You may recall a blog post where I discussed my crazy obsession with olive oil. I love the scent, its great benefits for your health (weight management, lower cholesterol, and improved cardiovascular function), hair and skin (for natural and effective moisture), and how amazingly tasty it can be. I also addressed that many supermarket brands are lying to us – they promote true virgin olive oil; while in reality you are being sold counterfeit oils made with nuts such as hazelnut (and a bunch of chemicals to make it seem as “olive” as possible).
After trying a multitude of brands I came across Gourmet Living Arbequina Olive Oil made in Spain. I couldn’t verbally express enough how amazing and tasteful this olive oil was – to the point (I must confess) that I crossed the very fine line between a healthy and unhealthy serving of olive oil. Myself and another family member were so obsessed with it that we hid it in the very back of the counter for us only (very selfish, I know!).
As I started researching a little bit more about olive oil and learned that there is a great debate between the exquisiteness of olive oil made in Spain vs. Italy. One of the pieces of information that struck me the most was that Spain is the largest olive oil producer (as opposed to Italy, as many people believe).
Considering that Gourmet Living is the best brand olive oil I have consumed, I really wanted to try the Italian counterpart. So when I had the opportunity to try it, I didn’t hesitate in the least.
Gourmet Living Extra Virgin Olive Oil is from Tuscany, Italy and was harvested in 2016. This olive oil comes in 500 ml bottles and it is authentic EVOO grown and packed in South Florence, Italy. It was harvested for cooking, with a low acidity level less than 0.8%, which is required by the International Olive Oil Council guidelines (this is a very interesting fact, I didn’t know there was a such thing, and wonder which other olive oil brands actually adhere to these standards!?). This olive oil is also first press and cold extracted with an authentic PGI certification of origin.
Now down to business…
When I got this bottle, the first thing I did was hide it all the way in the back counter (sorry for my greediness, I’m honestly not this way).
As you read above, it has an acidity level of 0.8% and less, so cooking with it is a breeze and foods actually have that innate olive oil taste without fading away (if you are used to cook with olive oil, you may have noticed that the taste fades away by the time your meal is ready). Although this oil is cook-ready, it also taste amazing on its own. As the Spanish counterpart, the taste is rich and the scent makes you lose control. I find myself constantly dipping freshly-made Italian bread with this oil (fantastic!). I have also tried other fantastic (yet simple) recipes like olive oil garlic bread and olive oil and pepper bread.
Now, the million dollar question: Which one is better, Gourmet Living Spanish or the Italian olive oil?
To be brutally honest, I CAN’T CHOOSE! Both are intense, tasteful, and exquisite in their own little way. There is a slight variation (which is to be expected) and it I think it all depends in your personal taste and appreciation. My only piece of advise would be to try them both! I personally love them both equally as they taste equally good with all recipes I’ve tried.
Check it out!