Choice of olive oil


2 Mar 2017
Local time
11:21 PM
For the past 18 months or so I've changed from seed oils such as rapeseed & sunflower so that the only oil I use is olive oil
I've tried a few brands, from cheap & supermarket own to quite expensive types, and TBH I can't really tell much difference, so I've settled on well known mid priced brands; as I live in Britain this is usually Berio or Napolina

However, I'm concerned as I've watched YouTube videos and it seems there is a lot of fraud & adulteration & corruption in the olive oil supply so, please, are there any recommendations for a good olive oil in Britain?
I'm not so bothered about getting the absolute best flavour, rather that it is the genuine article and has not been adulterated and the nutritional quality is still good.
I like Trader Joe's extra virgin.
I like Trader Joe's extra virgin.
Yeah I wasn't sure what to say since they asked about OO in Britain. I know we have Philip Berio here but I like a lot of others...still, unsure of what's available over there.
That's a very good question. The largest producer of olive oil in the world is Spain. They produce more than double the amount of their closest rivals, Italy . Next on the list come Turkey, Tunisia, Greece...
The flavour of olive oil is really hard to distinguish, unless you're an expert, and to be honest, I don't really think it makes much difference to ordinary folks (or even foodies), as long as you taste the "olive" bit at some stage.
I was once invited to an olive oil tasting session ( the oil was from Chile). The presenter said to us:
"You have 4 samples of oil in front of you. I want you to taste them and then tell me if they are red, or green"
We identified 2 as "green"- because they seemed to taste of freshly mown grass, and the other 2 as red, by elimination.
Making olive oil involves various processes: cold press, first press, second press, etc. and depends on what olives are used... in other words, there are thousands of variants which will befuddle anyone.
As to the most common or most popular brands - I was in London last month and saw Berio, Di Cecco, Bertorelli, Carbonell and some top-of-the-line cold-pressed bottles.Which is the best? No idea, because that depends entirely on your sense of taste.
As for You Tube - I'd just turn it off. There are a lot of good things on YouTube, but there are an equal amount of bad, especially the conspiration theorists who would have you believe that 99% of all olive oil is adulterated. False, false, false.
You'll probably find that Spanish olive oil is from olives harvested in Spain; that's because they produce 788,000 million litres a year. Italian olive oils might, and I repeat, might contain olives from Tunisia, Spain, Greece, Morocco (look on the label) and that's because Italian production cannot keep up with the demand. Not a negative - just a difference. That's what the hystericals on YouTube use to wail about adulteration.
Your best bet (IMHO) is to try a few. Berio this month, Carbonell next month, and so on. TASTE them (dip some bread in them) and decide for yourself. I'm currently using a Lebanese olive oil called "Mooneh", and it's fine.
Just read the label carefully.
If it contains oil from other plants/nuts/whatever, it should say so.
If it is only olives, it might be a blend of olives and there is nothing wrong with that
. . . [the label] should say so. . . .
and that's the actual problem with adulterated olive oils - the criminals don't say so on the label.

most/all? the "testing" and investigation involves extra virgin olive oil.
it commands a higher price - and profit being the motive, there's not much profit in adulterating the less expensive grades.
The most egregious one I have seen claims to be extra virgin oil. Upon reading the small print on the label I learned that it was 20% extra virgin olive oil. They rest was vegetable oil. I wish I could remember the brand because I would like to ban it from my shopping list.

Food scientists will tell you that olive oil loses its flavor when it is cooked. I think that is true. I use only extra virgin olive oil and use it for drizzing, adding to a vinaigrette or any other purpose other than cooking. If you are going to cook with it you should choose whichever one is on sale or add some for flavor after it the food is cooked. I buy the good stuff and use very little of it. Vegetable oil handles the cooking.
extra virgin olive oil is prized largely for it's aroma / taste.
the compounds that make those qualities degrade/disappear with heat.
hence the "cold first press" notations . . .

I also only use extra virgin olive oils for drizzles on salads, cold things.
for cooking I use the plain ole 'virgin olive oil' - for most everything.
just seared off a chunk-o-chuck for tomorrow's "pot roast" . . .

Pay attention to the color and smell. Real olive oil usually has a greenish-yellow hue and a fresh fruity or grassy aroma. Steer clear of oils that look too clear or have a funky smell.
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