30 Dec 2017

Which is the best olive oil?

From Up This Way, 10:45 am on 30 December 2017

Consumer NZ taste-tested 17 extra virgin olive oils from New Zealand, Australia and Europe – and 2 Australian brands have come out on top.

Extra virgin is the best-quality and the healthiest olive oil as it has the most antioxidants, says Consumer NZ's Belinda Castles. 

New Zealand has no mandatory standard for imported extra virgin olive oil, but those produced here are guaranteed '100% New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil' when they have the OliveMark® from Olives New Zealand.

While there are some great New Zealand olive oils, Consumer NZ only tested the ones that were widely available as they wanted to focus on the quality of popular oils from Greece, Spain and Australia, Belinda says.

Despite cases of olive oil fraud in Europe, they didn't find any adulteration in those here.

Once the oils were confirmed as extra virgin, expert tasters scored them out of 100.

None were awarded a gold medal (a score of 85% or over) but here are the top ten:

Silver medallists ( 75% to 84%):

  • Red Island - First Cold Pressed
  • Cobram Estate - Classic Flavour

Bronze medallists ( 65% to 74%):

  • Harvest - Special Selection

  • Divinity Premium - Frantoio

  • Kapiti - Frantoio/Leccino

  • Select  

  • Borges

  • La Española 

  • The Olive Lady 

  • Pams 

Belinda recommends avoiding oil sold in clear bottles and always looking for a 'harvested on' or 'pressed on' date if there is one, rather than the 'best before' date.

You might want to keep the local extra virgin olive oils for your salads and cook with a cheaper one, she suggests.

"Try the New Zealand oils. We could almost 100 percent say they'll have pressed on dates and be in dark bottles."