Olive oil is one of the most beautiful things on the planet. It not only tastes incredible and adds gusto to our bread and salads, but it is also incredibly beneficial to our health. That’s why we decided to do a taste test for the best olive oils you can use at home.
Best Olive Oils for Your Money
Benefits of Olive Oil
Olive oil is a great source of monosaturated fat and contains many anti-oxidant qualities. It counteracts LDL (bad cholesterol) and in effect protects against heart disease. If you want an olive oil that is seriously beneficial, go with an Extra Virgin Olive Oil which will have much higher levels of antioxidants (phenols and vitamin E).
Different Types of Olive Oil
Wondering what the difference is between different types of olive oil? Here’s a brief education on how to read an olive oil label.
Premium Extra Virgin
Oil made from the first pressing of olives, low in acidity (can be as low as .25%), this is the stuff you want to use on a gorgeous caprese or a salad where you can really appreciate its flavor.
Oil made from the first pressing of olives, this will tend to be a bit more fruity than PEVOO. The acidity for these should be between 0.8 % and 1% acidity.
Its acidity level cannot be more than 1.5%. This is a good replacement for EVOO if it is too pricey around your area.
Its acidity should be 2% or less and can’t have refined oil. Use these for cooking.
Use this type of olive oil for cooking, it’s acidity should be around 3.3%
FriendsEAT’s List of the Top Olive Oils for Your Money
The FriendsEAT tasting staff sampled over 80 different olive oils to come up with the list of the best olive oils. They were chosen for their flavor, quality and overall usefulness in the kitchen. Our picks follow by category:
Best in Show – 93 Points
This was one of the most powerful olive oils we tasted. The nose is intense, pure olives. On the mouth, it is earthy and spicy with notes of peppers. This is not for the weak of heart or tongue. This oil requires a pretty sophisticated palate as it can come off quite strong at first. Our tasters felt this olive oil was too powerful for simple bread. It was delightful on Arahova Feta and over pasta with fresh basil and tomatoes. Pesto sauces came out incredible and just a little on grilled meats worked wonders. We are looking forward to seeing what else this family-owned company will come up with in the future.
There is something so special about companies that do not take shortcuts. As soon as we tasted the Lucero Mandarin Orange Oil we knew lots of love went into it. The olives are alive and ready in this oil, but the showstopper is sweet mandarin. The flavors are just as they should be in nature, there is no hint of anything artificial in this oil. Our testers all said that the oil was mild and the mandarin flavors were pleasantly subtle. We would suggest this for a mesclun green salad with some dried cranberries, soft goat cheese, and candied walnuts. We’d even suggest utilizing it in desserts…something chocolatey.
GourmeMist: 100% Natural First Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Production Area Unknown
We were a bit skeptical on this item at first. We are glad that we tasted it. It was light and crisp and much better than we had expected. We could have had this as a regular olive oil and not as a mist. Our tasters were all pleasantly surprised when tasting this oil. Everyone said they’d love to have a nice dip of this olive oil on their bread. So good that we wanted to rip off the top and dip our bread in it.\
Talk about an incredible mouthfeel. The oil starts off gently, then teases the palate with a little sweetness and then it is hit with a lovely olive bitterness. The nose was somewhat floral and quite pleasant. Our tasters said this was the perfect olive oil for every day. We’d suggest that you make a nice caprese salad or get a generous amount on crunchy Italian Bread. This was one of our overall favorites. We are not surprised at the quality of this bottle after tasting their wines. The quality shows throughout their portfolio and really showcases the agricultural powers of California’s Sonoma County.