It’s good to keep a few different oils in the kitchen. Lighter, less strongly flavoured oils are better for frying and for dressings – it’s up to you whether you want to pay more for extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil (evoo) made from the first pressing of the fruit – but for dipping and drizzling it’s worth spending a bit more. We tested five different oils and scored them according to flavour and price.
Melgarejo, 2.5 litres, €27.50, 10/10
This Spanish olive oil comes in a distinctive yellow tin and is available in wine shops and specialist retailers. For our testers it was the clear winner when it came to a cost per 100ml analysis. The fruity aroma just cries out for a hunk of crusty sourdough and if it’s good enough for Dublin restaurant Etto, then it’s good enough for us.
The River Cafe I Canonici, 75cl, €23, 9/10
Vibrant, green, fruity yet soft and smooth, this is an absolutely gorgeous new season (2017) olive oil made primarily from Moraiolo olives in Italy – and it’s organic to boot. Our testers loved it, but the price meant it would have to be limited to occasional use.
Capezzana, 75cl, €26.95, 9/10
Another delicious new season organic olive oil from Italy, this superior evoo appears more gentle than the River Café’s on first tasting, but then a peppery kick hits the back of the throat. Not for frying, this is a luxury worth paying for.
Azouro, 50cl, €12.95, 8 /10
This Portuguese olive oil is made from a blend of Verdeal, Modural and Cobrancosa olives and comes from the Douro Valley. It is nicely balanced, with a fruity aroma, a hint of sweetness and a bite that’s peppery but not too peppery.
Aldi Sicilian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 50cl, €6.95, 7/10
Gourmets on a budget should beat a path to Aldi for this Sicilian olive oil which may not have the complexity of some of the other oils tested, but comes at an unbeatable price.