Soaked in fresh bread, poured over warm vegetables, even drizzled over potato chips and ice cream: olive oil can be a transformative ingredient for more than just straight-up cooking. Our tester dipped her way through more than 40 bottles before landing on these 10 best-of-the-best picks.
1. Best for Bread
Oro del Desierto Organic
A blend of fruity Arbequina, grassy Hojiblanca and bitter Picual olives makes for a balanced, elegant oil. $40 for 500 mL, spanishpig.ca.
2. Best for Gifting
Deortegas Organic Hojiblanca EVOO
This fresh, vibrant and slightly sweet Spanish number has complex flavours of green banana skin, kale and watercress. $44 for 500 mL, spanishpig.ca.
3. Best for Cooking
De Carlo il Classico
Laced with notes of artichokes, mild pepper heat and sweet almond, this southern Italian blend has an easygoing, balanced flavour and is ideal for all types of low- to medium-heat cooking. $30 for 750 mL, eataly.ca.
4. Best Splurge
Domenica Fiore Novello di Notte Special Night Harvest 2021
This small-batch oil delivers big arugula and matcha flavours and finishes with a nutty hint of popcorn and spice. $75 for 500 mL, domenicafiore.com.
5. Best Flavour
Llum del Mediterrani Extra Virgin Olive Oil Coupage
This bright, lemony-yellow oil is a deft balance of sweet, spicy and bitter notes. It’s fantastic drizzled on potato chips. $59 for 500 mL, spanishpig.ca.
Related: How to Buy and Store Olive Oil
6. Most Robust
Nobleza del Sur Day
Cold extracted mere hours after the olives are picked, this Andalusian oil is full-bodied and balanced, with banana skin, apple peel and almond notes and a pleasing bitter finish. Holds up well against strong flavours. $28 for 500 mL, theolivarcorp.com.
7. Best for Salad Dressings
Acropolis Bio Harvest
Harvested, pressed and bottled on a family estate, this Greek oil’s delicate taste and herbaceous aroma won’t compete with a salad’s fresh flavours. $25 for 500 mL, pusateris.com.
8. Best for Special Occasions
Hand-picked Farga olives from 1,000-year-old trees are pressed in semi-darkness, resulting in a glimmering finishing oil with notes of green walnut, green tomato and creamsicle. $99 for 250 mL, spanishpig.ca.
9. Best for Baking
Bright with basil and lettuce flavours, this monocultivar oil is creamy with a peppery bite and slightly bitter aftertaste. Fantastic in cakes. $18 for 250 mL, eataly.ca.
10. Best Supermarket Find
Hitting the winning trifecta of affordability, availability and well-balanced flavour (think artichoke and herbs with a slight pepper finish), this Tunisian offering is a good medium-intensity, everyday blend. $11 for 1 L, walmart.ca.