How to choose the best Extra Virgin Olive Oil
You are in a specialized shop and you want to buy a good Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). After watching all sorts of bottles in various shapes and colours and reading the information in its labels, a storm of questions arises. Is the most expensive olive oil the best? Does the most beautiful bottle contain the best oil? What is the flavour of the different olive varieties? Is the colour of the oil very important?
- The label should always display “Extra Virgin Olive Oil”. Yes, “Extra Virgin Olive Oil”, no “Virgin Extra…”, “Olive Oil only”, or others kind of denominations.
- Look for an EVOO produced in the current harvest. Pay attention to the harvest date. The oil is different from the wine, as it ages, it loses properties, so look for a young oil, ideally, produced in the current harvest.
- The rule “The most expensive is the best” does not apply to EVOO. We can find great oils in the highest price range, but we can also find wonderful ones among those that are not.
- Bottles with better designs do not necessarily contain the best Extra Virgin Olive Oil. While it is true that a good oil living in a fancy packaging is superb, it is also true that there are cases where the oil producer might have spent all his money on the bottles rather than in the product, so that the content leaves much to be desired. Try to buy the oil in a container that protects it from light, such as a dark glass bottle. This will certainly increase its shelf life.
- Does the colour determine the quality of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil? The answer is No. The colour is not an indicator of the olive oil’s quality, the colour is just determined by the quantity of chlorophyll present in the oil. You can find deep green oils or pale yellow ones, being both of them excellent, or having poor quality instead. That is the reason why the official taster glass is cobalt blue, the oil’s colour is not relevant for the tasting process.
- If you find it very difficult to choose a single olive oil variety, get two! You might want to try two main varieties with well differentiated characteristics (let’s say: picual and arbequina), while getting to know your taste preferences. Although we warn you, this is addictive, so, even if you have some favorite varieties, you will want to try them all!
- If you’re giving away EVOO you will get it right! Our experience is clear in that sense, when giving EVOO, unlike wine, the ones receiving the present will be remembering you for many days. That’s because it’s consumed over a longer period of time. Worth saying as well that today many people do not drink alcohol, so a good Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a perfect gift.
- Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. It’s not easy to find places where you have the chance to taste different EVOOs before buying them (at least in Spain). So, let your instinct go free, and if you are wrong, at least you will learn which EVOO was not worth it and you will be one step closer to your ideal olive oil.
- If you do not have any reference brand then you can always get inspired by some excellent guides. These guides are based on the score of expert tasters and get updated every year. For example in Spain you can find Evooleum and iberoleum, and in Italy Marco Oreggia is in charge of Flos Olei.
These are just some of the most important tips, but to dive in this amazing world go step by step with us and learn a lot more by following this blog.