Some recipes here include a reference to "great single-estate extra-virgin olive oil" that I get from Olioveto - here are some useful thoughts on the matter for the foodie:
- Not all "extra-virgin olive oil" is olive oil at all, and most of it is not Italian. The Mafia in Sicily and the more powerful 'Ndrangheta in Calabria have controlled and ruined that market.
- Most EVOO comes from Spain, and a lot from Greece, too. They are good products. They may say Italian; you can take it up with the mob. If you care about truth in what you buy, buy from a reputable dealer.
- There's no need to cook with cold-pressed EVOO. It was cold-pressed for a reason - the heat destroys some of the compounds that make it special. Whole Foods has a dissertation on the subject here. You can cook with higher-acidity, much cheaper pomace olive oil and get most of the monounsaturated healthy stuff and save some serious shekels.
The people who sell the single-estate oils know the business and you get what you pay (a lot) for. They are pressed from single-varieties or proprietary blends, like wines, and like wines they reflect the source olives, the terroir, and the season, not to mention the skill of the maker.
These oils are not for cooking! Like many people, when these get heated they lose much of their charm.They are best used for dressing anything from fresh greens or tomatoes to a perfectly-cooked salmon or steak (the way they do with butter in New York City and Philadelphia). I keep three very different ones in my kitchen, as condiments for different dishes.
Of course, you can cook with these, it's not illegal or unhealthful, but they're awfully expensive for daily use.
Olioveto also has a "Cooking EVOO", which is much less expensive but still has many of the benefits of the top-shelf stuff. You can read about it on their site (that's a link above). I have not tried this yet. I like knowing that it's authentic and well-crafted more than I care about the putative health benefits. It's still 2x-3x as expensive as the pomace oil, but I want to try it (but that 5-liter container is a heavy lift in more thanone way!).
Full Disclosure: I am not compensated or in any way related to Olioveto or any other provider of single-estate olive oils. A good foodie friend who works with Olioveto worked with me 10 years ago. She follows the Foodie Pilgrim, and so she let me know about Olioveto when she was established in that worthy enterprise. If you buy any of their products, I won't ever see a penny of it.