Here is another post in my new series looking at extra virgin olive oils taken at random from the market. I am very lucky to have samples of evoo sent to me from time to time direct from the producers and of course these oils are likely to be the very best they produce. So I thought I would have a regular look at what is actually on retail sale in the shops and on dedicated websites.
This month I bought two oils off the Amazon website and one from a supermarket. They come from three different countries and vary in price from £10.00 a half litre to £14.99 also for a half litre. They are all medium to robust in style with plenty of bitterness and pepper. The most expensive was my favourite.
Waitrose Chianti Classico DOP
- This oil is a Protected Designation of Origin extra virgin oil from the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany . The harvest date is 2017.
- It is a selection of Frantoio, Coreggiolo, Leccino and Moraiolo olives
- The sell by date is 20/08/19
- It is priced at around £10.00 for 500ml (£20.00 per litre)
This oil has an interesting aroma of dark herbs, nuts and chocolate with a touch of Ovaltine. The flavour in the mouth is very similar with some bitter almonds and nuts and then quite strong pepper.
In a tasting of supermarket own label Tuscan oils this was the only one with a DOP rating and was the most expensive, the rest were PGI Tuscany (a lower category with less stringent rules n the origin of the oil) but it came third in the judgement of five tasters recently.
Use with well flavoured ingredients such as grilled red meats and mixed leaf salads or to dress pasta dishes with meat sauces.
Lebanese Sun Qadisha Valley bought off the Amazon website
- This organic extra virgin oil from the Middle East does not have much information on the label about the harvest date, the varieties, the producer or the best before date.
- It is priced at £7.99 for 250ml (£23.96 per litre)
This oil has a sharply herbaceous aroma with culinary herbs and spicy radishes with a touch of lemon citrus. At first taste it is just a little disappointing in the mouth as the aroma seemed to promise so much, but after a gentle start both bitterness and strongly growing pepper come in with rocket and watercress flavours keeping pace. There is a long herbaceous after-taste with sorrel and citrus fruits so that the oil just escapes being unbalanced.
Serve with other strongly flavoured ingredients in marinades and BBQ sauces or use as a dip with vegetable cruditèes.
Venta del Baron DOP Priego de Cordoba bought off the Amazon website
- This oil is a Protected Designation of Origin extra virgin oil from the Priego de Cordoba region of Andalucia. The producer is Mueloliva.
- It is a selection of Hojiblanca and Picudo olives
- The sell by date is 20/08/19
- It is priced at around £14.99 for 500ml (£29.98 per litre)
This is the most expensive oil in this month’s line up and in my opinion it is still the best buy. The lovely, complex aromas offer culinary herbs and salad leaves with tomatoes-on-the-vine, a touch of tropical fruits and some orange citrus tones. It is rather darker in the mouth with wet green leaves and a touch of liquorice. There is quite strong almond skin bitterness and matching pepper with an edge but these do not swamp the fruit, leaving the same green leafy taste with which it started.
This oil would be great for dipping, probably just with plain bread to let the flavours shine or use to finish all kinds of Mediterranean dishes at the table.