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Karen/NoCA

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Olive Oil is not what it seems to be? Now What?

by Karen/NoCA » Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:47 pm

I have read all about this, heard this, so now what? I usually buy locally produced olive oils, but am wanting to branch out a little to French or real Italian. how do I know it is real? Will it say something on the bottle I should look for? What real olive oils do you use and love for cooking and using in vinaigrettes, pasta, etc.?

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/01/24/opinion/food-chains-extra-virgin-suicide.html?ref=dining
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Carl Eppig

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Re: Olive Oil is not what it seems to be? Now What?

by Carl Eppig » Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:47 pm

We have used for a long time Partanna Extra Virgin from Sicily. It looks like, smells like, and tastes like the real thing, and keeps going up in price! Plus we buy it from the most respected Italian Specialty Store in Northern New England.
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Christina Georgina

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Re: Olive Oil is not what it seems to be? Now What?

by Christina Georgina » Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:49 pm

Karen, as far as I'm concerned some of the very best olive oils out there now are from California. Unless you know the grower and processor in Italy, you are likely not getting your moneys worth. The Tuscan branch of my family grows their own olives and one of their in laws operates the mill where they take the olives to make oil, just enough for the family for a year. Absolutely nothing commercial will compare to that freshness and purity. That is my gold standard and California oil is the closest.
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Karen/NoCA

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Re: Olive Oil is not what it seems to be? Now What?

by Karen/NoCA » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:31 pm

Christina Georgina wrote:Karen, as far as I'm concerned some of the very best olive oils out there now are from California. Unless you know the grower and processor in Italy, you are likely not getting your moneys worth. The Tuscan branch of my family grows their own olives and one of their in laws operates the mill where they take the olives to make oil, just enough for the family for a year. Absolutely nothing commercial will compare to that freshness and purity. That is my gold standard and California oil is the closest.

What are your favorite California olive oils right now Christina? I am using Pacific Sun and one from a local man in Corning, Sam Cabral. I love the fruity with a peppery finish. I usually buy extra virgin, first cold pressed. For sautéing, and general cooking I buy a Spanish oil in a larger jar from Trader Joe's. I keep the extra virgin for my salads, and basically to finish a dish or for bread dipping.
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Mike Filigenzi

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Re: Olive Oil is not what it seems to be? Now What?

by Mike Filigenzi » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:45 pm

We've been using the Kirkland oil from Costco and have been quite happy with it. It's from California.
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Re: Olive Oil is not what it seems to be? Now What?

by Jenise » Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:01 pm

Wonder if the Tuscan oil Costco carries is verified unadulterated? Sure smells and tastes like EVOO.
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Paul Winalski

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Re: Olive Oil is not what it seems to be? Now What?

by Paul Winalski » Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:30 am

Olive oil from Italy that IS what it seems to be will say explicitly on the label that the olives were grown in Italy and pressed in Italy. If it doesn't say that, my advice is to assume the worst.

If you are concerned with fraud regarding non-olive oil being passed off as Italian olive oil, my advice is to buy domestic. Olive oil from US producers is subject to FDA overview, regarding whether it is what it says it is. I have in the past bought EVOO from Italy and EVOO from California. I personally haven't seen any superiority in the Italian product. And I personally trust the claims of authenticity from the California producers more than I do foreign producers.

Of course, the best thing of all is to have an olive tree or two on your property, to harvest the olives yourself, and to supervise the pressing. But few of us in the USA outside of California have that luxury.

-Paul W.
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Karen/NoCA

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Re: Olive Oil is not what it seems to be? Now What?

by Karen/NoCA » Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:32 am

Of course, the best thing of all is to have an olive tree or two on your property, to harvest the olives yourself, and to supervise the pressing. But few of us in the USA outside of California have that luxury.


There are olive trees all over the place in this area.....it is a huge industry, and why I buy locally made. I just never thought that the industry was being comprimised...not sure if that is being done here, however. From the sounds of what you all have told me, the restrictions are in place in CA for that sort of thing. I will be sure to look at the labels more closely. Many of our local olive oils have won awards, and for my palette they seem very nice.

