A bottle of olive oil is a staple for pretty much any kitchen — and no one knows that better than an Italian chef. While it's easy to assume that experts in Italian cuisine look exclusively to premium manufacturers for their EVOO, many chefs are quick to recommend options that are more readily available to the average shopper as well. After all, even the finest chefs are home cooks too.
Check out these olive oil recommendations from five well-loved Italian cooks.
- Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $16 for 17 ounces: Chef Luigi Diotaiuti sits at the helm of two well-known Washington, D.C., restaurants — one of which (Al Tiramisu) happens to be a Beltway area favorite for George Clooney. What grocery store brand of olive oil does Chef Diotaiuti recommend if you happen to be rolling out the red carpet for friends in your own kitchen? He suggests Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which is also a best-seller on Amazon.
- California Olive Ranch Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $20 for 16.9 ounces: As far as readily available olive oils go, Chef Matthew Accarrino of San Francisco's SPQR says the extra-virgin olive oil produced by California Olive Ranch is one of the best. Trying to get a little fancy? Check out the limited release olive oil from the same producers, available for a few extra dollars on Amazon.
- Colavita Premium Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $20 for two liters: The Colavita brand earns a vote from Chef Gianluca Messano, who presides over the kitchen at South Beach's La Moderna. Per Chef Messano, this EVOO is great for salads, fish, and light dishes, and doesn't mask the flavors of the ingredients in the meal.
- Giachi Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $20 for 16.9 ounces: Celebrity chef Fabio Viviani — known for his cookbooks and appearances on Bravo's Top Chef — always keeps a supply of Giachi olive oil in his home kitchen. He also lists Lucini (available at Whole Foods) and Barbera (available at Fairway) among his favorite supermarket-stocked brands.
- California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $20 for 25.4 ounces: Chef Anthony Grasso of Virginia's Dolce Vita Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar opts for different grocery store brands depending on the recipe, but the EVOO from California Olive Ranch is a favorite when he's looking for something "more grassy" with a "fruit-forward flavor." (Fun fact: It's our staff favorite, too!) For salad dressings and other basics, Chef Grasso says that generic, store-brand oils can often do the trick, thanks to their neutral taste. Score!
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What's your go-to brand of olive oil that you usually pick up at the grocery store? Tell us in the comments below.