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Intense...robust and fruity...smooth and buttery...subtle and nuanced. How do you like your olive oil? We tasted more than 90—and yes, found a few we liked.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

STEPHANIE ZONIS has tasted more brands of olive oil for this article, than most people will knowingly taste in a lifetime.

 

November 2005

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Oils, Vinegars & Salad Dressings

The Great Extra Virgin Olive Oil Project

Part II: Stephanie Zonis Hunkers Down With More Than 90 Bottles of Olive Oil

Click here for Part I: Pressing Matters, An Overview

 

There are almost two dozen countries that produce olive oil.  For this project, we reviewed oils from the largest producers, including:

The overwhelming majority of the world’s olive oil comes from Spain, then Italy and France.

We love olive oil. The California Olive Oil Council reports that currently, about 65 million gallons of olive oil are consumed in the U.S.—eight times the volume of 20 years ago.

This review focuses on extra virgin oils—a category, with dozens of species of olives in broad production. The different cultivars and their terroirs yield oils so diverse in flavor that a serious connoisseur could own a dozen different bottles, each with a very distinct flavor profile: peppery, fruity, buttery, nutty, grassy, herbal, floral, woody. Depending on how fine a palate you have, you could select your oil as you select your wine, to complement your specific meal.

One of the many producers to whom I spoke, Joeli Yaguda of Willow Creek (they produce Pasolivo), declared of her oil that, “With the right foods, it’s amazing.” But she added, very wisely, that she didn’t think it should be the sole olive oil in your pantry. As Joeli notes, you wouldn’t drink one wine with everything you eat. The same should hold true for olive oil.  

As you read the descriptions, hopefully you’ll be tempted to have a few—if not the complete dozen that we have at THE NIBBLE™—on your own pantry shelf.

Choosing The Oils

Given the legions of brands out there, how did I decide which oils to taste? I identified and contacted a large number of organizations about the project, and many sent their oils. In a handful of instances, I bought olive oils myself when I thought a producing region was greatly underrepresented by the number of oils I’d received from its manufacturers.

I  wish to state here that I have no sensory training in olive oil. Despite this, and rather to my surprise, I was able to easily detect differences between the oils I tasted, as should you. There is a guide to the aromas and flavors flavors in Tasting Olive Oil that provides direction on what to look for, as well as a guide on how to taste.

Olive oil is unusual in flavor profile because bitterness, a taste that can be undesirable in other foods, is in fact a positive attribute in olive oil. So is pungency, that peppery catch in the back of your throat; and of course, fruitiness, which is the olive flavor itself. These qualities three should be in good balance, and that balance is determined by your taste buds. As with any other food, the ultimate question here is: do you like it?  

I chose not discuss olive oils in wine terminology—e.g. an herbaceous nose, a fruit-forward entry with notes of avocado and a finish of green tomato and pepper—because that’s not how we choose to buy oil. Instead, I assigned each oil to one of four categories that are more reflective of most people’s general tastes:

  • Intense. Knock-yer-socks-off oils that really make you sit up and take notice. Strongly-flavored, with a peppery punch. Use for your strongest-flavored foods or where you want a definite peppery aftertaste.
  • Robust & Fruity. Generally more olive-y, more verdant flavors, very often accompanied by a somewhat peppery aftertaste. Use with most pasta dishes or as a finishing drizzle in Nonna’s best minestrone (or other equally robust soups).
  • Smooth & Buttery. These are the luscious, fruitier oils that still retain a sense of delicacy. Often used for salads, vegetables, and poultry.
  • Subtle & Nuanced. The most ethereal olive oils, but still with a noteworthy taste. They may be delicate, but still be complex. Use for your lightest dishes, such as grilled white-fleshed fish or fresh mozzarella.

The placements of the oils into the categories are mine, and individual preferences do come into play. Your categorization of an olive oil might not match mine; I’m known for being quite sensitive to strong flavors, so an oil I describe as “Intense” might not be so powerful in your judgment. Similarly, some might prefer a Smooth and Buttery oil over that fresh mozzarella, or an Intense oil in their gazpacho. As with anything else in the food world, it comes down to experimenting, finding the products you like best.

