olive oil review: not all the same

Posted on by Jennie

Ever since hearing about this book on olive oil, I’ve been obsessed with where olive oil comes from, what makes it delicious, and how to find better olive oil to stow in my kitchen.

And so, recently, Rebecca and I purchased a olive oil flight, if you will, from Groupon, in an attempt to find some delicious olive oil to have in our wheelhouse. The olive oil was for four varieties and some balsamic vinegar, and was from Olea Bella.

Then, we went to Paso Robles with some friends, and I found myself purchasing some Olive Oil from Daou Wineries. This particular olive oil is made in Lebanon.

Then, a few weeks later, Barbra and Bryant gifted Jeff and I olive oil and balsamic vinegar from Williams Sonoma for our birthdays. So obviously, six olive oils in hand, Becca and I decided we needed to have one-boule’s worth of olive oil, to taste them all!

Here are our bowls of olive oil, with their bottle close at hand (for easy ID.) Not pictured: the entire boule of bread Becca and I ate in an attempt to find out what olive oil was best.

So here’s a breakdown, based on our joint tasting notes. (Just writing tasting notes sounded so snotty, but I assure you we really just wrote things like “awesome!” and “spicy” in Expo markers on my white board, don’t worry.)

We had the following six olive oils:

1. House olive oil from Williams Sonoma. This was a thick olive oil that had a spicy kick at the end. The thickness made it not ideal for dipping, but it definitely tasted delicious, and was something we agreed would be a great cooking olive oil.

2. Oleo Bella’s basil infused olive oil. This was VERY basil-y, but we both agreed was delicious for dipping. It was a lighter olive oil that soaked into the bread quite nicely, and wasn’t spicy.

3. Oleo Bella’s lemon infused olive oil. The lemon was QUITE overpowering in this olive oil, and I could see how it’d be AMAZING with pasta and clams…and cream, perhaps? It was also good for dipping, but might be better served in a recipe.

4. Oleo Bella’s Arbequina olive oil. This olive oil, which is made from Arbequina olives, was spicy, spicy! It definitely had a quick, and for that we were BOTH thankful. It was a delicious, amazing dipping olive oil that we had to restrain ourselves from finishing the entire sample bottle.

5. Daou Wineries’ Lebanese olive oil. We had tried this at an olive oil tasting at the winery when we were in Paso (I know, olive oil tastings should be everywhere!), so we knew we liked it. It is lemony and smooth, and has almost no bite to it. I definitely think it is versatile, and can be used for cooking or dipping – whatever you feel like in the moment!

6. Oleo Bella’s garlic infused olive oil. This was DELICIOUS, obviously. It was garlicky in a way you want all the time, every minute, and we even used it that very moment for our vegetables we were sautéing (for a dinner we never ate because we were full of bread!) Definitely something that I want to try making on my own to have in my cabinet all the time.

Overall, I think I liked the Arbequina for dipping and the house olive oil from Williams Sonoma for cooking. I can’t wait to use the lemon one in pasta, and look forward to dipping away in the Lebanese, too.

What is your favorite kind of olive oil? Do you just grab whatever is at the grocery store, or do you have several kinds for different things in your pantry?



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