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Olive Oils Made in Wine Country

Olive Oils Made in Wine Country

Olive oil and wine just seem to go together; they’re part of that magical combination of foods that make the Mediterranean diet so healthful. Both grapevines and olive trees flourish in the same places, so it’s not surprising enterprising winemakers are making their own olive oils. Whether you like your olive oil extra-virgin and spicy or infused with the flavor of fruits and herbs, here are some wine country olive oils worth a drizzle:

Brutocao Cellars: This Mendocino County winery whose founders have roots in Venice, Italy, specializes in Italian varietals like dolcetto, Super Tuscan style blends, and olive oils to match. The olives come from the family’s property and star nothing but classic Tuscan olive varieties like Frantoio, Leccino and Maurino. $18 for the 375-milliliter bottle.

Pietra Santa Winery: Nearly every winery offers a wine club, but Pietra Santa tucked away in the Santa Cruz Mountains is one of the few that boasts an olive oil club, too. Becoming a member of Club OO means you’ll receive two yearly shipments of their Italian oils grown on rocky soil at 1,400-feet elevation, as well as discounts and special invitations. Our favorite is the organic extra-virgin oil. $35 for the 500-milliliter bottle.

Round Pond: The Napa Valley winery is just as well known for their cabernet sauvignon as they are for their local olive oils. Packed in distinctive round bottles — natch — their olive oils that were just released include a Spanish blend and an Italian varietal oil infused with Meyer lemon. $36 for the 375-milliliter bottle.

McEvoy Ranch: After an exciting newspaper career, Nan McEvoy started an olive ranch in Petaluma — and the rest is history. Who doesn’t love their silky 80 Acres olive oil soap and body balm? Wines from the property’s young vines — which include viognier, montepulciano, and pinot noir — are still in the works, but their certified organic olive oil is their claim to fame. The grassy Olio Nuovo made from fresh young olives each fall sells out quickly, but we love the zesty green flavor of the Traditional Blend extra-virgin oil year round. $46 for the 750-milliliter bottle.

Jordan Winery: As if it weren’t enough to create wildly popular cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay on an idyllic property in Healdsburg in Sonoma County, the Jordan family also creates its own olive oil. The slightly spicy blend made from Frantoio, Leccino, Arbequina, and Pendolino olives is wonderful drizzled over grilled veggies. But we can’t wait to try it in this Jordan Olive Oil and Chardonnay Pound Cake. $29 for the 375-milliliter bottle.

Click here for more from The Daily Sip.


Olive Oil Season in California Wine Country

As grape picking and crushing comes to an end, another season begins.

Nov. 28, 2008— -- Just as grape-picking and -crushing comes to an end, the olive season is getting quickly under way in northern California's wine country.

Olive trees also like a dry Mediterranean climate, and many vineyards and ranches have orchards of gray-green olive trees dotting the valleys and hillsides. Throughout November, crews lay tarps under the trees, and then hit the branches with long poles to knock the olives to the ground.

Like winemakers, olive oil producers look for distinct flavors from different varietals of olives, but unlike wine, olive oil doesn't need to age and has its most interesting and intense flavors when freshly pressed.

Nan Tucker McEvoy helped to usher in this industry in Northern California wine country when she established McEvoy Ranch in the Marin County hills of West Petaluma.

Originally, it was to be the site of her country home, but the region was not residentially zoned, so she needed an agricultural activity for permitting. She decided there were enough vineyards in the area, and so she set her sights on an olive ranch.

McEvoy was told it couldn't be done because of the cool fog in Marin County, but that only increased her determination. She hired Maurizio Castelli, an olive oil expert from Tuscany, who helped her develop an organic olive ranch specializing in Italian varietals including the popular Frantoio and Leccino.

"We want the intense bitter flavor of the green olives, so we tend to harvest on the earlier side, even though the riper they get, the more oil the olives have," said education director Jill Lee.