Do I expect anyone to try the ninety-plus oils I did here? Unless you’re writing a book about olive oil, no. See our article about holding a tasting.  It can be a nice way to get together friends on a weekend afternoon, or an innovative cocktail hour prior to dinner.  At THE NIBBLE™, we recently held one for members of the media, to demonstrate the regional differences in olive oil flavors among  Australia, California, France, Italy (Puglia, Tuscany, and Umbria), Sicily, and Spain.

And now, introducing the oils:

 


California

This year, California farmers will plant about 2,000 acres of olive trees for oil, increasing land for oil production by about 30 percent. This land expansion is predicted to continue to increase by the same amount through 2009. While lower overseas production costs led to the ascendancy of European oils, new mechanized equipment enables California farmers to remain fairly competitive at the high end of the spectrum. With a mechanical picker, the process to retrieve the olives and extract the oil now only takes 90 minutes, and two people can gather in an hour what normally takes 40 people to pick by hand.

Intense

  • Calolea, Gold Blend. Moderate olive-y nose. Immediate mouth-filling bitterness—very full-flavored. Definite throat-catching pepperiness. Intense.
  • Del Padre. Nose-filling aroma that smells a touch spicy. Immediate rush of serious and bitter flavor; long-lasting, peppery finish. Not for the faint of heart! Intense.
  • Dutch Henry Winery. Spicy, sneeze-inducing aroma. A very strongly flavored oil with walnut overtones and a good “hit” of pepper in the aftertaste. Intense.
Olive OilHarvested olives, ready for the crush. Photo
courtesy of O Olive Oil.
  • Elixir Olive Oil, Forza Variety. Olive-y, spicy aroma that made me sneeze. Swift development of bitter and peppery flavors on the tongue (more peppery than bitter notes). Aftertaste profound and long-lasting. Intense. 
  • Olivina, Mission Variety. Strong aroma with correspondingly bitter flavor. A “power” oil. Finish doesn’t last except for pepperiness. Intense.
  • Pasolivo. Deep olive aroma. Profound olive bitterness, combined with some herbal/grassy flavors and a good jolt of pepper. Intense.

Robust & Fruity

  • Apollo Organic, Sierra Variety. Nose-tickling, almost peppery fragrance. Mouth filling presence noticeable right away; strong olive taste. Lengthy aftertaste with touch of pepper. Robust & Fruity.
  • Calolea, Silver Blend. Modest herbal aroma. More bitter than it’s Gold Blend cousin, but with less of a pepper “bite.” Robust & Fruity to Intense.
  • Figueroa Farms, Camino al Cielo Variety. Moderately aromatic. Gradual flavor development in the mouth with a pepperiness that progresses slowly but never reaches an excessive level. Robust & Fruity.
  • Global Gardens Pesticide-Free. Gentle herbal aroma. Initial gentle buttery flavor builds to a moderate bitterness. Surprise whack of pepper at the end with a lingering aftertaste. Robust & Fruity.
  • Le Colline di Santa Cruz. Gentle aroma almost reminiscent of faint pines. Flavor begins as delicate but becomes increasingly full and olive-bitter. Aftertaste includes a moderate “hit” of pepper. Robust & Fruity.
  • Olivas de Oro Organic, Sevillano Variety. Deep olive aroma. Slowly-intensifying flavor starts at a low level then builds to a slightly peppery-fruity complexity. Surprisingly delicate aftertaste. Robust & Fruity.
  • Olivas de Oro Organic, Mission Blend Variety. Herbal-olive aroma. Gentle overall olive bitterness with a smack of pepper in the lingering aftertaste. Robust & Fruity.
  • Olivina, Estate Mission Variety. Pronounced fragrance and flavor. Oil is a touch bitter with a somewhat peppery finish. Robust & Fruity.
  • Olivina, Picholine Variety. Definite olive presence, both in aroma and taste. Lingering aftertaste with a slight pepperiness. Robust & Fruity.
  • Sylverleaf. “Of the land” aroma. Definitive bitter-olive presence in the mouth with gradual development of a peppery “bite”. Significantly lingering aftertaste. Robust & Fruity to Intense.

