Whether using olive oil for cooking or to top a fresh salad, there are few oils that can beat the Italian olive oil. But, though many olive oils are marketed as Italian, the true test is knowing where the oil was actually produced- not just bottled.
What you need to know about Italian olive oil is that many companies claim the pristine Italian label even though their product comes from other locations like Greece, Spain, and other Mediterranean locations. Each grove produces unique olives that are handpicked, pressed, and manufactured into the products that you bring into your kitchen.
If you are new to the Italian olive oil market, or the olive oil market in general, then you are in for quite an extraordinary ride. With international competitions and professional taste testings alike, learning about olive oil will leave you craving more. So, pull up a chair, and perhaps some bread with your olive oil, and continue reading to learn all about Italian olive oil.
What is the Best Italian Olive Oil?
There are many competitions where professional taste testers will judge the best olive oils in the world. Of course, as with any competition, there are going to be a variety of contenders that all have their differing strengths. But, still, some outrank others, and Italian olive oil is known for its pristine taste and smoothness.
Choosing the best Italian olive oil depends on the purpose that it is being used for. This could range from cooking meats, topping salads, dipping bread or crackers, or seasoning vegetables. One of the best Italian olive oils for multipurpose use is the Piannogrillo Extra Virgin Olive Oil. If you are looking for the best flavored Italian olive oils, you will be pleased with the Mantova Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Though each of these brings their own unique flavor and therefore uses, these two are continually ranked high by those who are inexperienced tasters and the professionals. If you are looking for an Italian olive oil for a specific purpose, however, then be sure to review top Italian olive oil guides.
For example, an olive oil that provides a little zest is going to rank differently than an Italian olive oil that has a more rich, smooth taste to it. When looking for the best one for your distinct purposes, be sure to review where the olives come from as some products are marketed as “made in Italy” when, really, the bottles are made in Italy but the oil is produced in another region.
Is All Olive Oil Italian?
Although Italian olive oil has its fame for a reason, you should know that not all olive oil stems from this country. Obviously, there is a reason that Italian olive oil is so famous as it generates large profits across the world. But, there are more olive oils than Italian olive oils.
Olive oil can stem from any part of the world, though many Mediterranean countries export their olive oil to Italy for product labeling and manufacturing to generate a higher profit. This includes the countries of Spain, Greek, Tenesia, and other Mediterranean countries. Additionally, olive oil is produced in California in the United States.
If you are wondering where your olive oil comes from, be sure to check the fine print on the labeling. You might find that the label has different locations under the “made by”, “manufactured by”, “produced by”, or “grown in” locations. The varying regions that produce olive oil offer unique flavors considering the groves and the weather that the olives are produced in.
Along with that, olive oil can even have “bad batches” if a grove experiences a bug infestation or other negative proponent that can cause the batch of olives to be ruined. Be sure to check for the reviews of the year of the batch you are planning to purchase in order to have a more accurate representation of the quality you can expect.
How Much is Olive Oil in Italy?
Olive oil is sold throughout the world for a wide range of costs depending on the quality of the product as well as the varying costs associated with manufacturing, imports, and exports. When you are in Italy, you might find that the olive oil can be purchased for a lower price point considering you are not dealing with the costs of importation/exportation and any taxation.
Italian olive oil, sold in Italy, sells between 3-16 euros per liter. The variation in cost depends on the quality of the product produced. Any reputable labels like the quality assurance promised with the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) labels will run the cost higher.
But, if you are looking to purchase Italian olive oil while you are on your next trip to Italy, be sure to do your research ahead of time. Considering its popularity, you could be presented with an inaccurately marketed product and might not be able to tell the difference if you have not done your research and do not take the time to review the presentation.
Is Greek or Italian Olive Oil Better?
Determining whether Greek or Italian olive oil will be better suited for your cooking purposes really depends on the goal that you hope to achieve with the dish. However, if you ask any Italian, they might tell you that Italian olive oil is innately better, and the contrary for a person from Greece.
Greek olive oil might be better if you are looking for olive oil to complement the dish, possibly adding a bit of a peppery flavor depending on the region in Greece that the olives were produced. Italian olive oil is better if you are looking for a stronger flavor that will help to create the flavor palette for the rest of the dish.
What you are cooking, and what you are using the olive oil for will largely determine which one is better. Then, you can add Spanish or Californian olive oil into the mix for an entirely new conversation. Olive oil enthusiasts will be able to tell you the difference among these oils almost immediately, though amateurs may only recognize the flavors instead of the regions they come from.
Is Italian Olive Oil Better than Spanish Olive Oil?
Again, we are looking at two different regions and wondering how the different olive oils compare to one another. But, it is important to recognize that these olive oils, both Italian and Spanish, have their place in the kitchen.
Spanish olive oil tends to have more bold, distinctive flavors that are more nutty or fruity depending on the grove in which they come from. This can make Spanish olive oil better for dishes that these flavors will complement, or for dipping bread or crackers into considering the minimal need for added flavors when using this type of oil.
On the other hand, Italian olive oil will add a more guiding taste as its grassier smell and taste will be distinct in another way and help to shape the flavors of most Italian (and other dishes). Additionally, Italian olive oil is more recognized, so it might be better in helping you to achieve the flavor you were hoping to produce than Spanish olive oil.
What is Tuscan Olive Oil?
Tuscan olive oil is olive oil that is harvested and produced in the region of Tuscany, Italy. It can be hot-pressed or cold-pressed to produce the oil product from the olives. You will notice that it is distinct in its fruitier flavor and fragrance as well as its bright yellow coloration.
Tuscan olive oil can best be enjoyed with fresh white bread to accentuate the olive oil’s unique flavors or consider it on top of your bruschetta- a favorite Italian dish. Or, you can choose to enjoy Tuscan olive oil in traditional Italian soups, over meat, or on many other dishes of your choosing to add a little flair to your favorite dish.
Further, Tuscan olive oil is often compared to its counterpart: Sicilian olive oil. While each has its own distinct flavor profiles, they can be incorporated into many of your favorite dishes. And, while both are from Italy, their different regions offer different climates that transform the production of the olives each year.
Is Sicilian Olive Oil Good?
Sicilian olive oil is produced in the region of Sicily, Italy, and is noted for its distinct flavor profile among Italian olive oils. It is well-known for its fruity notes that accompany a balsamic flavor that bodes well with tomatoes in many Italian dishes. Of course, there are many other uses for Sicilian olive oil.
Although there was an unfortunate hit in the region of Sicily that rendered many of the olives unusable in 2014, there has been an increase in the production of Sicilian olive oil in more recent times. Sicilian olive oil is good for many purposes and will accompany many of your favorite Italian dishes well.
In conclusion, there are many beneficial qualities that rank Italian olive oil high in the world of olive oils. However, not all olive oil is Italian, and not all olive oil that is labeled “made in Italy” is truly harvested there. If you are looking for a distinct flavor, be sure to read the reviews of the batch that you plan to purchase as there are great varieties of olive oil available (Italian, Greek, Spanish, etc.) and each comes with a uniquely cultivated fusion of flavors.