McEvoy Ranch is only open to the public a few times a year. On Dec. 7, visitors can tour the orchards and try the newly milled Olio Nuovo olive oil. In the spring, there will be tours of McEvoy's private gardens. Click here to make reservations.

McEvoy Ranch also has its own frantoio, or stone olive mill, that presses the fruit right on the property. Vineyards from around the region who are foraying into the olive oil business have also started pressing their olives at McEvoy.

Medlock Ames Winery in Sonoma County brings its crops of Italian and Spanish varietal olives to McEvoy for pressing. Ames Morison, co-owner of the vineyard, believes that including Spanish olives like Manzanillo and Arbequina help round out the Italian fruit by adding a distinct spice and peppery bite. He suggests paring a pasta dish drizzled with oil with a red blend, like a merlot/cabernet to match the bold flavors of the new oil. He plans on having his winery's first commercial batch of olive oil for sale this spring for members of its wine club.

Frantoio Ristorante in Mill Valley, Calif. (152 Shoreline Hwy., Mill Valley, Calif., 94941) boasts a large stone olive oil press right off the dining room. In November and December, guests can watch the fruits being crushed with a huge granite stone.

Owner Roberto Zecca, originally from Tuscany, believes there's a mystic connection between people and the olive tree and refers to ancient Greece and Mesopotamian cultures use of it thousands of years ago. His restaurant's olive oil is cold pressed, organic, and sold only through his store and Web site to manage the quality. Zecca says he doesn't allow his oil to get old on shelves.

When tasting newly pressed oil, he advises: "This is a condiment, so don't go for pleasure. Rather, look for analysis. From new oil you want bitterness: the taste of green leaves, freshly cut grass and artichokes. There should be a peppery burst in the back of your throat. As it ages, it becomes more mellow."

Not all olive oils in Northern California come from Italy or Spain. At the Sonoma vineyard and winery B. R. Cohn (15000 Sonoma Highway, Glen Ellen, Calif., 95442) lore has it that in the 1870's, a French peddler planted their Picholine trees, which are olives thought to be native to France.

Following their grape harvest, when the olives are 30 percent green for the peppery flavor, 30 percent turning, and 30 percent black for the high oil content, they are harvested and then taken to nearby Olive Press to be made into specialty oils that range from extra-virgin olive oil to Meyer lemon oil. These are sold in their gift store along with other specialty foods like vinegars.

Tom Montgomery, winemaker at B. R. Cohn, suggests pairing dishes that include newly pressed olive oils with Sauvignon Blanc so the crispness of the wine and the sharpness of the oil are in harmony, or align with what he calls the "intuitive palate." B. R. Cohn offers vineyard and olive orchard tours and tastings by appointment and they have free classes on brining olives coming up on Jan. 25 and March 1.

To really immerse yourself, the Sonoma Valley Olive Festival takes place in December, January and February. For this event, vineyards, restaurants and the Olive Press host olive oil cooking classes, martini parties, olive brining events, and wine and oil tastings. Visit the festival's Web site for more information.


Torcetti (or Ciambelline) al Vino

Ring-shaped cookies made with olive oil and wine are common throughout central-south Italy. They are cookies that, in spite of their plainness, bring back sweet memories for many of us who hail from this part of the boot. My paternal grandmother, who was from Isernia (Molise), made hers with white wine. She would roll out the shiny dough into thin ropes, twist the ropes together, and form them into small rings. They were dense and not too sweet, finished with an egg glaze.

In Lazio, the region that includes Rome, and Abruzzo, where my mom was from, ciambelline al vino are typically made with red wine rather than white not surprisingly, in Abruzzo it is customary to use Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, which is what I do. It gives the cookies a fruity undertone that makes them hard to resist. You can keep the cookies plain or you can spice them up a bit with aniseed and roll them in sugar just before baking, which to me makes them infinitely more interesting but still suitable for dipping.

