I’m the Grocery Editor at Kitchn — And These New Olive Oils Were the Highlight of My Week

published Apr 22, 2022
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Recently I’ve managed to collect few different oils that had been sent to me to sample (perks of being a Grocery Editor, I know). After unboxing the bottles and breaking down the boxes, I’ve been setting them aside on the mini bookshelf in the kitchen along with the other oils, vinegars, salts, and staples my roommate and I cook with regularly. We still had to finish the current bottle we had already opened. 

But then earlier this week, while editing another story, I was reminded that you don’t always have to use up one thing before opening the next — as long as you consume everything (or share it with friends and neighbors) eventually. So with that new mindset, I decided it was time to twist open these bottles and give them a try.

I sampled three quality olive oils, each made with olives sourced from a different country (Cyprus, Spain, and Greece), and one avocado oil made with avocados from, of course, Mexico. (The U.S. imports more than 80 percent of its avocados from there). They each had varying degrees of pepper and bitterness. All four were delightful when dipped into the freshly baked sourdough bread I bought earlier that morning at our local bakery.

I loved them all, and I think you will too!

1. Colive

Founded in 2017, Colive’s mission is to bridge the divide between the ​​northern and southern parts of Cyprus — a more than 50-year-old conflict zone. The company sources its olives from family-owned farms on both sides of the UN-controlled buffer zone, also called “the Green Line.” You can see a visual representation of this line on the bottle itself and, in fact, 10 percent of profits from each bottle sold are donated to organizations dedicated to peacefully reuniting Cyprus.

Of the three olive oils sampled, this is the lightest in terms of its peppery flavor. It also has a warm richness with an ever-so-slight bitterness to its finish. We — I recruited my roommate to take part in this oil and bread tasting — particularly liked its surprise ending and plan to bring this oil to a gathering with friends, along with some freshly baked bread, meats, and cheeses. Someone else can bring the wine.

Buy: Colive Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $18.99 for 500ml at Colive

2. Graza

Made from 100 percent Picual olives from Jaen, Spain, the region where more than half the world’s olive oil is produced, Graza launched earlier this year to rave reviews and touts its affordability across its charming website. (As someone who worked in advertising, I appreciate a well-designed piece of communication from a company.) 

This “Drizzle,” which comes in a squeezable plastic bottle, is the Goldilocks of the group. And by that I mean the flavor notes, IMO, are just right: peppery and inviting, and not at all bitter, It’s, dare I say, drinkable. There isn’t a thing I wouldn’t drizzle it on — fresh produce, pancakes, ice cream, you name it. (There is also a sister “Sizzle” EVOO, specifically for cooking.)

Buy: Graza Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $20 for 500ml at Graza

3. kyoord

Developed by cancer researcher and molecular biologist Dr. Limor Goren, this high-phenolic olive oil is rich in antioxidants, like oleocanthal and oleacein, which have been linked to certain health benefits. It’s made in Corfu, Greece, with unripe green olives from a small family farm and comes in a sleek-looking, tall glass bottle. 

As it turns out, the tallest bottle was also the most intensely flavored of the lot (and my roommate’s favorite). The label is not kidding or exaggerating when it references the oil’s “signature peppery aftertaste” — one I was not prepared for at first bite. It’s a bit grassy and a bit bitter. The peppery aftertaste lingered well after I had swallowed. Yes, I coughed. And yes, I enjoyed it. I will say, it was less severe (or maybe I was more prepared) when I tried it a second, third, and fourth time. 

Buy: kyoord High-phenolic Olive Oil, $49 for 500ml at kyoord

4. west~bourne

A zero-waste purveyor of snacks, spices, and pantry staples, west~bourne launched a set of avocado oils, including one for cooking and one for finishing, earlier this week. (The oils are both waste-free and carbon neutral.) Made with organic avocados from a family-run orchard in Mexico, the Organic Extra Virgin Avocado is a deeper, green hue (than both its refined cooking counterpart and the aforementioned olive oils) and comes in a larger (750ml) glass bottle. 

Compared to the olive oils, which, I know, is comparing avocados and olives, this oil has a more mellow and buttery flavor — the total opposite to the kyoord above. It tastes like liquid avocado, and it’s smooth and satiating when paired with bread. It’s even better with a bowl of leafy greens, cherry tomatoes, red onions, and diced avocado (why not!).

Buy: west~bourne Organic Extra Virgin Avocado Oil, $45 for 750ml at west~bourne

What’s your favorite brand of olive oil? Tell us in the comments below.