Look For The Cultivar When Shopping For Olive Oil

The next time you go shopping for a bottle of olive oil, check the label meets three specific criteria before you put it in your trolley.

Photo by BryanGeek

Olive oil expert (sounds like an amazing job) Nicholas Coleman laid out what he looks for in a bottle of olive oil in an interview with Serious Eats:

Three things: the harvest date, where it comes from (this means the specific region, not just the country), and the cultivars, or what olives the oil is composed of. If these essential elements are missing, it doesn't speak well of the quality of the oil or the producer.

As we've noted before, regulations on olive oil labelling can be somewhat inspecific. Looking for the actual type of olive is a great step when you make your decision. It doesn't necessarily matter what the bottle lists as the cultivar; you just want to make sure it identifies one. Many low-grade olive oils are mixtures of various cheap oils, so they don't tend to include the cultivar.

If you're into olive oil, the entire interview is worth a read, so check it out through the source link.

Tips on Finding the Best Olive Oil With Eataly Expert Nicholas Coleman [Serious Eats]


    Year after year, there have been reports that imported Italian and Spanish olive oils were rancid (highly toxic).
    Given that the importers of these oils ignored these reports year after year, the very first criteria should be:
    1. Unless you know that an Italian or Spanish olive oil is top quality, don't buy it.
    If you don't understand how poisonous "rancid oil" is to your family, do a search. You'll be shocked.

    This all assumes that the bottles are correctly labelled. Substitution and adulteration are rife in the olive oil industry.

    See, for example:


    leading to the recent scandal/farce: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/10080827/The-great-olive-oil-farce.html

    Best Extra Virgins list polyphenols on the label at date of harvest. The higher they are the better the oil is for you. Go for a polyphenol level over 300 anything less means the oil will be rancid much quicker and not last until the 2 year use by date.

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