Coming from an Italian background, I’ve always had a soft-spot for Olive Oil. For the longest time I would buy the cheap, store brand such as “Great Value Olive Oil”:
That was until I read an OUTSTANDING book by Tom Mueller called Extra Virgin: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil .
Among many facts learned was this (and it probably goes without saying but who knew?):
Not all olive oil is the same and the lack of a regulatory body (in the US OR Europe) for olive oil means that labels such as 100% Extra Virgin in the US don’t carry much meaning. Suggesting the olive oil you are buying may have been “cut” with anything but to make it cheaper.
On his website Truth in Olive Oil, Tom gives a couple suggestions of quality “real olive oil” brands and that real olive oil when drunk (yes, as in a shot-glass just like you might whiskey) should give you a slight burning sensation in the back of the throat.
Taking his advice, my wife and I have found a good brand that, while costs about 2x more (10 dollars a bottle), is pretty good stuff. You can find it at Wal-Mart, Harris-Teeter and other fine grocery purveyors.
We like Lucini Estate Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil
We typically go through a bottle of the stuff a week! As such I am often reminded of this short clip from the Simpsons:
However, good Olive Oil is worth it.