Americans have been purchasing more olive oil. Most buy what their favorite television chef uses and do not prefer one brand to another. It takes a while for new users to become accustomed to the flavor of olive oil, as well as the differences among various brands. This article will compare two popular imported Italian olive oils – Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The review is my opinion only, and it does not mean that another’s palette may agree.
Olives are grown mainly in the Mediterranean region, although they can be found in areas like California and South America. The most famous countries for olives, however, are Italy, Spain, and Greece. Italian olives are recognized around the world for their quality. The olives are harvested, crushed, and pressed to extract the oil. The fruits, as well as other factors, can greatly vary the taste and quality of olive oil. Both Bertolli and Filippo Berio grow their own fruits as well as purchase them from other areas, such as Spain and Greece. Although the oils are processed in Italy, neither is a 100% Italian product.
Filippo Berio cultivates its olives at La Traversagna, a family estate located in the Tuscan region of Italy. The grove is the largest in Italy with 45,000 trees. The company’s history is as rich as its oil and dates back over 150 years around the city of Lucca.
The history of Bertolli also began in Lucca. Today, the production of the oil occurs in a factory near Milan. The facility boasts to be the biggest in the world. Bertolli became the world’s first olive oil exporter after Italian immigrants in America requested his products.
Both oils give off a beautiful green hue. Bertolli is pale green oil, while Filippo Berio is a golden green. Each is clear and pure. The bottles are similar and are made of clear plastic with a screw top.
Taste and Smell
The oil by Bertolli has a scent of fresh olives. The taste is bitter and pungent, and the texture is heavy. After swallowing, the back of the throat feels coated but the oil leaves no aftertaste. It mixes well with other ingredients.
Filippo Berio has an aroma of typical of green olives. The flavor was subtle and it did not overwhelm your tongue. Once swallowed, the back of the throat gets a tinge of pepper, which is quite normal for olive oil. It is thick, but it incorporates well into dishes.
In most markets, the cost for each item is relatively close. Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil costs slightly more than Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Since both are blends of fruits from other regions, prices fluctuate accordingly. You can expect to pay around $10.00 for 750 ml. of extra virgin olive oil. Again, that figure may be more or less depending upon the area in which you live.
Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a good choice for Americans who are just starting their olive oil cravings. Although the differences in the oils were subtle to the untrained palette, Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil stands out as the better oil and the better value.