By the way, we are becoming a large grape and wine industry as well, especially in the foothills surrounding us. It is fun to be able to buy the local wines. More and more are appearing at the Farmer's Market. North of town on I-5, a huge development is going in where all the wine folks will be able to showcase their product and have tastings. There will be classes, tasting and pairing with food demonstrations, and more. Apparently, it will be a destination facility for the industry and designed to pull travelers off the interstate. The drawings of the facility and grounds looks fabulous. The local wine makers and grape growers are fully supporting the idea. I like the idea that there will be a park like landscape and folks can pick up food and wine, have a picnic on the grounds and continue on their travels. We always enjoy that type of thing in the Napa area.
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Christina Georgina

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Re: Olive Oil is not what it seems to be? Now What?

by Christina Georgina » Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:19 pm

Agree with all of Paul's comments. Most recently, buying Corto. Packed in a bag in a box with a spigot making total sense for limiting light and oxygen.
I buy Portugese and Spanish and Italian only if label states that all olives grown on the property, pressed and bottled there and with a harvest date.
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Mike Filigenzi

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Re: Olive Oil is not what it seems to be? Now What?

by Mike Filigenzi » Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:26 pm

Christina Georgina wrote:Agree with all of Paul's comments. Most recently, buying Corto. Packed in a bag in a box with a spigot making total sense for limiting light and oxygen.
I buy Portugese and Spanish and Italian only if label states that all olives grown on the property, pressed and bottled there and with a harvest date.


Where are you getting your Corto, Christina? I toured their facility a couple of years ago and was very impressed. I've looked for it around here but availability has been spotty - I believe they primarily market to restaurants.
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Christina Georgina

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Re: Olive Oil is not what it seems to be? Now What?

by Christina Georgina » Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:47 pm

Buy the 3 litre boxes in Pittsburgh at Penn Mac on the Strip when I visit relatives. It is very good. I believe you can buy on line as well
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Frank Deis

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Re: Olive Oil is not what it seems to be? Now What?

by Frank Deis » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:52 pm

Jenise wrote:Wonder if the Tuscan oil Costco carries is verified unadulterated? Sure smells and tastes like EVOO.


I didn't see the article myself -- but the Kirkland Tuscan oil with the date on it HAS been 100% verified as made of olives from and in Tuscany. And I like it a lot. The new batch, "October/November 2013 Harvest" is in the stores now. Freshness is half the battle for olive oil to taste good. ALL bottles of olive oil should bear a harvest date, but I think we'd be shocked by what's in the stores if that were done...
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Mark Lipton

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Re: Olive Oil is not what it seems to be? Now What?

by Mark Lipton » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:58 pm

My major problem is that I don't think that Tuscan olives oils are of high quality for the most part. I much prefer EVOO from Sicily or Spain to what I've tried from Tuscany (for that matter, CA EVOO is also superior often times).

Mark Lipton
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Dale Williams

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Re: Olive Oil is not what it seems to be? Now What?

by Dale Williams » Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:34 pm

The article (and pretty much all of the articles re the UC Davis study that found 69% defective) do a bad job of saying what the Davis study actually found. Some adulterated olive oils are fraudulently sold, and 69% of the wines at test didn't meet the EVOO standards. But that DOESN'T mean that 69% of the wines were adulterated. The most common flaw in the test was rancidity- the oils weren't fresh.

I primarily buy dated oil from Fairway, which has dozens of different oils to try. We go through a lot of oil, I typically buy a 3L tin of the Fairway blend (Spain & Greece) and keep a smaller bottle or tin of a single source (currently a 1 liter bottle of Greek, but they have oils from all over Med. plus Australia and CA). I have bought the Kirkland dated oils at Costco as well, also good value.

Here's Steve Jenkins' take on it
http://blog.fairwaymarket.com/2013/02/t ... olive-oil/

I think buying from a good source and making sure oil is dated is paramount.
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Jeff Grossman/NYC

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Re: Olive Oil is not what it seems to be? Now What?

