Did you know that upwards of 70% of the world’s olive oil is fake?
That is not to say that it is not natural, or is made from chemicals, but 70% of the “olive oil” on the market — that is marketed as pure olive oil — is not actually pure olive oil. How can this be? This is because olive oil counterfeiters have gotten so good at faking olive oil that most of the professional tasters cannot tell the difference between the real stuff and fake olive oil.
“Fake” olive oil still contains a good portion of “real” olive oil, but is cut with low grade oils from other plants to reduce the cost of the oil. Though the manufacturers save money on creating the oil, they often still sell it as high grade olive oil and for a higher price. This practice has become so prominent in countries from Italy to Greece to India, that the market is flooded with degraded olive oil and has been for decades. This being said, just because an olive oil brand looks fancy or has an Italian flag on the label does not mean that you are buying the best quality olive oil from Italy.
So Why Are You Spending More Money For Fancy Italian Olive Oil?
In our years of experience with Italian cooking and world cuisine, we have found that the best olive oil for Italian dishes and cooking in general comes from Spain and the Iberian Peninsula. Spanish olive Oil is bold with a semi-fruity hint, and just like a fine wine will reflect the subtle notes of the olives used in pressing the oil. There are several brands that are our personal favorites, but a good Spanish olive oil should be so flavorful that you could eat it by itself or drizzled over crusty home baked bread. Once you have first tasted a bright Spanish olive oil, you will keep going back it and keep your kitchen fully stocked with with this golden elixir.
What Type of Spanish Olive Oil Should I Buy?
“Imported from Spain” is what you want to see on the label. If the label says “Product of Catalonia,” that is even better. There are many good olive growing regions in Spain, and local and small bottlers all have their merits. Many Spanish olive oils you find will have their labels in both Spanish/English and Arabic. Spain has a large Muslim population that uses large amounts of olive oil in their dishes, because of this many of the local olive oil pressers market directly to the Muslim community.
In short, you really need to let your taste buds guide you when you are searching for a good olive oil for overall use in your kitchen. Of course, we have done a lot of tasting and have found our personal favorites which we will share with you. All of our selections are our favorites for general use and have good mild flavors, but don’t be afraid to try some of the specialty Spanish olive oils for unique flavors and interesting uses.
Our Favorite Spanish Olive Oils
(Click The Products To Get Them For Your Kitchen Today!)
Betis Olive Oil From Seville
Merula — Named One of the Top 6 Olive Oils in the World!
Castillo de Canena Picual — A Peppery Finish!