After a short gap I am continuing my new series of posts looking at a range of 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 from supermarket chains and one from a local specialist grocer. They come from three different countries and vary in price from a very low £3.50 for 500ml to £10.00 also for 500ml and as I expected there is a distinct increase in quality as the price rises.
Morrisons “The Best” Evoo from Spain
- This oil is simply labelled as produce of Spain. There was no more information about producer, olive variety or harvest date.
- The sell by date is 04/19
- It is priced at £3.50for 500m (£7.00 per litre)
This oil has quite a sharp aroma of orange citrus fruits and tropical fruits with pineapple. The flavour in the mouth is softer with some nuts and then quite strong bitterness and pepper. This oil is much as you might expect from an oil at this price. It is rather coarse and has a slightly medicinal flavour but it is not sickly as some cheap Spanish oils can be and has a light but pleasant biscuit flavour in the after taste.
Use in very basic applications if you cannot afford to spend more for everyday cooking, but do consider buying one of the other oils to use for salads and to finish dishes.
Karpea extra virgin olive oil from Greece, bought at Taj in Brighton
- This oil is simply labelled as produce of Greece. The producer is the Karpea Company but there is no more information about which part of Greece the oil comes from or the olive variety.
- The sell by date is 08/19
- It is priced at £6.99 for 500m (£13.98 per litre)
This oil has a light but pleasantly green aroma of grass and herbs with some hay and nuts. The taste in the mouth takes in a mixture of salad leaves with a growing level of bitterness and pepper which almost, but not quite, overwhelms the fruit. Salad leaves with a touch of citrus return to the after taste.
Though the oil is a touch unbalanced it is very pleasant at the price. Serve with well flavoured ingredients to mask any imbalance.
Marks & Spencer own label Sicilian DOP extra virgin olive oil from Monti Iblei
- This oil is simply labelled as coming from the DOP Mont Iblei region in south eastern Sicily. There was no more information about producer or olive variety.
- Because the oil is a DOP oil the date of the harvest is given: 17/18
- The sell by date is 09/19
- It is priced at £10.00 for 500m (£20.00 per litre)
This oil has a strongly herbaceous aroma of wet leaves with tomatoes on the vine and a touch of citrus fruits. Similar flavour tones continue in the mouth with some bitter herbs and light pepper that gradually grows in intensity. The oil is very well balanced with the bitterness and pepper never masking the leafy tomato taste. All the flavours linger into the long after taste.
This oil is excellent value for money as well as being very enjoyable. Use in most culinary applications.