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:58 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:My major problem is that I don't think that Tuscan olives oils are of high quality for the most part. I much prefer EVOO from Sicily or Spain to what I've tried from Tuscany (for that matter, CA EVOO is also superior often times).

I also prefer French or Spanish oil to Italian. I have not made enough effort to try Greek, Moroccan, etc.
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Mike Filigenzi

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Re: Olive Oil is not what it seems to be? Now What?

by Mike Filigenzi » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:03 pm

Jeff Grossman/NYC wrote:
Mark Lipton wrote:My major problem is that I don't think that Tuscan olives oils are of high quality for the most part. I much prefer EVOO from Sicily or Spain to what I've tried from Tuscany (for that matter, CA EVOO is also superior often times).

I also prefer French or Spanish oil to Italian. I have not made enough effort to try Greek, Moroccan, etc.


In the past, I've bought Mani EVOO (made from kalamatas) and liked it a lot. A friend of ours used to order oil from Morocco in 5 gallon jugs that he'd split with us and several others. It was some of the best olive oil I've had. Unfortunately, it suddenly became a big hassle to get that stuff about 12-1/2 years ago.
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Frank Deis

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Re: Olive Oil is not what it seems to be? Now What?

by Frank Deis » Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:47 am

The Tuscan oil from Costco is very green and has a peppery kind of grassy flavor. I don't need more than that…
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Carrie L.

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Re: Olive Oil is not what it seems to be? Now What?

by Carrie L. » Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:18 pm

Mark Lipton wrote: I much prefer EVOO from Sicily or Spain to what I've tried from Tuscany (for that matter, CA EVOO is also superior often times).

Mark Lipton


Sicilian is far and away my favorite. Seems whenever I am in a good restaurant and just LOVE their olive oil, it's from Sicily. Currently, I'm using one from Trader Joe's "Trader Giotto's" Sicilian EVOO. It says, "Product of Italy" on the label and has a "best before date," with another code under that. Loos like a lot number with a time stamp. I'm thinking it's legit. It tastes wonderful. Here's what the copy on the label says:
This is no ordinary olive oil. Trader Giotto's Sicilian Selezione Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a blend of oils from three types of olives - Biancolilla, Ogghiaredda and Cerasuola - grown, harvested and pressed on the island of Sicily. We personally selected this blend of oils from the current harvest to create a one-of-a-kind oil that's a little green and wonderfully buttery, with a distinctive peppery finish. Use it to dress salads, brush it on grilled vegetables, or serve it as a dip for your favorite crusty bread.
Hello. My name is Carrie, and I...I....still like oaked Chardonnay. (I feel so much better now.)
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Carl Eppig

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Re: Olive Oil is not what it seems to be? Now What?

by Carl Eppig » Sun Feb 02, 2014 7:38 pm

Carrie L. wrote:Sicilian is far and away my favorite. Seems whenever I am in a good restaurant and just LOVE their olive oil, it's from Sicily. Currently, I'm using one from Trader Joe's "Trader Giotto's" Sicilian EVOO. It says, "Product of Italy" on the label and has a "best before date," with another code under that. Loos like a lot number with a time stamp. I'm thinking it's legit. It tastes wonderful. Here's what the copy on the label says:
This is no ordinary olive oil. Trader Giotto's Sicilian Selezione Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a blend of oils from three types of olives - Biancolilla, Ogghiaredda and Cerasuola - grown, harvested and pressed on the island of Sicily. We personally selected this blend of oils from the current harvest to create a one-of-a-kind oil that's a little green and wonderfully buttery, with a distinctive peppery finish. Use it to dress salads, brush it on grilled vegetables, or serve it as a dip for your favorite crusty bread.


You my kinka gal Carrie!!!
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Brian K Miller

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Re: Olive Oil is not what it seems to be? Now What?

by Brian K Miller » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:22 pm

There is a Sonoma County winery I like, Da Rosa, that started out as a acountry property for the owners. They brought over cuttings from Lucca, and the olive oil is amazingly peppery and deliciously pungeant!
My town, Fairfield, actually has a decent olive oil producer as well.
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