Selecting the right bottle of olive oil at your local store can be a challenge given the wide variety of brands and types of olive oil available on the market. To choose an olive oil that is right for you, and your olive oil needs, you essentially need to know:
- How to choose the right brand of olive oil.
- How to choose the right type of olive oil.
How to choose the right brand of olive oil
All biases aside, not all brands produce and market their olive oil in a way that is 100% transparent and genuine to consumers. Big olive oil producers have been caught mixing locally produced EVOO with lower quality olive oil imported from countries that have more lenient quality checks and that do not necessarily meet international standards for olive oil production.
This trick is intended to sell larger volumes at a lower cost. The altered aroma and flavor of the resulting olive oil may go unnoticed to the general public, but the underlying quality of the olive oil is compromised as a result. Some brands go as far as to market their olive oil as a “product of Italy” but in fact the olive oil is produced abroad and marketed as an Italian export. Make sure you check up on your brands online if you want to make sure you are really buying what the label says. At Italica we do not try to trick our customers. Our olive oils are 100% unaltered olive oil.
Price is not necessarily reflective of quality, although it generally is a good indication of it. The price of olive oil is set by the brand and/or producer and depends on a number of factors. Taste is highly subjective and, as is the case with red wine, a $3-bottle of olive oil may taste better to you than a $12-bottle of olive oil. Always use the price of a bottle as an indicator of quality, not as a solid guarantee of it. Only your taste buds can be the judge.
Use by date
As a general rule of thumb, it is preferable to select a bottle that specifies a “use by date” on its label. Unlike wine and cheese, olive oil does not get better with age. You need to consume it within 18-24 months depending on the type of olive oil and of the conditions in which you store it. Some brands include the pressing date on the bottle label.
How to choose the right type of olive oil
Now that you know what type of indicators to look for in a brand of olive oil, the most important question of all is what exactly do you want the olive oil for? There are many types of olive oil and, although most types of olive oil can be used for different purposes, you may want to consider the following recommendations.
If you are looking for the best olive oil to season a salad or to use unheated to complement a dish, Extra Virgin Olive Oil is your best bet. Italica’s Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a fine example of an olive oil with strong personality that will add a combination of rich and persistent aromas and flavors to your favorite dishes. It is great to use as seasoning for a salad, to lightly pour over meat or fish, to dip your bread in, and so on. EVOO is the perfect unheated condiment as it is the most flavorsome of all types of olive oil.
Extra Light is best suited for frying. Both types of olive oil have higher smoke points than EVOO or Virgin Olive Oil. Olive oil’s smoke point is the temperature at which the oil begins to produce smoke. The higher the smoke point, the more resistant the oil is to heat, and the less likely it will start to smoke.
Another point to consider is that cooking removes some of the flavor and aroma of the olive oil, so you may as well use a type of olive oil such as Pomace Olive Oil or Classic Olive Oil which naturally have milder flavor and aroma than EVOO. Note that from a nutritional standpoint, all three types of olive oil are very similar and offer the same main nutrients. For more information, read our article full of nutritional information on olive oil.
You could use a number of different types of olive oil for sautéing. We recommend using your favorite brand of Virgin Olive Oil, EVOO, or Classic Olive Oil.
Beauty and Health
EVOO is the recommended type of olive oil to treat blemishes, repair the skin, reduce the risk of heart disease, and hydrate your hair. Find out more benefits of olive oil for your health and skin.
Thank you for reading. Hopefully now you can navigate your way through all the brands and types of olive oil available at your local store and choose the right brand and type of olive oil for you. If you enjoyed this article, enter your name and email address in the form below to subscribe to our newsletter and receive more content related to olive oil and Italica’s own brand of olive oils.