The traditional method for making ciambelline al vino them is “all’occhio,” (by eye) which is to say without really measuring. You just combine a “glass” of wine, a “glass” of olive oil, and a “glass” of sugar and then work in enough flour to achieve a supple dough that can be rolled and shaped. I’ve added more precise measurements to help you out. Some recipes include a pinch of baking powder in the dough to lighten the cookies and make them crispier. My own preference is to leave it out, as I like the dense, crunchy texture of the more old-fashioned ones and the way they stand up to being dipped in wine or dunked in hot coffee.

When it comes to shaping, you can make classic ciambelline by rolling pieces of dough into ropes and pinching the ends together to seal them. Or, for a visual flourish, try crossing the ends of the rings rather than sealing them together. This shape is known as torcetti—little twists. Whichever way you shape them, know that when you make these cookies, you are treating yourself to a beloved taste of Italian childhood.


An Olive Oil From South Africa

Morgenster extra-virgin olive oil is made on a wine estate on the Cape.

STELLENBOSCH, South Africa — For fine olive oil, South Africa does not readily come to mind. But the Mediterranean climate of the Cape wine region is excellent for olive trees, as Giulio Bertrand, an Italian who settled in Stellenbosch in the 1990s , discovered. Today it is estimated that the original plot — “the mother block” of trees on his estate, Morgenster — has provided millions of olive trees to growers in Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, essentially kick-starting olive oil production throughout Southern Africa. Now, there are about 20 brands of extra-virgin olive oil in South Africa. Mr. Bertrand died last year at 91, but his daughters, Federica and Alessandra Bertrand, continue to run the estate, which has 30,000 trees and also produces wines. And the olive oils are perennial prizewinners. The 2018 bottling was ranked among the best in the world by Flos Olei, an olive oil guidebook. The 2018 oil is the estate’s flagship blend of 14 varietals, each picked and pressed separately before being combined. The extra-virgin oil is richly herbaceous on the palate, with notes of pepper and pleasing bitterness.


Studiokreasidesign

How To Make Oil And Red Wine Vinegar Dressing. Cup extra virgin olive oil. Don't replace the canola with olive oil.

Make sure the lid is on tight! Make sure all salad ingredients are washed and chilled. Build on it and add different flavors are you discover them such as minced garlic, or freshly grated ginger root. Let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature to let the flavors meld. It comes down to taste preference, and i welcome you to play around with this ratio to get a tangier vinaigrette.

How to Make Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing | Red wine . from i.pinimg.com Seasonings include salt, pepper (freshly ground) and often dijon mustard and/or garlic. Both red wine vinegar and white wine vinegar work well in this italian dressing recipe. Red wine vinegar is one of the stronger tasting vinegar. Combine the sugar, salt oil and vinegar in a jar and shake until fully incorporated. Toss with fingers to combine.

Build on it and add different flavors are you discover them such as minced garlic, or freshly grated ginger root.

Red wine vinegar is one of the stronger tasting vinegar. Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender. Shake the dressing in a jar (or whisk it) to recombine the ingredients. Furthermore, prepping it up is a child's play. Garlic & red wine vinegar salad dressing. Taste the vinaigrette and, if necessary, adjust the ingredients until it tastes good to you. Just before serving, remove garlic from the dressing. Toss with fingers to combine. Take your salad recipes to the next level with a delicious homemade dressing, red wine vinegar dressing recipes could help. Make sure the lid is on tight! Drizzle this red wine vinegar dressing over a bed of mixed greens for an easy, simple salad! Instead, this recipe uses a 1:1 oil to acid (vinegar + lemon juice) ratio, which makes this vinaigrette a bit tangier. Add the lettuces, carrots, onion, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, pepperocini to a large wooden salad bowl.

