Original article from MSN
Olive oil makes everything better, from that day-old baguette end piece to potato salad. Of course, there’s a dizzying array of stuff on the market, and it can be tough to narrow down your choice. As a culinary school grad who’s tinkered with dozens and dozens of olive oils over the years, I know how much of a make-or-break difference a good olive oil can make when mixing a salad dressing, sautéing veggies, baking proteins, and so much more.
The Best Olive Oils
What to Consider
As with any kitchen staple, taste and price should be driving factors when purchasing olive oil. There are people who devote their work to being professional olive oil sommeliers (yes, it’s a real gig!), but for the average home cook, there are a few things to keep in mind beyond flavor and budget preferences:
Go Extra Virgin
First, look for extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), as it’s the highest quality you can buy. To ensure you’re getting the real deal, look for bottles that are “certified” extra virgin — you’ll see this on the label or in the product description — so you know strict standards are upheld in the manufacturing process. (For California olive oils, look for the COOC certification from the California Olive Oil Council.)
You can also scan the label to see if it’s a certified PDO or PGI (European certification) extra virgin oil. These standards ensure the origin/traceability of the oil linked to a specific geographical area, so you know your oil isn’t cut with any cheap fillers from other countries, which also means you’re getting a high-quality product.
Organic EVOO is also an option. Look for USDA or other organic stamps of approval such as the CCOF for the California Certified Organic Farmers certifying agency.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. It’s amazing how just an extra tablespoon or two of EVOO or infused oil can transform the entire taste of a recipe, so try several types of oils until you find your favorites. For some dishes, you may prefer fruity and delicate flavors, while for others, you may want to bring on the bold, herby zingers that are heavy on the peppery finish.
You don't need to spend months learning the tools of the trade like we did to choose the best olive oil available. We list our favorites here, and best yet, they're all available online, ripe for the picking!
Truly 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Size: 2 bottles, 500 milliliters each
- Source: California
A kitchen without Corto as a pantry staple? No, thanks. It’s time to load up on this twin set of an Amazon’s Choice olive oil selection.
We love this workhorse of an EVOO for drizzling, cooking, roasting, and baking, and we’re pretty sure you’re going to swoon for the full-bodied oil with bright floral notes and a smooth finish.
Made from olives harvested in their prime, the fresh oil is cold-extracted within hours at Corto’s state-of-the-art on-site mill. All this olive oil wizardry is helmed by a seventh-generation Italian family in California.
Chefs love that Corto’s oxygen-free FlavorLock boxes and dark bottles block light, air, and heat to keep the extra virgin olive oil fresh, and Corto fulfills web orders “on-demand” to ensure freshness: No orders are stored for more than 4 to 6 weeks in a climate-controlled warehouse.