Smooth & Buttery

  • Castle Peak Ranch. Noticeably earthy aroma. Round, golden, not-too-strong flavor with little bitterness and a touch of pepper at the finish. Telephone 1.707.479.9196. Smooth & Buttery.
  • Tiber Canyon Ranch. A goldeny smooth flavor, with rounded tones. Pleasantly aromatic. Smooth & Buttery.

Subtle & Nuanced

  • Apollo Organic, Mistral Variety. Medium olive aroma. Delicate first taste moves to complex but subtle walnut-olive flavor. Touch of pepper at the end. Subtle & Nuanced.
  • Lodestar. Pleasant aroma of apples. Initial slight apple taste fades quickly to overall gentle mellowness. Not bitter. Tiny touch of pepper just at the end. Subtle & Nuanced.

 

olive trees
Olive trees in the California groves of O Olive Oils.
  • Olivina, Lucca Variety. Delicate aroma. A flavor that finishes as gently as it begins; almost sweet in character. Subtle & Nuanced.

 

France

Robust & Fruity

  • CastelaS AOC. Quiet, earthy aroma. Assertively bitter, with some pepper in the finish. Available at www.zingermans.com, www.splendidpalate.com, www.surlatable.com and other retailers. Robust & Fruity.
  • Chateau Montfrin. Grassy aroma. Tastes like freshly-cut grass smells (in a not-unpleasant way), with walnut tones. A bit of pepper at the back of the throat. www.oliviersandco.com. Robust & Fruity.
  • Chateau Virant, www.oliviersandco.com. Moderate aroma, moderate olive flavor. No other distinguishing aromas or tastes. Robust & Fruity.
  • Cuve Fortune, www.oliviersandco.com. Almost a spicy aroma. Greeny, bittery, full olive flavor. Touch of pepper at the end. Robust & Fruity.
  • Moulin de Prunette, www.oliviersandco.com. Delicate aroma with noticeable “greenness” in the taste, but one of the gentler oils in this category. Robust & Fruity.

Smooth & Buttery

  • Cuve Mogador. Greeny. Delicate bitterness in the flavor increases slightly with time. www.oliviersandco.com. Smooth & Buttery to Robust & Fruity.
  • Moulin Jean Marie Cornille, Moulin Traditionnel AOC. Cloudier appearance than many. Moderate aroma. Slight herbal flavor increases to a somewhat stronger herbal taste with a slight pepper after-flavor. www.chefshop.com. Smooth & Buttery to Robust & Fruity.
  • Moulin La Cravenco. Moderate olive-y aroma. Creamy and mellow, complex but gentle flavor. www.oliviersandco.com. Smooth & Buttery.

Subtle & Nuanced

  • Cuve Les Tuilieres. Very little aroma. Very gentle almond flavor, almost entirely lacking in bitterness. www.oliviersandco.com. Subtle & Nuanced.
  • Cuvee Lucques. Quiet aroma; ethereal and delicate flavor. A lullaby among oils, with almost no bitterness. www.chefshop.com. Subtle & Nuanced.

 

Argentina

  • Armando Mansur Organic. Earthy, full aroma. Gradually developing olive bitterness, with some pepper in the aftertaste. www.organicoliveoilcompany.com. Robust & Fruity.
  • Oliovita, Rich & Robust Variety. Richly aromatic, almost a mushroomy aroma. Verdant flavor with a surprise spark toward the end and a slight pepperiness. At Acme Supermarket, Bi-Lo Stores, Bruno’s, Giant Supermarket (Carlisle, PA). Robust & Fruity.
  • Oliovita, Traditional & Balanced Variety. Gentle olive-y aroma. Slightly earthy flavor (in a good way) that was a trifle flat, but noticeably olive aftertaste. At Acme Supermarkets, Bi-Lo Stores, Bruno’s, Giant Supermarket (Carlisle, PA). Smooth & Buttery.
  • Oliovita, Delicate & Mild Variety. Nicely olive-y aroma. Flavor flat: one-dimensional and delicate almost to the point of non-existence, but with a slight olive aftertaste. At Acme Supermarkets, Bi-Lo Stores, Bruno’s, Giant Supermarket (Carlisle, PA). Subtle & Nuanced.

