The One Thing Kitchn Editors Can’t Stop Buying Lately

published Nov 4, 2019
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I’m not sure who to give the credit (blame?) to: It was either Ariel Knutson or Lauren Kodiak who first introduced the Kitchn staffers to Brightland olive oil. Whoever it was (maybe it was both of them?), they alerted us to the brand a few years ago and the company has gotten a steady stream of Kitchn editors’ Olive Oil Dollars ever since. Not only have all of us tried it, but we’ve also all fallen so hard for it that we’ve bought (many!) additional bottles after the initial ones. Lots of us have also bought these bottles as gifts — and plan on buying more for the upcoming holiday gifting season.

Let’s take a step back, though, and answer the first question you probably have: What is Brightland olive oil? Well, it’s Very Good Olive Oil. In 2015, Aishwarya Iyer started off on a dizzying, eye-opening quest to learn more about the olive oil industry. (A lot of the options out there aren’t as good as you think they are!) Her exploration led her out west, where she eventually ended up partnering with a single-estate California olive farm and founded Brightland.

Read more: Aishwarya Iyer Wants to Change the Way You Think About Olive Oil

Brightland offers two olive oils in its core, everyday line: Alive and Awake (there have also been limited-edition releases; more on that below). Alive is nuttier with smooth notes of green tomato and green pear. Awake is more complex, herbaceous, and grassy. And both are extremely high-quality.

Buy: Alive and Awake, $37 for a 375-milliliter bottle

“Because Brightland is a little more on the expensive side of things, I like to use it when I really want to taste the olive oil — versus something like roasted vegetables where you might use a little more just to get the job done,” says Ariel. “I use it on simple salads, when I’m frying an egg, on toast (especially when ricotta is involved), and even over vanilla ice cream. I use the Awake mostly, but I love their limited-edition releases (lemon! And chili!). It’s really the perfect gift to get someone for the holidays IMO.”

She’s right about Brightland being the perfect gift: A nice bottle of olive oil is way more surprising than, say, a bottle of wine. (And a safer option if you’re not sure if someone drinks.) It’s also probably not something most people buy themselves, as we usually just settle for a not-too-expensive supermarket option.

Credit: Brightland

And coincidentally as of today, a very special Holiday 2019 Duo is available. (Seriously, we were planning on running this post today BEFORE we knew about this news!) Instead of the usual bottle art (which is gorgeous and deserves a spot on the kitchen counter as is!), the bottles in this set come with custom art from renowned artist, The Cartorialist (who has done big work for Dior, Prada, and Glossier). This limited-edition set includes Awake and Alive and retails for $78 (four dollars more than the non-holiday Duo).

Note: All bottles (holiday or not!) are currently available for preorder while the 2019 harvest is being milled. Orders will ship the week of November 25.

It’s the holiday season, which means it’s time to do some gift shopping! We’re sharing our favorite picks for anyone on your list — check out all of our gift guides here!