Well, that helps explain why I prefer Spanish olive oil to Italian.
I have always enjoyed the Spanish olive oil more than the Italian, and that's what I buy. I wonder how much the oil is diluted in Spain.
So the big question... Which major brands do you guys trust? I personally do not consume enough olive oil to really get too worked up about getting the finest organic, one olive lovingly pressed at a time artisanal olive oil. Just something that tastes good, and is actually what it says it is.
So far I like Ybarra
Ancient history. If you read Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi, which was written more than 100 years ago, you will find a chapter where he recounted a discussion between two travelers who were talking about EXACTLY this same fraud going on back before the 20th century. Nothing has changed except the technology. And if you don't read Life on the Mississippi, shame on you. It's a great, amusing, instructive book by America's greatest-ever author.
Spanish wine is better, too.
Here's a list of real olive oil brands compiled by Tom Mueller. His blog Truth in Olive Oil is the info source for the NYT slideshow.
I discovered this about a year ago and I spent a lot of time researching the issue.
I got interested in it after learning that Canola Oil is all deodorized. Then I discovered most olive oil is. And most vegetable oils.
I noticed that good quality olive oils have a wonderful odor, as does coconut oil (which can also be deodorized if you buy the wrong brand), and that is what I seek out now. I spend a fair amount of dough at a fancy olive oil store on good quality olive oil.
I wish a food scientist would answer whether my hunch that fouled oil is really bad for us is true; in the meantime, it sure does taste better than the kind with all the flavor taken out.
Personally I prefer Greek brands where I can find them
Ironically US Olive Oil is likely the most well regulated...as the links from @heckblazer suggest. Italian mozzarella is also highly suspect, as it is apparently often controlled by the mafia.
Kirkland Toscano eh?
I'll try that first since its easier to get. Thanks!
I find the cheapass store brand works fine for me. Good to know the expensive stuff is crap too.
Life on the Mississippi and Roughing It should be required reading for any American caught sighing in nostalgia over the Good Old Days.
As I recall, the gentlemen in question were laughing it up over the fortune they were making on pulling the switcheroo with cheap cottonseed oil.
Olive Oyl? ADULTERATED??
That's all I can stands, I can't stand's no more!
Sounds like Anthony "Tino" De Anglelis also read Mark Twain. Started off with soybean, moved into Cotton seed etc...
In Spain, olive oil is a very serious business, it's very strictly regulated. The Romans were importing this oil way back when already.
In Portugal extra virgin olive oil is treated in the same way as wine - strictly regulated and regionally defined. Finding a reliable brand of olive oil was one of the hardest tasks when resuming Mediterranean cooking style outside my country.
Anecdote: My dad is a wholesaler of Italian foods, and once a supplier sent him unasked for, undocumented samples that it turned out were illegal in the US. When he called saying the U.S. governemtnsent him forms to fill out, the guy said "You will never get anyone in Sicily to sign anything, ever."
The best way to buy olive oil (or wine, or cheese, and so on) is to taste it and see what you like. Country of origin is a poor metric even when you aren't being lied to about the contents.
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