I love olive oil, and it is hard for me to narrow the five best olive oil brands.
I consume a lot of olive oil each year, therefore I like to make sure I use the best.
What is Olive Oil?
Olive oil could essentially be classified as fruit juice!
An olive is a fruit that grows on a tree, and the oil when squeezed is its ‘juice’.
There is nothing quite like a good olive oil, with all the complex flavors it possesses.
Like wine, it’s good to try different varieties until you find the one that you like best.
When buying olive oil, go for something high quality, that has a reputation or at least a review.
In this guide, I hope I can help you find the best olive oil brands, as well as some very good everyday olive oils.
Types of Olive Oil
There are three main categories of olive oil on the market that are good to be familiar with.
It’s helpful to know the difference when looking for the best olive oil brands.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil also known as EVOO, is the highest quality olive oil on the market.
Certain rules must be followed in order to get the extra virgin designation.
One of the most important of which is that no chemicals or heat can be used in the extraction process.
It must be a first pressing, and must be unfiltered.
Virgin Olive Oil, unlike its extra virgin sister, will be second press and with a lower acidity, a good flavor, but not necessarily the best.
Again virgin olive oil must be processed without the use of chemicals, or heat.
This oil is good for cooking (as well as dipping if no EVOO available) as it usually has a decent flavor and will cost less than extra virgin.
Refined Olive Oils are the last pressing and processing of the olives.
This process will include heat, chemicals, and filtration, lowering the overall quality..
Once refined to this stage the oil will have a pale color, and be much clearer.
It will be odorless, and have virtually no flavor, and is used mostly for cooking.
Olive Oil Around the World
International olive oil brands from around the world are usually the winners when it comes to taste.
The quality of the oil depends on the soil the trees are grown in, the altitude and late or early harvest.
Even the amount of rainfall will determine a fruity flavor robust extra virgin olive oil versus a mild flavor profile.
Some types of olive oils can be an acquired taste because of the bitter or spicy taste they impart.
With so many olive varieties in the world you can have a different olive oil every day if you want.
Greek olives are known to be very flavorful, and the olive oil produced has a deep green color.
Having produced olive oil for centuries, Greeks will tell you that their olive oil is the best in the world.
The third largest producer, with about 13% of the world’s olives.
In the Middle East and North Africa the olive oil tends to be a darker green color.
The flavor is usually rich, robust, and very good quality.
Olive trees in Palestine are hundreds of years old; olives have been picked in the traditional way for centuries.
Spain produces almost fifty percent of the olives used in the world, making it the number one producer.
Spain has over 300 million olive trees, and on average olive trees live between 300 and 600 years.
Ancient tribes from what is modern day Syria and Lebanon first introduced olives to Spain.
Nutty, fruity and a yellow color tells you the organic extra virgin olive oil is from Spain.
Italy comes second with about 20 percent of the world’s olives produced.
A dark green color, with herby, and grassy aromas, characterizes the olive oils made from Italian olives.
Look for the letters D.O.P. on the label, it stands for Denominazione di Origine Protetta designating it as authentic.
California olives are beginning to produce some good and flavorful oils.
Olives came to the United States in the 18th century with Spanish missionaries.
California is still a very small producer of olive oil at less than 5%.
Best Olive Oil Brands
There is a lot of fake olive oil in the world, being sold as quality brands.
Olive oil is blended, with other oils, most often vegetable oil, and sold as extra virgin olive oil.
Therefore, it is important to be aware of what oils you are buying and using.
My recommendations for the best olive oil brands are as follows:
Best Tasting Olive Oil
This award winning organic olive oil is made from hand picked olives, from century old olive trees.
It has a beautiful well balanced flavor that is typical of trees that are fed on rainwater alone.
The olives are always pressed on the day of picking, making the oil they produce life enhancing.
Best Olive Oil for Dipping Bread
This is a lovely light tasting olive oil with a good all around flavor with no bitterness at all, including a fruity finish.
Produced in Chile, where some of the best olive oils are made, it comes in a glass bottle..
This producer gets the olives to the press quickly after picking to maintain all as many nutrients as they can.
Best Olive Oil for Salad Dressing
This fused olive oil, meaning olives and lemons are pressed together, has incredible flavor.
It has a lovely rich flavor, and a whole lot of body, it is perfect for when you want a little more for your salads.
This olive oil from Abruzzo, Italy is one that is made from carefully selected olives making this a rare find.
Best Organic Olive Oil
From the South of the Peloponnese comes this highly rated and organic olive oil.
This is a full bodied, fresh, and very smooth olive oil, with green grass color, and a slight peppery finish.
It is cold pressed, full of health benefits and can be found in specialty grocery stores.
Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This wonderful olive oil has been in production since 1795 in the Andalusian region of Spain.
This sweet tasting oil presents tones of walnut, citrus, and mint providing a superior flavor.
A very well balanced product, that is top notch and an excellent all-rounder.