*Note from Lis The wonderful people at Olivari have given me 5 coupons for a free bottle of Olivari Mediterranean Olive Oil (any variety – Extra Virgin, Classic, or Extra Light) that can be redeemed at any Walmart store! I will give one away to each of the first 5 people who leave a comment. Please make sure your email address listed in your profile is up to date so I can contact you!
Since this product review was something of an emotional rollercoaster for me, I’d like you all to sit back while I give you a brief overview of the ride:
When I was first asked to write a product review on Olivari Mediterranean Extra Virgin Olive Oil, I felt the distinct emotion of terror. I know nothing about olive oil. I know nothing about flavors of olive oil. I don’t even know what “extra virgin” means, except that it’s more expensive in the grocery store.
The next thing I felt was comfort. Comfort that came from the vast extent of knowledge that is made public on the Internet. I started to research olive oil, how to best taste and judge one over another, and how to decode the olive oil jargon that is printed on the bottle. Here’s what I learned:
Start by smelling; it should smell rich and fruity with a faint hint of pepper. Next, examine the color for clarity. Finally, taste a small amount by rolling it around the mouth, slowly swallowing and allowing it to slide down the throat. The oil should taste clean, rich, fruity, and strongly peppery. If the oil tastes buttery, it may be rancid and should be avoided.
Decoding the jargon:
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: Oil that is less than 1% acidity and is produced by the first pressing of the olive fruit through the cold pressing process
(According to Paul Armas Lepisto, Director of The Olive University, most extra virgin oils today meet only the minimum acidity requirement in order to be named extra virgin, and are not a great indicator of quality or flavor.)
Virgin Olive Oil: Made from olives that are slightly riper than those used for extra-virgin oil. Produced in the same way, but is considered low-grade extra virgin oil. Acidity is about 1 1/2%.
Refined Olive Oil: Made by refining virgin olive oil. The final product is basically a tasteless olive oil. Acidity level is higher than 3.3%. Can also have an unpleasant odor.
Pure Olive Oil: Usually called just olive oil or commercial grade oil, comes either from the second cold pressing or the chemical extraction of the olive mash left over after the first pressing. Much lighter in color and blander in taste than virgin olive oil. Pure refers to the fact that no non-olive oils are included.
Refined Olive-Pomace Oil: Oil which is obtained by treating olive pomace (solid remains of the fruit, including skins, seeds, and stems) with solvents and refined using methods which do not cause alterations in the lipid structure. Tastes bad and is bad for you.
Olive-Pomace Oil: A blend of refined olive-pomace oil and virgin olive oil. Tastes bad and is bad for you.
Light & Extra Light Olive Oil: Contains the same number of calories as regular olive oil. A mixture of refined olive oils derived from the lowest quality olive oils available through chemical processing.
With my new-found knowledge in hand, I set about tasting and reviewing. This is where I mostly felt confusion.
I smelled it. It smelled like olive oil.
I looked at it. It looked like olive oil.
I tasted it. It tasted like olive oil.
I felt that it didn’t smell or taste particularly rich, or fruity, or peppery. It tasted fine, but nothing that blew my socks off (and here is where I felt panic, because I clumsily spilled olive oil all over my favorite shirt… But I digress).
I also cooked with it. Again, it didn’t add any discernable unpleasant flavor, but it also didn’t make my dinner jump up and do The Hustle.
And now I felt disenchantment.
That being said, here are the things about Olivari Mediterranean Extra Virgin Olive Oil that made me happy:
- The contoured plastic bottle was easy to hold, and the bottle and cap are 100% recyclable.
- It didn’t appear to be outrageously expensive at my grocery store.
- It was a good cooking oil, as the flavor of the oil would not overpower the dish.
Here are the things about Olivari Mediterranean Extra Virgin Olive Oil that made me not so happy:
- The bottle features a pop-up pouring spout. It seemed like a good idea in theory, but it only took a couple times of me having to take an extra minute with the spout to get the lid back on or having the lid pop off and chasing it around the kitchen floor for me to feel some intense anger.
- Additionally, the pop-up spout was great for drizzling small amounts, but awfully annoying when I needed a lot of oil in the bottom of a sauté pan.
- It wasn’t a particularly great oil for eating with bread or over a salad.
Overall rating: Good, not great.
I encourage you all to take your own emotional journey that is olive oil tasting. For more information about olive oil or the Olivari brand, visit these sites: