These are our top two choices, which we liked for their similar crowd-pleasing flavor profile that was bright and medium-fruity, with a lightly peppery aftertaste:
- California Olive Ranch Destination Series Everyday Extra Virgin Olive Oil
California Olive Ranch built its reputation on California-grown olives planted in high-density hedges that could be quickly machine-harvested at their peak and pressed within hours. But the state could not produce enough olives to meet demand, so, according to a company spokesperson, the company found sources in Portugal, Chile, and Argentina that grow and harvest the same type of olives in the same way. It then imports these oils to blend and bottle them in California with a small amount of local oil.
- Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Original, Rich Taste
The Bertolli oil was a pleasant surprise. When we last tasted supermarket extra-virgin olive oil four years ago, Bertolli’s offering ranked dead last; tasters called it “flat” and “dull.” What changed? We spoke to the executive director of the North American Olive Oil Association, Joseph R. Profaci, who said that Bertolli has been making a push to improve quality. Other signs of the changes: In 2017, Bertolli named a new CEO and vice president of sales for its North American operations. And the oil, with a redesigned label, is now sold in a dark green bottle instead of a clear one, which helps block light that can degrade oil. Like the California Olive Ranch product, this oil now lists a harvest date on the bottle. In fact, it was the most recently harvested oil in our lineup. All these changes contributed to a bright, fruity, fresh-tasting oil that our tasters appreciated in every application.