 

Greece

  • Mantinea & Avia. Moderate aroma. Verdant, grassy, leafy, with a tiny tinge of pepper in the aftertaste. www.oliviersandco.com. Robust & Fruity.
  • Rafteli. Robust, almost minty aroma. Quickly fills the mouth with a moderate olive bitterness. www.oliviersandco.com. Robust & Fruity.
  • Terra Medi Organic. Herbal and olive-y aroma. More bitterness than conventionally-produced variety with a note of pepper on the tongue and at the back of the throat. Whole Foods Markets. Robust & Fruity.
  • Taste of Crete. Noticeably olive-y aroma. Moderate greeny bitterness but very smooth; just a touch of peppery aftertaste. Smooth & Buttery.
  • Krokees Organic. Barely any aroma. Tasted flat and one dimensional. Slight peppery aftertaste. Not categorized due to lack of notable flavor characteristics.
  • Lapas Organic. Very faint aroma. Very faint taste progressing to just a touch of olive flavor. Noticeably peppery aftertaste. Whole Foods Markets. Not categorized due to lack of notable flavor characteristics.
  • Terra Medi. Pungent aroma. Initial very modest bitterness turns to almost no taste in the mouth. Some bitter aftertaste. Whole Foods Markets. Not categorized due to lack of notable flavor characteristics.

 

Spain

Robust & Fruity

  • Columela. “Green” aroma that’s on the strong side. Strong but flat olive taste. At numerous retailers or see www.oliveoilfromspain.com and contact distributor. Robust & Fruity. 
  • La Masia Organic. Moderate olive-y aroma. Rapidly developing olive-bitter flavor that is bold but not excessive. Some pepper in the aftertaste. www.casaoliver.com. Robust & Fruity.
  • Nunez de Prado “Flower of the Oil.” Definite olive aroma with slight hint of mint, of all things. Quickly acquaints you with olives’ bitterness and strength of flavor, though not unpleasantly. Lingering aftertaste with a bit of pepper. At numerous retailers or see www.oliveoilfromspain.com and contact distributor. Robust & Fruity.  
Hojiblanco olives
Spain’s Hojiblanca olives make a popular oil.
  • Reserva de Guadalupe. Moderate “earthy” aroma (in a good way). Verdant, with noticeable bitterness. www.oliviersandco.com. Robust & Fruity.

Smooth & Buttery

  • Molino de Leoncio Gomez DO. Aroma almost minty and slightly herbal. Mild bitterness, overall butteriness, and a tiny touch of pepper at the end. At www.spanishtable.com, www.casaoliver.com, Whole Foods Markets. Smooth & Buttery. 
  • Olivar de la Luna Organic. Sharp herbal-pine aroma. Aroma continues through to taste only partially, although the sharpness vanishes and is replaced by round tones. Touch of pepper in the aftertaste. www.casaoliver.com. Smooth & Buttery.
  • Pons, Arbequina Variety. Gentle olive-y aroma. Balanced bitter-buttery taste. Almost no peppery aftertaste. At numerous retailers or see www.oliveoilfromspain.com and contact distributor. Smooth & Buttery.

Subtle & Nuanced

  • Neus. Deep olive aroma. Very gentle, fleeting flavor. An oil for your lightest dishes. Barest hint of pepper at the finish. www.casaoliver.com, www.spanishtable.com. Subtle & Nuanced.
  • Priorat Natur. Significant olive-y aroma. Delicate and fleeting olive bitterness, with a tiny hint of pepper in the aftertaste. www.casaoliver.com. Subtle & Nuanced.

