Corto Master Miller David brings in oils from all over the world for our monthly tastings. Some are excellent, some have flaws. Some are labeled “extra virgin” when they are actually “lampante” grade, so defective in flavor and aroma that the oil is only fit for use in lamps! We taste them all, the good, the bad and the ugly.
It’s distressing how much ugly is out there.
The UC Davis Olive Center released a report in 2011 in which they tested the best selling imported olive oil brands found in California grocery stores. They found that 69% of these imported brands, the ones we all grew up with and know by name, failed the international extra virgin standard.
In fact, so much inferior quality olive oil is sold to consumers labeled as “Extra Virgin,” that some have never tasted the real thing. But luckily for us, there is a growing movement, especially among foodies, to help educate others about what great, fresh-tasting olive oil really tastes like!
As David says, high quality olive oil worthy of the extra virgin designation tastes extremely fresh, with a crisp flavor and a noticeable boldness. Imposters taste bland or hollow, a result of having been stretched with colorless, flavorless (and really cheap) refined or deodorized olive oil. That is why one sure sign of fake extra virgin olive oil is a price too cheap to be true.