The oil and vinegar will naturally separate as the salad dressing sits. Both red wine vinegar and white wine vinegar work well in this italian dressing recipe. Instead, this recipe uses a 1:1 oil to acid (vinegar + lemon juice) ratio, which makes this vinaigrette a bit tangier. You can also use dijon mustard if you prefer to spicy brown. 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 1/4 cup water 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or granulated garlic)

Mustard-Shallot Vinaigrette Recipe - NYT Cooking from static01.nyt.com 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 1/4 cup water 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or granulated garlic) It's so versatile, it can be used for mixed greens or taco salads. This is a delicious, tangy vinaigrette. Shake until sugar is dissolved. Traditional red wine vinaigrettes, like this one, are made of red wine vinegar, olive oil, sugar, dijon mustard, garlic, salt and pepper.

Unlike our other vinaigrette recipes, this recipe does not use the traditional 3:1 oil to vinegar ratio.

Traditional red wine vinaigrette recipes use a 1:3 ratio of oil: Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl or shake them all up in a jar. It comes down to taste preference, and i welcome you to play around with this ratio to get a tangier vinaigrette. Don't replace the canola with olive oil. Whisk together in a bowl, or place in a tightly covered jar and shake to combine. Tighten the lid and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds or until fully combined. Furthermore, prepping it up is a child's play. Simplest vinegar & oil quick salad dressing simple cooking with heart program brings you this vinegar and oil salad dressing that is so easy to make and is the perfect simple topping to any salad. Toss with fingers to combine. Drizzle this red wine vinegar dressing over a bed of mixed greens for an easy, simple salad! Drizzle over salad greens and red cabbage. Stir together with a whisk or fork (or shake well if you're using a jar with a lid) until the olive oil has combined with the vinegar. Make sure all salad ingredients are washed and chilled.

A classic french vinaigrette is typically 3 to 4 parts oil (usually extra virgin olive oil) and 1 part acid (frequently red wine vinegar). Traditional red wine vinaigrette recipes use a 1:3 ratio of oil: Place olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, dijon mustard, garlic, and salt into a sealed mason jar or tupperware container and shake until the oil and vinegar have fully combined. With the machine running, gradually blend in the oil. Both red wine vinegar and white wine vinegar work well in this italian dressing recipe.

Olive Oil & Vinegar Dressing | Recipe | Oil, vinegar salad . from i.pinimg.com For the vinegar, we chose eden selected red wine vinegar from among several supermarket varieties for its flavor balance. Make sure all salad ingredients are washed and chilled. As it has salt and pepper, olive oil, dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, even a spoonful of this dressing will turn an average salad or sandwich into an extraordinary meal. How to make red wine vinegar dressing this simple dressing only takes a few minutes to whisk together! Make the dressing your own:

Don't replace the canola with olive oil.

Traditional red wine vinaigrettes, like this one, are made of red wine vinegar, olive oil, sugar, dijon mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Toss with fingers to combine. Traditional red wine vinaigrette recipes use a 1:3 ratio of oil: Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl or shake them all up in a jar. 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 1/4 cup water 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or granulated garlic) Combine the sugar, salt oil and vinegar in a jar and shake until fully incorporated. Just before serving, remove garlic from the dressing. Build on it and add different flavors are you discover them such as minced garlic, or freshly grated ginger root. Vinegar (wine vinegar preferred) 1 tbsp. The oil and vinegar will naturally separate as the salad dressing sits. Don't replace the canola with olive oil. Try adding a teaspoon of honey, a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, a minced clove of garlic, or a pinch of red pepper flakes. It was given to my father many years ago on l a grunion hunt company picnic by an itilan business associate.

Source: gettinmyhealthyon.com

Place the oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a glass jar. Traditional red wine vinaigrettes, like this one, are made of red wine vinegar, olive oil, sugar, dijon mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. It's so versatile, it can be used for mixed greens or taco salads. How to make red wine vinegar dressing this simple dressing only takes a few minutes to whisk together! Instead, this recipe uses a 1:1 oil to acid (vinegar + lemon juice) ratio, which makes this vinaigrette a bit tangier.

Make the dressing your own: Toss with fingers to combine. Unlike our other vinaigrette recipes, this recipe does not use the traditional 3:1 oil to vinegar ratio. Tighten the lid and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds or until fully combined. Remember, a serving of salad dressing is no more than 2 tablespoons!