 


Portugal

  • A Capela dos Olivais. Green aroma with a very strong olive/green flavor. Verdant and grassy tasting. Touch of pepper at the end. www.oliviersandco.com. Robust & Fruity to Intense.
  • CARM DOP Organic. Definite earthy aroma. Bitter and peppery. An oil for stronger-tasting foods. www.idealcheese.com, www.zingermans.com and others. Robust & Fruity.
  • Vale de Lobos. Moderate olive-y aroma. Tastes like an olive looks, with a certain but gentler presence. Tiny touch of pepper at the back of the flavor (and your throat). www.oliviersandco.com. Robust & Fruity.

 



Italy

Intense

  • Cuve Monte. Delicate aroma. Very strongly flavored with immediate, lasting intensity and a moderate “hit” of pepper at the end. www.oliviersandco.com. Intense.
  • Galantino. Aroma ethereal and fleeting. Very strong, sharp, and bitter flavor that is not for everyone. www.oliviersandco.com. Intense.
  • Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi Laudemio. Full olive-y aroma. Very bitter and quite peppery. Aftertaste lasts for a long while. www.farawayfoods.com, www.cybercucina.com, www.convitoitaliano.com. Intense.
  • Villa Stabbia Organic. Moderately spicy aroma. Immediate bitter and pepper flavors fill your mouth and last for a long time. A very big oil. www.organicoliveoilcompany.com. Intense.

Robust & Fruity

  • Casino di Caprafico. Slight green/leafy aroma. Green-bitter flavor, with more bitterness and a little pepper for the aftertaste. One of the gentler oils in this category. www.agferrari.com. Robust & Fruity.
  • Ceppo Antico. Medium olive-y nose; smells a bit “green.” A gentler verdant/leafy flavor, with modest bitterness and some pepper in the finish. www.salumeriaitaliana.com, www.convitoitaliano.com. Robust & Fruity.
  • Colavita. Slight aroma. Grassy and leafy with a lingering aftertaste, including a slight pepperiness. Robust & Fruity. 
  • Cuve Frantoio. Nicely olive-y aroma. Complex flavor. First mild flavor builds to a stronger, bittery taste but one that doesn’t knock you down. Touch of pepper at the end. www.oliviersandco.com. Robust & Fruity.
  • Gianfranco Becchina Olio Verde. Serious olive-y aroma that is somehow calming. Grassy and leafy notes with gradual development of a moderately peppery finish that disappears swiftly. www.markethallfoods.com, www.farawayfoods.com, www.cybercucina.com. Robust & Fruity.
  • Le Corti DOP Organic. Herbal, leafy aroma. Pronounced bitter flavor but with buttery overtones. Touch of pepper in the long-lasting finish. www.principecorsini.com, www.agferrari.com. Robust & Fruity.
  • L’Olio dei Sassi. Very gentle nose. Surprisingly bold flavor development in the mouth, with some olive bitterness and a good whack of pepper in the aftertaste. www.agferrari.com. Robust & Fruity.
  • Paesana. Gentle green aroma. Flavor gradually fills to a moderate olive bitterness. www.oliviersandco.com. Smooth & Buttery to Robust & Fruity.
  • Ravida. Greeny, verdant fragrance. Moderately olive-y with some bitterness. Flavor on the greeny side but not overwhelmingly so. www.oliviersandco.com. Robust & Fruity.

Smooth & Buttery

  • Olis. Deeply olive-y aroma. A but greeny, smooth and buttery overall but with a somewhat peppery finish. www.oliviersandco.com. Smooth & Buttery to Robust & Fruity.
  • ROI, Taggiasca Variety. Barely detectable aroma. Initial gentle flavor develops to slight olive bitterness and modest pepper in the aftertaste. www.olioroi.com, www.agferrari.com. Smooth & Buttery.
  • Titone DOP Organic. Surrounds you with aroma of the olive. Delicate taste slowly gives way to modest olive bitterness and a decent shot of pepper in the back of the throat. www.markethallfoods.com. Smooth & Buttery to Robust & Fruity.

