Ann Arbor News Article

A good bottle of olive oil must multitask, and be cheap, too


Newolive oil for· everything except sweets. I ex­pect my olive oil to saute, dress and dip. It must be a regular Fred Astaire, but a budget-mind­ed one. There are some astound­ingly delicious oils out there, but sautéing onions with these high-priced beauties would make me break out in hives. I’d put the bottles away (out of the light) and then forget about them. I had my suspicions, but I wanted to know whether there was a cheap-to-moderately priced oil that wouldn’t embar­rass me (or you) as a company­ worthy dipping oil. Taste test, ho! All of our test oils were widely available, although one, the Spanish Zoe. did require a trio to

Merchant Whole Foods. It’s also been spotted at various· smaller markets.)

Here are the extra virgin oils we tried:

■ Colavita (1 liter, $10.99)

■ Mantova (1 liter, $7.58)

■ Da Vmci (1 liter, $11.96) fi Zoe (1 liter, $7.39)

■ Berlo (l liter, $10.78)

The Mantova brought boosand hisses. A standard com­ment: “Not much flavor.” Maybe the olives were on vacation when this stuff was pressed. Most folks also put the kibosh on the Colavita. A couple of peo­ple liked its mild flavor, but most wouldn’t bother with it. The Da Vmci and Berlo offer­ings tied for second place. Their fans thought that they offered a delicate olive flavor without be­ing overpowerin􀀷. The Zoe, however, dusted the other candidates. While a few people disliked its heartier olive notes, most thought it would be the most versatile oil, even able to manage bread dipping with aplomb. It’s worth a little extra effort to track it down. As an aside, the tin is also quite attrac­tive and colorful- something the testers didn’t know. March is a difficult month for menu following: I’m tired of hearty, rib-sticking dishes, but it’s too cool to go diving into a cold dish of greens. This recipe is a perfect transition between two seasons and a good· show­case for your talented, cost-ef­fective new bottle of Zoe.

“Roast Chicken Salad with Peppers, Pine Nuts, Olives and Bitter Greens”