Drizzle this red wine vinegar dressing over a bed of mixed greens for an easy, simple salad! Garlic & red wine vinegar salad dressing. Serve immediately or keep in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. Traditional red wine vinaigrette recipes use a 1:3 ratio of oil: Give the dressing a good whisk immediately before serving.

Ingredients this sweet red wine vinegar dressing is made with canola oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, fresh garlic, salt, paprika, and white pepper. Culinary tips for making red wine vinaigrette. A classic french vinaigrette is typically 3 to 4 parts oil (usually extra virgin olive oil) and 1 part acid (frequently red wine vinegar). Drizzle this red wine vinegar dressing over a bed of mixed greens for an easy, simple salad! Shake until sugar is dissolved.

Place the oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a glass jar. I prefer white wine vinegar in this recipe, as opposed to regular white vinegar. The oil and vinegar will naturally separate as the salad dressing sits. Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender. Build on it and add different flavors are you discover them such as minced garlic, or freshly grated ginger root.

Cup extra virgin olive oil.

Source: cdnimg.webstaurantstore.com

You'll feel like your in italy!

Simply combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper and whisk until combined!

Source: www.bestgrocerydelivery.net

Unlike our other vinaigrette recipes, this recipe does not use the traditional 3:1 oil to vinegar ratio.


Steps to Make It

It is easy to make herb- and/or spice-infused olive oils at home. They make wonderful gifts for all occasions.

Wash and dry your choice of herb branches and lightly bruise them to release flavor.

Place them in a clean decorative glass container, cover with warmed oil, and seal tightly. Leave in a cool, dark place to infuse about 2 weeks.

Taste. If not strong enough, add more fresh herbs and let stand another week. You can either strain the oil or leave the herbs in. If you do not strain the herbs out, the flavor will become stronger as it stands, so keep that in mind. Less strongly flavored oils like sunflower oil and safflower oil work best to give a more prominent herb flavor. However, extra-virgin olive oil is also a good choice. If you begin with a monounsaturated oil such as olive oil or peanut oil, the infused oils should be refrigerated. These are highly perishable and can turn rancid quickly. You can also add garlic, but remove the garlic cloves after a couple of days so as to not overpower the flavor of the herbs. If you choose to leave the garlic cloves in the oil, be sure to refrigerate the oil to avoid the threat of botulism.

Use your favorite combinations. Use the oils within 2 months. Use infused oils in salad dressings and marinades to enjoy the full flavor.

Herb Suggestions: thyme, basil, tarragon, summer savory, oregano, cilantro, marjoram, chervil, chives, dill, mint, parsley, bay leaf.

Spice Suggestions: cardamom, star anise, juniper, coriander seeds, nutmeg, cinnamon, cumin, cloves.

Recipe Source: by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz (Dorling Kindersley, Inc.)
Reprinted with permission.


The Ultimate Guide to Olive Oil

The only thing more overwhelming than choosing a wine might be choosing the right olive oil. These days, most supermarkets have shelves stocked with the stuff. There are “grassy” olive oils and organics, cold-pressed and “pure” ones, not to mention all of the countries of origin to consider. It’s enough to make anyone panic and do what we do with wine varietals we’re unfamiliar with—reach for the one with the coolest-looking label of course.

But trust us when we say, it’s well worth the time to select a high-quality bottle. As Samin Nosrat writes, “… as the foundational element, the flavor of olive oil pervades every single molecule of a dish.” Plus, with all that evidence on how great the Mediterranean diet is, it’s probably time to splurge on an olive oil you love.

Perfect Pour Weighted Stainless Steel Pour Spouts, 4 for $15.25 on Amazon

Make pouring it neat, clean, and controlled with these spouts.

So how exactly does one approach the intimidating olive oil aisle?

