1. California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil
California Olive Ranch’s olive oil products come in several varieties, including everyday, mild and buttery, and robust—all of which I tried—as well as several other types that I did not. All three were delicious, but my favorite was the Robust variety, because of its peppery taste (I like spicy food). However, because the Everyday type seems to be the most popular, that is what I will review.
- Has a mild, fresh taste
- Olives are cold-pressed hours after they have been picked for the maximum freshest taste.
- Passes standards for extra virgin olive oil.
- Made domestically
- Has a fruity scent with a hint of nuttiness.
- Is comparable to Italian varieties, performing just as well in taste tests as imported brands.
- Reasonably priced
- There really is nothing bad to say about this olive oil. Personally, I prefer a little more kick, but I’m also from Cajun country and was raised on hot sauce.
The Bottom Line
California Olive Ranch’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Everyday variety lives up to its name—it is truly great for everyday use, from cooking to use in dressings. Additionally, it is affordable enough to use everyday. When compared to other brands, this was the best all-around product for taste, consistency, quality, and price.
2. Corto Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Corto uses Arbequina, Arbosana, and Koroneiki olive varieties and is grown, harvested, and produced in Lodi, Central Valley, California. During my testing, I used all of the olive oils to make marinades, changing only the brand of olive oil (the other ingredients remained the same), and this one made the best marinade, though I did not find it enjoyable for dipping.
- Domestically grown in California
- Has been certified as extra virgin by the California Olive Oil Council
- Is a mild oil with a fruity taste and a delicate and fresh smell reminiscent of grass and tomatoes with hints of a floral aroma.
- I could find no information on whether or not it is organic or non-GMO, but other than that, there is nothing negative about this oil.
The Bottom Line
Corto makes an affordable, mild olive oil that is perfect for everyday use. While it is very comparable to the of California Olive Ranch, I found Corto’s product to have just a little less taste, which is why it is in the second slot. However, it is quite a bit cheaper than California Olive Ranch’s product, which may be enough for some people to overlook the difference in taste.
3. Partanna Extra Virgin Olive Oil
If you like to drizzle your olive oil on salads and other types of food, such as fish, then this is your olive oil. It was one of the first olive oils that I tested and when its week was up, I was actually sad because I had to switch to another variety. (However, now that testing is over, you can bet that I am putting Partanna EVOO on everything.) This is a single-variety olive oil, made from Nocellara del Belice olives that is rich and robust and incredibly delicious.
- This olive oil has the strong flavor that I love, known as “pizzicante,” which is an Italian phrase describing a strong taste that grips the back of your throat. It mellows slightly as it ages, but the taste remains markedly strong even though it diminishes.
- Has a pleasant, herbal aroma
- Unfiltered and cold-pressed
- Product of Sicily
- If you are willing to buy in bulk, you can get a really good price for it on Amazon.
- If you want to take a look at their website, I hope you know Italian because Google does not seem to know how to translate their webpages.
- I was not able to find any information on whether or not it has passed testing for extra virgin standards. It has a lot of the qualities of true EVOO, but I do not want to make assumptions.
- The smaller quantities of Partanna cost nearly double the amount of the larger quantities, ounce-for-ounce.
The Bottom Line
For my personal tastes, this Partana EVOO definitely tasted the best out of all that I have tried. Because I use it so frequently, I did not mind buying the larger container, but those who rarely use olive oil or who do not enjoy using it for dressing or dipping may find that the larger amount is too much. However, those who are willing to buy in bulk and who like the peppery taste will be able to score a great deal.
4. Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kirkland was the only imported olive oil that passed UC Davis’s testing, so I was quite excited to try this particular product. Costco shoppers may recognize this brand, as it is available for purchase there. Additionally, this particular olive oil has received a lot of positive attention from big names in the olive oil industry, including Tom Mueller, author of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil.
- The price is almost unbelievable. In fact, it is quite easy to see why there are so many people who are skeptical about this oil’s authenticity.
- This is a great everyday olive oil that is also suitable for dipping.
- It has a mild, smooth taste.
- The bottle is plastic.
- The bottle is also clear, which is not good, as olive oil is sensitive to light. If you purchase this olive oil, make sure to keep it in a dark room so that it does not turn rancid.
- It appears as if this product is only available in large quantities when purchasing from Amazon. Two liters is a large amount of olive oil and it generally only has a shelf life of about one year, so those who do not use olive oil regularly may want to purchase a smaller bottle of a different brand.
The Bottom Line
This is a product for people whose use of olive oil is so great that buying large quantities of it can get very expensive very quickly. If, like me, you use it for almost every meal, then this is a great product, because it lasts a long time, tastes great, is certified organic and extra virgin, and is so cheap that it is almost criminal.
5. Iliada Organic Greek Kalamata Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This particular olive oil hails from Kalamata, Greece and is made from Koroneiki olives, picked from groves on the South Peloponnese. Olives are harvested by hand and cold-pressed in a traditional manner.
- There are a lot of olive oils that are trying to imitate the Kalamata taste, but this is not one of them. It is a PDO product, which a definition of the EU that describes a product that is produced, processed, and prepared in a particular region according to the traditional methods. The raw materials must be from that locality. Because certain areas (like Kalamata) create a product that is unique due to its place of origin, this definition is designed to distinguish true products of that region from imitators trying to pass their product off of something that it is not.
- Mixes a peppery aftertaste with a robust herbal flavor to create a one-of-a-kind olive oil that is perfect for dipping and drizzling.
- Certified organic and is cold-pressed
- The price is a bit higher than the others on this list.
The Bottom Line
The Iliada olive oil is definitely my personal second-favorite out of all the olive oil that I tried. However, its price and the fact that Partanna’s oil is almost as delicious and quite a bit cheaper pushed it down to its current position. This olive oil is one that should be used for dipping and drizzling; in my personal opinion, it is too expensive to use for cooking.