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Old 11-10-2005, 09:12 AM   #1
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Olive Oil

Someone posed a question on how to select a good olive oil on another thread, I thought it a worthy topic to be discussed on a separate thread. I have the good fortune of living where many different kinds of olive oil are readily available at less cost, and I am afraid certain kinds of real high quality olive oil may be quite pricy, or not even available in many other parts of the world. So I would appreciate the opinions of people from elsewhere as well to help everyone from everywhere...

Personally, we use extra virgine olive oil for just about everything, except for baking sweets (where butter is better fit), and deep frying. (Since olive oil has a lower boiling point, it is not suited for deep frying.)
We keep two types, one, sort of "generic" evoo, something you can find at lower prices in supermarkets for everyday sautčing and grilling (they are available at about 3+€ for every 1litre here). "Generic" they may be, they have enough nutty, fruity aroma to add to the food. And also a very good quality evoo, our favourite is from Sardinia, but also sometimes Tuscan, which is world famous. This kind of oil are used raw, for salad, bruschetta etc. to enjoy the maximized full flavour. Using them for pan frying is, something like using filet mignon for goulash, the special flavour and texture will be wasted...

Extra virgine oil, to go into a little more in detail, is made from perfect olives crushed immediately after harvest and processed without the use of heat, thus maintaining the original flavour, aroma and vitamins of the olive fruit. (These oils are sometimes called "cold pressed" or "first cold pressed" but these terms are being phased out, as pressing is often replaced by centrifugation.) Extra Virgine must have perfect fruity full flavour and odour and a free acidity expressed as oleic acid (an indication of quality) of no more than 0,8%.

Naturally, we are much more used to the Italian product, but the Spanish olive oils are said to be equally of high quality. Anyone who is in the know about Spanish olive oils here?

Also I have found some useful links here to learn some more about this wonderful nature's gift...

http://www.internationaloliveoil.org...p?lang=english

http://www.jrnet.com/olive/#GRADE

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olive_oil

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Old 11-10-2005, 09:19 AM   #2
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thanks urmaniac! interesting stuff.
i use evoo for most things also. i've tried bertolli extra light olive oil, which is supposed to have a higher smoking point for frying, but i found it's really more useful when you don't want the olive taste. the smoking point didn't seem that much higher.
the evoo that i regularly use is from costco, kirkland signature brand, and is imported from tuscany. i love it's flavor. it's the first time that i've noticed how much the flavor of olive oil can influence a dish, so i'm hooked on trying newer, better quality ones now.
i've heard the same things about spanish olive oil and am very interested in trying some.
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Old 11-10-2005, 09:25 AM   #3
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Great thread as so many people love olive oil (myself included)! The EVOO that I use is from Trader Joes. I can never remember the name (Santinni or Santareli or something like that maybe?), but I love the flavor. It is also pretty inexpensive as far as olive oil goes so I use it for everything except for things I don't want the olive flavor in like baked goods. I don't deep fry anything so I don't have to worry about that.
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Old 11-10-2005, 09:35 AM   #4
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I finished reading the thread you're referring to. Iron Chef made some good points...if I can find it again.
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Old 11-10-2005, 09:42 AM   #5
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I tried to pinpoint the name GB was trying to remember (santini..santirelli...??)... I haven't been successful but I gave a look at the site of "Trader Joe's" (I have never heard of this chain, neither "costco", having lived in Texas I mainly shopped at "HEB"!!)... it does have a nice pdf feature on olive oils!!

http://www.traderjoes.com/products/oliveoil.pdf

That's great that they make the effort to offer a good quality evoo to the consumers!
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Old 11-10-2005, 09:46 AM   #6
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I tend to buy a lot of olive oils when I'm travelling in southern Europe - Tuscany, Liguria and Sicily are all Italian EVOs that I like. I also like some Spanish olive oils and also Greek ones - particularly from Crete and Cyprus. The Corfu stuff is not nice at all - probably because the locals neglected their olive groves for many, many years - in fact you can still see really old olive trees that have never been pruned for decades!

When we run out of the stuff we bring in - I buy from Carluccio's - his Ligurian oil is beautifully flavoured.
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Old 11-10-2005, 09:50 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mish
I finished reading the thread you're referring to. Iron Chef made some good points...if I can find it again.
I found it...

*quote by Ironchef*

One helpful sign to tell the quality of the oil is from the container it comes in. Because the oil's producers have no way in knowing how long their product may sit on a shelf, the better olive oils come in a darker colored or even opaque container to minimize the amount of light that the oil is exposed to. Excessive amounts of light can cause photooxidation which will make the oil go rancid faster. Olive oil packed in clear glass or plastic containers can go rancid up to 60% faster than oils which are packed and stored properly. **

Yes he is right... ideally they are packed and transferred in a metal container, instead of glass bottle, in order to block the exposure to the light. Also they shouldn't be stored in anything plastic... plastic alters the flavour.

Ironchef states that he is in favour of the spanish evoo... let's hope he can share some in depth opinion on that!!
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Old 11-10-2005, 09:50 AM   #8
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Awesome post Licia!!

I don't like acidic olive oils, actually (I'll confess) I prefer a very mild olive oil for day to day cooking and would usually only opt for a stronger one if it was going to be a dip for bread, vegetables, etc. Wow, Tony wasn't kiding olive oil is cheap, cheap, cheap in Italy! I find it to be more expensive in Ireland than it was in Canada - go figure, considering that Ireland is way closer!

I think this will become a real reference post for many people, thanks again for writing it
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Old 11-10-2005, 09:55 AM   #9
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Something else that people do not always think about in regards to olive oil is that it is a lot like wine in the way that the harvest each year can be different. People often times will find a brand they tasted that they like and stick with it forever (brand loyalty). But just like wine, olive oil from one producer can be great one year, but the next year might taste different because the harvest is different. I love the Santini (I called and confirmed this is the name) olive oil I get from Trader Joes, but I frequently try others to make sure I am finding the best I can find. You will not always find consistency within a brand because of the many factors that can come into play.
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Old 11-10-2005, 10:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urmaniac13
I found it...

*quote by Ironchef*

the better olive oils come in a darker colored or even opaque container to minimize the amount of light that the oil is exposed to. Excessive amounts of light can cause photooxidation which will make the oil go rancid faster. Olive oil packed in clear glass or plastic containers can go rancid up to 60% faster than oils which are packed and stored properly. **
That's the part I found most helpful, as I've only noticed clear bottles on the shelf at the market. We don't know how or what kind of container it was shipped in, because we were not there.

Wanted to thank BT...as I remembered your Bertolli (sp) suggestion in a post some time ago. Have to put that on the list, as it's a brand I've actually seen.

Too bad the markets don't have olive oil sampling. That would be very helpful.

Silly story - An ex BF comes over to make a mexican dish (deep fried) and uses up my whole bottle of evoo. Had to bite my tongue. This is why I don't want anyone in my kitchen
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