First, let’s figure out the grades thing.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (and Cold-Pressed Olive Oil)

The highest grade of the three is extra virgin (which Rachael Ray affectionately calls “EVOO”). This is definitely the grade that you want to buy for serving straight up and for recipes where olive oil plays a central role—think salad dressing, dips for bread and vegetables, and olive oil cakes.

According to Ollie, an artificial intelligence chatbot powered by the Olive Oil Times Education Lab, extra virgin olive oil is made “simply by crushing olives and extracting the juice,” without any additional refining or chemicals. Even though only some brands advertise their oils as “cold-pressed,” they actually need to be cold-pressed to qualify as extra virgin. Basically, the term just means that the olives stay below 86 degrees throughout the pressing process, since higher temperatures can change the taste.

Virgin Olive Oil

The next highest grade is virgin olive oil. It’s also unrefined, but has a slightly higher level of acidity than extra virgin. You can still use this for similar dishes as above or with bread, and tends to be a bit more affordable than extra virgin varieties. So if olive oil isn’t the star ingredient, this is a great grade to go for.

Pure or Refined Olive Oil

The last grade is “pure” or “refined” olive oil, which is often also labeled as just plain “olive oil.” Basically, these oils have undergone processing or chemical treatment and are usually mixed with a bit of virgin olive oil at the end. Because they’re usually way lighter in flavor, they’re the best type to get for eggs or stir frys.

A common convention is that extra virgin olive oil isn’t as well-suited for cooking because it has a relatively lower smoke point compared to oils like avocado or grapeseed. However, many studies suggest that this isn’t the case, in part because extra virgin olive oil is not refined.

Pomace Olive Oil

Occasionally, you might come across something called “pomace” olive oil, which is made from leftover olive pulp. It always involves chemical solvent and heat, and is generally not considered olive oil for those reasons. In fact, pomace oil has been the center of controversy for dishonest labeling practices in several countries, including Spain and Britain, though it’s sometimes used for deep-frying.

Does it matter what country your olive oil comes from?

1. There are a bevy of different terms—“made in,” “product of,” “imported by,” “packed in”—that can indicate the origin of a bottle of olive oil. Single-source olive oils are pressed, packed, and exported from the same country. Olive oils that are a mix of olives from multiple countries or pressed and packed in different places will list all of the countries of origin. These don’t necessarily result in a lower-quality olive oil, but generally speaking the ones packed in a different country than the olives were harvested in tend to be less fresh than single-source oils.

2. There’s not a clear-cut answer to the question: Which country makes the best olive oil? Italy, Spain, and Greece are probably the three most well-known, though Croatia and Turkey have also produced some of the highest rated oils in recent years. In the United States, California churns out some great olive oils, though states like Texas, Arizona, and Georgia are also growing suppliers.

“It’s not so much the country of origin,” Ollie says, “but the cultivar, climate and countless other factors that determine the taste of an oil.”

Generally speaking, pure Spanish olive oil tends to be more “fruity,” while pure Italian oil leans towards “grassy.” Oils from Greece are more flavorful and peppery. However, even within these categories, there’s large variation based on the ripeness of the olives, the types used, and so on. Plus, as noted, lots of olive oils are combinations from different places. Use these basic profiles as a starting point, but don’t shy away from trying a selection.

So how can you narrow down your choices?

Along the same lines, even though extra virgin is the highest grade of olive oil, two different bottles might still taste completely different. It’s also not a foolproof method of selection—there are definitely subpar extra virgin olive oils out there.

1. If possible, sample before you buy. A high quality olive oil means it will have more complex layers without a greasy aftertaste. It also just comes down to preference. Since olive oils range from sweet to bitter to herby, sampling will ensure that you’re choosing a flavor to your liking.

2. If you can’t sample the oils, consider buying smaller quantities (which will mean you end up with fresher oil anyway). Date and freshness are crucial. As Nosrat points out in her guide, olive oil is basically just olive juice, so it shouldn’t be kept for a long period of time. Ollie suggests looking for a harvest date of no more than a year prior. Dark bottles also help keep out sunlight and preserve freshness.