Subtle & Nuanced

  • Fontana San Giovanni. Gentle aroma. Delicate initial flavor leading to herbal finish. Very slight peppery aftertaste. www.oliviersandco.com. Subtle & Nuanced.

 

 

Israel

 

  • Israeli Gold, Barnea Variety. Nicely rounded olive-y aroma. Seriously bitter olive flavor that rapidly fills your mouth, with a substantial note of pepper in the lingering aftertaste. www.HarringtonTrace.com, www.KosherGourmetMart.com, www.Amazon.com. Robust & Fruity to Intense.
  • Israeli Gold, Soury Variety. Subtle earthy aroma. Slightly bitter flavor with moderate touch of pepper at the finish. www.HarringtonTrace.com, www.KosherGourmetMart.com, www.Amazon.com. Robust & Fruity.
  • Israeli Gold, Manzanilla Variety. Delicate olive-y aroma. Gentle, quiet flavor with a touch of bitterness and the barest note of pepper in the aftertaste. www.HarringtonTrace.com, www.KosherGourmetMart.com, www.Amazon.com. Subtle & Nuanced.

 



Australia

Robust & Fruity

  • Bird in Hand Late Harvest. Gorgeously aromatic. Starts very buttery/creamy, then finishes with a good dollop of pepper. Antipodean Gourmet (New York City, 1.917.493.5529); Garden of Eden (www.edengourmet.com, East 14th Street in Manhattan). Smooth & Buttery to Robust & Fruity.
  • Bird in Hand First Reserve. Slight green apple aroma. Starts out delicately, progressing to a moderate olive bitterness with a definite pepper aftertaste. Antipodean Gourmet (New York City, 1.917.493.5529); Garden of Eden (www.edengourmet.com, East 14th Street in Manhattan and Montague Street in Brooklyn); Dean & Deluca (560 Broadway and 1150 Madison Avenue in Manhattan). Robust & Fruity.
  • Coriole Vineyards Diva. Deep, almost spicy aroma. Immediate, serious, mouth-filling bitterness, but not much pepper in the long-lasting finish. Antipodean Gourmet (New York City, 1.917.493.5529); Garden of Eden (www.edengourmet.com, East 14th Street in Manhattan and Montague Street in Brooklyn); Dean & Deluca (560 Broadway and 1150 Madison Avenue in Manhattan). Robust & Fruity to Intense.
  • Coriole Vineyards First Oil. Moderate olive-y aroma. Definite olive presence in flavor with a peppery aftertaste that doesn’t last. Antipodean Gourmet (New York City, 1.917.493.5529); Garden of Eden (www.edengourmet.com, Montague Street in Brooklyn). Robust & Fruity.
  • Isaac’s Grove. Verdant, leafy flavor with moderate bitterness and a little pepper at the end. Antipodean Gourmet (New York City, 1.917.493.5529); Garden of Eden (www.edengourmet.com, Montague Street in Brooklyn). Deep olive aroma with some greenness. Robust & Fruity.
  • Kurianda Wild. Almondy, green aroma of considerable strength. Strongish olive bitterness in the flavor, which isn’t especially verdant. Peppery finish sneaks up on you. From feral (wild) olives. Antipodean Gourmet (New York City, 1.917.493.5529). Robust & Fruity.
  • Lakelands Olives Organic. Rich, round aroma. Well-rounded olive flavor with a flash of pepper in the lingering aftertaste. www.organicoliveoilcompany.com. Robust & Fruity.
  • 34 Degrees, Australian Variety. Very subtle aroma. Modest olive bitterness but a good hit of pepper in the aftertaste. Whole Foods Markets, Wild Oats Markets, Central Market (TX), Balducci’s (NY). Robust & Fruity.
  • Tinara Estate. Strong, earthy nose. Taste builds quickly to a mouth-filling, olive bitterness. A little touch of pepper as part of the aftertaste. Emmanuel’s Marketplace (Stone Ridge, NY, 1.845.687.2214); Hansen Caviar Company (Kingston, NY, 1.845.331.5622); J & J Gourmet (Red Hook, NY, 1.8451.758.9030). Robust & Fruity.
  • Yellingbo Gold Single Estate Limited Release. Verdant, almost spicy, aroma. Moderate bitterness and pepper impact; one of the gentler oils in this category. www.zingermans.com, Gourmet Garage (New York City), www.markethallfoods.com, Whole Foods Markets (New York City/Long Island/Miami). Robust & Fruity.

