Every supermarket and deli now stocks a wide range of oils from classic olive growing countries. Extra virgin olive oil is the highest grade of oil and is made by pressing the olives with a maximum acidity of 0.8pc.
Virgin olive oil can have higher acidity (up to 2pc). Plain olive oil is a blend of virgin oil and refined oils which are made by chemically treating the olives to neutralise any off flavours. The higher the quality of oil, the more mono-unsaturated fats it contains which help reduce the risk of heart disease.
French and Italian oils tend to be lighter, while Spanish and Greek oils tend to be richer and darker, but less subtle. Italy does not produce enough for its requirements so much inexpensive 'Italian Olive Oil' is Spanish oil, bottled in Italy, containing small amounts of Italian oil.
SuperValu €3.47 per 500ml
Complex aromas of green olives, apples, and even a hint of scallions. Rich olive flavours, subtle and complex with mild acidity and a long finish. Made in Spain. Excellent. 8.5/10
Superquinn €4.49 per 500ml
Solid complex olive aromas with a hint of asparagus. Mild flavour but fine and subtle with low acidity and pleasant green olive aftertaste. Made in Spain. Very good. 8/10
Don Carlos €4.89 per 500ml
Good grassy aromas, lemony green colour, rich olive taste, touch of acidity and a hint of bitterness on the finish. A classic punchy Spanish olive oil. 8/10
Aldi €3.29 per 750ml
Rich solid aroma of black olives. Rich black-olive flavours, not subtle but a solid olive flavour with just a little acidity. 7.5/10
Lidl €3.29 per 750ml
Ripe green olive aromas with a hint of cut grass. Good green olive taste with touches of apple, a mild pungency and fairly low acidity. "Of Mediterranean origin". 7/10
Dunnes Stores €4.49 per 750ml
Light, fine Spanish olive oil with aromas of fresh-cut grass, green herbs, mild acidity. Good quality but a little too mild. 7/10
Londis Heritage €2.99 per 500ml
Mild aroma, hint of cut grass. Flavour also has a touch of grass and a little acidity but a reasonably rich texture. Spain. Not bad. 6.5/10
Tesco €3.15 per 500ml
Light cut grass and green apple aromas. Fairly solid green-olive flavours, milder than I like. Only one bottled in plastic, "made in EU". 6/10
Roma €4.89 for 500ml
Very light aroma, just a vague hint of green olives. Light, mild rather simple flavours. Lacking in complexity and depth. No specific country of origin. "Made in the EU". 5/10