3. Though there aren’t any mandatory olive oil certifications (which many people in the olive oil business say is a problem), there are a few voluntary ones that are always good to keep an eye out for. For varieties from Italy, look for labels that say “100% Qualita Italiana,” a brand created by the Italian consortium of olive oil producers called Unaprol. California oils can be certified as extra virgin by the California Olive Oil Council (COOC), and the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) tests supermarket oils against the standards set by the International Olive Council.

What are the best brands of olive oil?

Everyday Options

If you’re looking for an everyday extra virgin olive oil, California Olive Ranch is a favorite of professional chefs and home cooks alike, and often comes out on top in blind taste tests.

California Olive Ranch Everyday Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2 for $31.75 on Amazon

Costco’s Kirkland Signature Organic has passed blind extra virgin standards tests, and is probably one of the most affordable oils out there.

Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2 for $43.02 on Amazon

Other trusty brands include Filippo Berio, Bertolli, and Colavita.

Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $25.48 on Amazon

Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $7.94 at Walmart

Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $19.94 on Amazon

Mid-Tier Choices

At a slightly higher price point, KATZ Farm, a producer in California, is a favorite of several cookbook authors.

Katz Chef's Pick Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $27 at Katz Farm

Great imported oils include Olio Verde from Sicily, Cobram Estate from growing olive oil power Australia, and Gaea Fresh from Greece.

Olio Verde Exra Virgin Olive Oil, $21.29 on Amazon

Cobram Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $25.24 on Amazon

Gaea Fresh Greek Extra Virgin Single Origin Olive Oil, $19.99 on Amazon

Splurge-Worthy Picks

Finally, there are occasions when you really want to splurge—maybe for your beachside vacation where you’ll be eating tons of fresh seafood and bread, or when you’re looking for a special housewarming present that isn’t wine or dish towels. Oils from Almazaras de la Subbética, an Andalusian producer that’s one of the world’s best regarded olive oil names, are a top choice for this.

Almazaras de la Subbetica Organic Extrra Virgin Olive Oil, $29.90 on Amazon

For those who love spicier and more bitter oils, Il Tratturello from Molise, Italy, is a great option, and for housewarming gifts, the beautifully designed Wonder Valley oils from Joshua Tree will impress any host.

Il Tratturello Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $44.50 on Gustiamo

Wonder Valley Olive Oil, $34 at Wonder Valley

Generally, it’s a good idea to have at least two bottles of olive oil on hand, one for drizzling, dipping, and using in uncooked dishes, and one for sauteing, roasting, and cooking in general. Once you’ve made your choices, check out some of the best olive oil dispensers, and our olive oil recipes for more ideas on what to do with them.

Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Oils

Clarification, July 18, 2019: This article, originally published on May 10, 2019, initially stated that refined olive oils are better suited for cooking than non-refined varieties because of their smoking points. The relevant paragraphs have been updated to reflect research which suggests that extra virgin and virgin olive oil are relatively heat stable. The article was also revised to more clearly define the labeling conventions for country of origin.


Italy’s top ten PDO-protected olive oils

Luciana Squadrilli introduces us to the world of Italian olive oil and sheds some light on ten EU-protected varieties.

Luciana Squadrilli is a freelance journalist and author specialising in food and travel writing.

Luciana Squadrilli is a freelance journalist and author specialising in food and travel writing.

Italy is the word's second producer of extra virgin olive oil, just behind Spain. Despite the scandals and alleged frauds that sometimes grab headlines in the international press, Italy is home to many excellent, honest producers and the quality of Italian olive oil is universally recognized as outstanding in international competitions. But what makes Italian extra virgin olive oil so extraordinary? There are many reasons why it’s considered unique.

