Put to the Test: Olive oil
We may use it liberally these days, but just like wine, olive oil works under a system of accreditation, and can vary a lot in taste and quality.
This week, we gave The Burlington Hotel's Executive Chef, Richie Wilson, the task of sorting out the winners from the losers when it comes to own-brand olive oil. All are extra virgin. Richie explained this variety should have less acidity than others because it consists of droplets from the first crush, so contains none of the fruit's seeds, which may be mixed with subsequent crushes. He was looking for a greenish colour, an indicator of the presence of lots of chlorophyll in fresh green olives, and grassy undertones. His scores are given on taste.
aldi solesta evoo extra virgin olive oil, 740ml
Verdict: Richie expressed surprise at how good this was for the price, and this oil is joint cheapest. It also comes in a darker glass bottle, which is a plus because it protects the olive oil from disintegrating in light. Richie thought this was "really good" and tasted more fruity that the others. The origin isn't indicated on the bottle
Price: €3.29 (€4.39 / Kg)
superquinn extra virigin olive oil, 500ml
Verdict: The dearest of the lot but Richie declared this "a good one". There is a sharp 'after-kick', but it tasted fresher and fruitier than those below, and wasn't greasy in the mouth. This olive oil was produced in Spain.
Price €3.49 (€6.98 / Kg)
supervalu extra virgin olive oil, 500ml
Verdict: Also produced in Spain, but Richie thought this one a little bland and dull. He found it a little acidic but didn't linger on the tongue. This one was the second dearest.
Price €3.06 (€6.98 / Kg)
tesco extra virgin olive oil, 500ml
Verdict: Richie wasn't too impressed with the clear plastic bottle this oil comes in and felt it was a little acidic and it lingered on the palate. He also found it greasy. This one is labelled as produce of the EU.
Price €2.99 (€5.98 / Kg)
lidl primadonna extra virgin olive oil, 750ml
Verdict: Joint cheapest, but this was Richie's least favourite. He found it sharp and acidic as well as being a bit greasy. At least it comes in a darker glass bottle. This one is a product of Italy.
Price €3.29 (€4.39 / Kg)