Smooth & Buttery

  • Boundary Bend. Gentle fragrance with lots of very buttery, creamy flavor. Very slight peppery aftertaste. www.oliviersandco.com. Smooth & Buttery.

Subtle & Nuanced

  • Tigani. Gentle aroma with some greenness. Delicate but definite flavor. Small touch of pepper at the finish that lasts for a while. Antipodean Gourmet (New York City, 1.917.493.5529). Subtle & Nuanced. 
  • Yellingbo Gold. Gentle but definite olive-y aroma. Modest olive bitterness, otherwise a delicate flavor. A little pepper in the finish. www.zingermans.com, Gourmet Garage (New York City), www.markethallfoods.com, Whole Foods Markets (New York City/Long Island/Miami). Subtle & Nuanced.

 

New Zealand

Intense

  • 34 Degrees, New Zealand Variety. Nicely olive-y and herbal aroma. Fills your mouth immediately with a balance of bitter and peppery flavors (more bitter than peppery). Quite strong! Whole Foods Markets, Wild Oats Markets, Central Market (Texas), Balducci’s (New York). Intense.
  • The Village Press, Manzanillo Olives. Deep olive aroma. Immediate, mouth-filling bitter and peppery tastes, which decline very slowly in the aftertaste. Intense.
  • The Village Press, Picual Olives. Strongly aromatic. Hits you immediately with very strong flavors of the olive and pepper that you get in all areas of your mouth. Were it possible for olive oil to be brave, this oil would be a firefighter. . Intense.

Robust & Fruity

  • Hope’s Grove. Bright, fresh aroma. Deep olive bitterness that quickly fills the mouth before rounding out. Small touch of pepper at the finish. Robust & Fruity.
  • Moutere Grove Organic. Slight earthy aroma. Green, verdant flavor (not overpowering) fading to modest pepperiness in the aftertaste. www.organicoliveoilcompany.com, other sources. Robust & Fruity.
  • Serendipity Single Estate. Leafy, grassy aroma that carries through to a verdant flavor with mild bitterness. A good “whack” of pepper is in the aftertaste. www.katzandco.com; Katzinger’s Delicatessen (Columbus, Ohio, 1.614.228.3354); Pastaworks (Portland, OR, 1.503.232.1010); The Truffle (Denver, CO, 1.303.322.7363). Robust & Fruity.
  • The Village Press, Barnea Olives. Robust olive aroma. Very olive-bitter in flavor, with a dash of pepper in the short-lived aftertaste. Robust & Fruity to Intense.
  • The Village Press, Frantoio Olives. Nose-filling, earthy aroma. Olive bitterness with lots of green and herbal tones and just a little pepper in the aftertaste. Robust & Fruity.

 

Morocco

  • Mustapha’s Moroccan. No detectable aroma or taste. At some Williams-Sonoma stores, www.farawayfoods.com, www.surlatable.com, other retailers. Not categorized due to lack of notable flavor characteristics.

 

Blends

These brands combine olive oils from more than one country or producing region.

  • Farouk Friedman. Pleasantly aromatic but didn’t really taste like anything. Not categorized due to lack of notable flavor characteristics. All after-tax profits donated to children’s charities. I must meet Kinky Friedman some day, as he’s got to be a fascinating individual.
  • Whole Foods 365. Modestly olive-y aroma. A “workhorse” oil, acceptable but not a stand-out in any area of flavor. Very mild touch of pepper in aftertaste. At Whole Foods Markets. Not categorized due to lack of notable flavor characteristics.


Click here to read Part I of this article: Pressing Matters, an overview.

 

© Copyright 2005-2014 Lifestyle Direct, Inc.  All rights reserved.  Images are the copyright of their individual owners.

 



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