The cultivation of olive trees and the production of oil in Italy has ancient origins in Roman times Latin poets and writers praised the quality of their local olive oil. Unlike other countries such as Spain, Chile or Argentina, in Italy many olive groves are still small with low density and the land belongs to independent farmers instead of huge companies. Moreover, due to the natural geography of the country and traditional farming habits, olive groves are scattered throughout the country, often in arduous places such as ledges or canyon-like valleys. This means that harvesting is a difficult (and expensive) venture, and quantities are small. Thanks to the growers' and producers' efforts and crucial innovations in technology over the last years, however, quality is now at its best. Also, the modern trend of harvesting olives early, in spite of a lower yield, helps obtain delicious smelling oils which are rich in polyphenols (the antioxidant compounds responsible for the oil’s pungent taste), making them extremely healthy, too.

The main distinctive feature of Italian extra virgin olive oil lays in its biodiversity. Italy is home to over 350 different olive varieties (which increases to 600 if you include regional clones), each of them characterized by their specific flavours and characteristics. Italian oil millers decide whether it’s best to enhance each variety's features in single-cultivar oils, or to harmonize them in excellent blends. Tasting and smelling the oil – perhaps using a special tasting glass or on a slice of warm, unsalted bread – is the best way to learn how to identify and recognize a good quality extra virgin olive oil, and to honour the hard work of the producers.


Living in a golden state

Brightland extra virgin olive oils and vinegars are consciously made in California, and contain nothing more than fruit, love and sunshine. Welcome to the golden state.

Parasol

PARASOL is a raw champagne vinegar that is double fermented with California chardonnay grapes and juicy Navel and Valencia oranges. PARASOL is lovingly crafted on a nutrient-dense, family-run farm in California’s Central Coast.

Rapture

RAPTURE is a raw balsamic vinegar that is double fermented with California zinfandel grapes and ripe Triple Crown blackberries. RAPTURE is lovingly crafted on a nutrient-dense, family-run farm in California’s Central Coast.

Vinegars

Introducing fruit-forward, double-fermented and family-farm to table Vinegars, each with their own distinct flavor palette and tasting notes, lovingly made in California.

Meet DIGESTIF

Brightland’s new kitchen candle keeps you living in a golden state long after the table is cleared. Made with Brightland olive oil, California soy, and notes of neroli, vetiver and black pepper, and designed to burn during or after cooking. We like to think of it as a digestif for your kitchen.

Digestif

Brightland’s new kitchen candle keeps you living in a golden state long after the table is cleared. Made with Brightland olive oil, California soy, and notes of neroli, vetiver and black pepper, and designed to burn during or after cooking. We like to think of it as a digestif for your kitchen.


Best Overall: California Olive Ranch Everyday Extra Virgin Olive Oil

100 percent pure and made from cold-pressed olives

Smooth flavor with herbal notes

Approved by the Olive Oil Commission of California

California Olive Ranch describes its extra virgin olive oil as freshly pressed juice. Unlike light or refined oils, which are made with exposure to high heat or chemical solvents, this cold-pressed olive oil is made by crushing fresh olives mechanically. This not only leaves you with an olive oil that’s totally pure, but one that tastes perfectly smooth, too.

The “Everyday” blend combines several different types of olives to create a versatile oil that contains herbal, fruity, and grassy notes all in one. And, as the name implies, it’s ideal for everyday sauteing, baking, roasting, and even drizzling over salads, as many customers can attest. If you’re looking for something that tastes a little milder, but is still free of chemical solvents, the “Mild” blend has a less intense, buttery flavor.

All of California Olive Ranch’s oils are certified extra virgin by a third-party lab that tests the chemical and sensory properties of the oil. The extra virgin olive oil is also certified kosher, verified non-GMO, and carries a seal from the Olive Oil Commission of California (or OOCC), which has one of the most stringent quality standards in the world.

While some customers say a bottle of this oil is a bit more expensive than some brands they buy from the grocery store, many say it's worth the cost, particularly because of its quality and flavor.

Grade: Extra virgin | Processing: Cold-pressed | Origin: California, Argentina, Chile, and Portugal | Size: 16.9 fluid ounces