Originally Posted by Christofuh
Few makers are willing to disclose on product label whether or not the content is a blend or a straight oil based on a single variety olives.
I just hate being kept in the dark. Many of the cheap "extra virgin olive oils" sold via supermarket chains are, in fact, blends made up of oils collected from - literary - all over the freaking map.
You may find oils from Tunisia, Spain, Turkey and Greece packed in the same bottle.
Even blends constituting a collection of various oils from the same house don't always come out great.
I had one such oil by Colonna (mid to higher tier brand) whose flavor was flatter than Kansas.
Despite the fact that food critics generally pee themselves over Colonna extra virgin olive oil.
the olive oil business is very, very slippery (pun intended). basically, find an oil you like and stick with it; don't worry about whether it's labeled extra-virgin ... those labels can be almost entirely fraudulent. and don't even get started on point-of-origin labeling ... european oils are labeled according to where they are BOTTLED, not where the olives were grown.
what i look for when i'm considering an oil:
1) does it have the harvest date? not a guarantee, but an indicator. you want something within the last two years, preferably the last year (this is for finishing oils, not for cooking).
2) what does the bottle look like? if it's clear glass, you're probably better off passing ... light has a bad effect on olive oil, too.
3) what's storage like? if it's at a supermarket without much oil turnover, they could sit there under fluorescent lights forever. much better to buy expensive oils from a specialist.
again ... those are considerations for finishing oils ... the kinds you'd use for salads or for seasoning soups and vegetables, etc, at the very end. For cooking, i don't find it makes much difference at all. i like the Santini brand i buy at trader joe's. it's good enough for salads and it's cheap enough to cook with. i'll usually have 2-3 other oils around the house for finishing ... affiorato from mancianti, tenuta numero uno, apollo californian oil ... depends on what i'm finding at the store.