sunlight.

Perhaps because there have long been so many cultural practices related to astronomical patterns, including harvesting as you note, this has actually be scientifically studied. Here's a study that examined numerous prior pieces of research into possible lunar affects on plants. Their conclusion is that some studies do seem to show a correlation between the moon and plant growth, but there isn't much confidence the effect is causal. And even if there is, that would not necessarily indicate that very small changes in the rate of root growth, for example, result in noticeably different tastes.

But if we were able to determine if the moon affects the taste and quality of olive oil, then Safeway would have to start selling even more varieties of olive oil to capture the full range of "extra lunatic" oils, too.

Ninnie
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by Ninnie » Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:20 am

I have a very sensitive soy allergy. Therefore I can detect if an olive oil was diluted with soybean oil or (more common) simply transported before packaging in shared containers. It's very common.

I use olive oil that's canned in the country of origin.

FireProof
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by FireProof » Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:11 am

Do a BLIND test. It's quite likely you will prefer certain olive oil, but no reason to believe it will have any connection to price.

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CyclingDuo
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by CyclingDuo » Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:51 am

tuningfork wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:17 am
Olive oil is our staple oil. We use extra virgin for marinades and dressings, and plain/pure for sautes. We rarely use other oils. Sometimes canola oil when we think the flavor of olive oil will clash with other flavors, and sometimes peanut and sesame oils for Asian dishes.

When it's time to buy olive oil, I usually buy non-grocery-store brands at the lower end of the price spectrum, depending on what's on sale. For example, current brands in my cupboard are Filippo Berio and Bertolli.

Would upgrading to more expensive / higher quality olive oil significantly improve flavor in our dishes? I've never done taste comparisons so I don't know the difference between the cheap oils I buy and oil that's 2 or 3 or 10 times more expensive. Paying more for olive oil would not break the budget, but I'm cautious about over-spending on something when the improvement would only be slight or unnoticed.

What price points or brands should I be looking at?
Yes. It is totally worth it for many - including us!

We now source ours from a local farmer in Italy that we met two years ago while there (a local chef recommended his oil and sent us to meet him). He ships directly to us and all olives are from his grove. It's not even a brand name here or in Italy, just a local organic source from a small family farm. It's from the Chianti Region in Tuscany and has a nice little kick or "bite" to it. It's difficult to find anything in stores here in the US that comes close.

Do some taste comparisons so you know the difference. You won't break the budget on olive oil(s) alone. :beer
"Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time." ~ Steven Wright

moehoward
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by moehoward » Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:42 pm

"Cheap olive oil comes from California, and really is what it says on the label. Stick with store brands from Walmart, Sam's, Costco, etc. if you want the real thing."

Wow, just the opposite. Many wineries in Northern California also have olive trees and make a great olive oil. Rules for US/CA wine are more stringent than Italy.

Kersten
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by Kersten » Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:59 pm

Took me a while to find this info in my research file.

The article I was looking for is titled:
"Consumer group finds 6 out of 11 extra virgin olive oil products mislabeled; calls for stricter oversight"
Posted by NCL Communications - May, 2015(a consumer group)

You can still find it on line if you should want to read the entire article. Worth a read! Easy to find.

The following five products were found to have "no flavor defects and to be classified as extra virgin":
California Olive Ranch "Extra Virgin Olive Oil"
Colavita "Extra Virgin California Estate Olive Oil"
Trader Joe's "Extra Virgin California Estate Olive Oil"
Trader Joe's "100% Italian Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil"

According to the article there are a lot of olive oils out there that are not the "real deal".

After reading this article I purchase Trader Joe's "Extra Virgin California Estate Olive Oil". It is VERY reasonably priced and tasty.

stoptothink
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by stoptothink » Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:49 pm

HongKonger wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:59 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:29 pm
HongKonger wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:45 am
tuningfork wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:33 am
Thanks for the responses! Lots of good information to consider!

Hopefully I can avoid the counterfeit products.
Frank Grimes wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:45 am
Olive oil has a pretty low smoke point, so high-heat cooking probably robs it of the flavors, etc that presumably one would be using it for.

That's mostly the type of cooking I do lately, a lot of one-pot stir fry type dishes, so I use stuff like coconut or canola which holds up better to that heat.
I use non-extra-virgin olive oil for most vegetable sautes, eggs, etc. Canola for heavy duty frying. I would probably continue to use cheaper olive oil for sautes, though I'd like to be sure I'm not buying fake olive oil for that purpose.
HongKonger wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:20 am
Decent producers usually have QR codes on that will give you all the details you need to decide - single source, first press, geographical and terrain info. It all makes a huge difference to the taste. I once attended an olive oil tasting/pairing dinner hosted by a boutique Italian producer. It was a real eye opener.
I never realized olive oils were so dependent on such details as geography and terrain. Sounds much like wine. I will definitely try some up-scale olive oils to see if I can taste the difference. Maybe see if there's a boutique shop in town that offers taste testing.
They are indeed like wines or single malts in that they are influenced by the soil, the water, climactic condition etc. You will certainly taste differences such as earthiness, nuttiness, peppery, sweet/fruitiness. Enjoy!
The chemical fingerprint of all aromatic oils is highly influenced by various geographic, terrain, climate, and harvesting factors. In my area of research (I am in science and research for the single largest company in a different oil industry), even the time of day in which the plant from which the oil is extracted from was harvested could have dramatic effects on chemical composition, therefore on smell and taste.
Can you tell me whether biodynamics really does have a significant influence? When I lived in the South of Italy, many small/family producers of wines and olive oil used to harvest and bottle by the moons phases. I understand the theory and it makes sense to me but would be interested to hear from a scientific perspective.
Honestly, I know little about the influence of biodynamics. I'm sure some of my colleagues could give you some info, but it's not something I'm too familiar with.

BespokeBiker
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by BespokeBiker » Sat Jul 14, 2018 8:16 pm

It's a little dated now but here's a link to the UC Davis study (pdf; [url]https://olivecenter.ucdavis.edu /media/files/oliveoilfinal071410updated.pdf[/url]) that put many major EVOO producers on notice that they'd better clean up their act -- I'm looking @ you BERIO & BERTOLLI.

Back then COSTCO/Kirland EVOO tested well -- athough these days I've seen that it's sourced from more places (Greece, Italy, Spain, Morocco, etc).

BespokeBiker
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by BespokeBiker » Sat Jul 14, 2018 8:21 pm

..sorry about the broken UC Davis link -- for me, link insertion function doesn't accept the whole link (when using FFx).


For the UC Davis PDF, cut/paste this: https://olivecenter.ucdavis.edu /media/files/oliveoilfinal071410updated.pdf

letsgobobby
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Re: Is expensive olive oil worth it?

Post by letsgobobby » Sat Jul 14, 2018 8:31 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:10 am
I buy in Costco Kirkland Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil in 2-liter (2 Qt. 3.6 Fl Oz) containers. I only use it in salads; I don't fry. The expiration date is usually at least a year later, and I buy several containers at a time. This oil provides an excellent benefit/cost ratio.

Victoria
We occasionally buy something fruitier or spicier for dipping, but Kirkland is our go to. We go through a bottle every 3-4 weeks.

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