When it comes to picking out a bottle of olive oil from the shelves, it can get pretty confusing looking at all those bottles and labels: Italian, French, Greek, extra virgin, cold pressed PDO..... being just a few of the choices in a myriad of options.
Fortunately, we had the chance to catch up with artisanal olive oil producer Alexis Muñoz, who counts some of France's greatest chefs among his fans including,Anne-Sophie Pic, Mathieu Viannay, Guy Savoy, Christian Têtedoie.
Alexis has made a name for himself in the industry in just a few years and is well versed in the complexities of the olive oil market. We asked him to share his top tips that consumers should look for when buying olive oil, as well as dispelling some common myths.
Afterall, as he explains, it's a complicated business when there are around 400 varieties of olives used to make various olive oils, where 80% of the production is industrial.
How to buy olive oil
1. Country of manufacture doesn't always imply quality
"Many people tend to think that the origin of an olive oil - Spain, Italy, etc. - makes its quality, but this is totally false. It's like saying that a wine was good just because it came from France!"
2. More expensive oil doesn't always guarantee quality
"Once again, just like wine, the price of an olive oil is not necessarily representative. I have already tasted oils sold at 65 euros a liter which were not exceptional, and others sold 15 euros which were simply fantastic."
3. Pay attention to the method of producing the olive oil
"Try to understand the method of producing the olive oil even if it is sometimes difficult to learn when one is a simple consumer."
4. Check the packaging
"Avoid oils kept in a transparent glass bottles as the olive oil oxidizes to light and heat, which affects the quality of the product."
5. It's all a matter of personal taste
"Develop your palate to determine which olive variety and which fruit maturity suits you best. These tastes may vary depending on the mood of the day or the prepared meal. It's like wine!" Find out how to taste olive oil like a pro here.
6. Single Variety Olive Oil is Best
"All I can say is that, in my opinion, the best olive oils are those made from a single-olive origin, with only one olive variety. But all the oils sold in supermarket are blends unfortunately ..."
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