“ Olivio, the first olive oil-based spread in the margarine and low fats spread market, was launched in 1991. „
Been using this spread since it first came out, which has been many years ago.....Still remember Lee pushing it on TV..........Bought my monthly supply last week and took the new carton out of the refig. to spread on my toast.....Low and Behold!!!...Hard as a FROZEN POPSICLE,,,,Thought at first that it was frozen.....But no it was not....struggled to butter the toast with it, after tearing the bread trying to spread it. Then upon tasting it, UGH!!! the taste was different..........The "powers that be" must of changed the winning formula that they had and CHEAPENED it making you think that is a bargain.......SHAME ON THEM.....An X user
Bertolli formally known as Olivio.
Just listen to the way the name Bertolli rolls off of the edge of your tongue and it doesn't take a genius to realise that we are thinking in terms of an Italian product here.
Bertolli manufacture a vast range of top quality products including their famous olive oils, pasta sauces, tasty savoury nibbles and their very well known spreads.
Bertolli is a company with a long history tucked behind it, in the late 1800s Francesco and Caterina Bertolli made their living from selling olive oil in a family run shop that was situated underneath their home. In subsequent years they had five sons who then travelled the world extensively to promote the family name and they did so with resounding success, virtually one hundred and fifty years later the name Bertolli has become a leading brand name.
The Bertolli spread carton is very aptly designed. The olive groves shimmer underneath the blue Italian skies, just perfect.
The recyclable plastic tub is eye catching and colourful and is an attention seeker, it demands that you look at it. A majestic cardinal red cartouche proudly holds the company name in a chic large white font. The olive groves freely roam the carton and wherever you look you are transported to the small Tuscan town called Lucca where the Bertolli story began.
Wording on the carton asks you to `spread some olive oil goodness everyday` and sitting comfortably on the lid of the plastic carton are all the nutritional values ready and waiting for your inspection.
Most of us secretly take on board that the Mediterranean diet is among one of the best and healthiest diets in the world. There is nothing quite like smothering your fresh bread or hot toast in fresh creamy butter but sometimes it can be slightly unnerving to think of all that saturated fat that you are taking on board.
Bertolli spread and fresh butter are worlds apart and our butter contains double the amount of saturated fat that is in the Bertolli spread.
I always think it is interesting to take a wander through the ingredients and to actually see what you are putting into your body.
First of all the spread is rich in mono-saturates, no hydrogenated fats have been used in the production process and there are next to no trans fatty acids in the spread either.
21% of the spread is the finest Bertolli olive oil, then there are vegetable oils, whey, water and rapeseed oil, all of these are familiar and comforting.
Citric acid, Vitamins E,A & D.
Salt, flavouring and carotene ( a colour derived from plants )
An emulsifier has been used in the spread, this ensures that the spread doesn't separate.
Finally a preservative called Potassium sorbate has been added, this is also known as E number 202 and is put into the spread to help prevent mould growth.
Now we have fully explored the contents of the spread and we are ready to move on to the interesting part - what does it look and taste like?
Take the lid off and remove the thin layer of greaseproof paper that is put over the top of the spread to protect it. If first impressions are anything to go by I don't think that you will be bowled over.
The carton is filled with a pale and pretty uninteresting looking mixture which has very little smell attached to it.
As you dip the knife into the carton you instantly realise that the pale spread is very soft and it clings to the knife for dear life.
If I was being brutally honest I would add that it looks rather anaemic !
But the product has to be explored as a whole, the packaging, the appearance and now the taste.
I have liberally loaded my knife with the slippery spread and the spread is now heading at a rate of knots towards a half of a sultana scone. I have to give it to Bertolli, the soft spread just collapses and surrenders itself to the awaiting scone.
At this stage my butter dish is having a panic attack whilst it jealously watches what is happening before its very eyes!
The olive oil seems to have formed a coalition with the other oils and the outcome is good, very good indeed. I have to say that I am still trying to locate that slightly salted taste that I really crave but eventually it comes through, though it is still a little too subtle for my liking.
Although the spread has an oily texture it has nothing `margariney` about it what so ever.
What I have on my scone is wholesome and refreshing, as light as air yet it still remains satisfying.
The appearance are texture are quite unlike butter and there is no way that the Olivio spread could ever be served as such. Real butter and Olivio are very different in all ways.
I often use butter for sauces, baking, sautéed food, so can Olivio be used in the same way?
Bertolli assure me that the spread can be used for all of these, it is as versatile as butter.
Plus the spread can be frozen and kept for anything up to three months in the deep freeze.
The nutritional values are all important and 10g of the Bertolli spread contains 54 calories, 5.9g of fat of which 1.4g is saturates0.1g of carbohydrate of which 0.1g is sugar and 0.08g of salt.
The Bertolli spread can't be considered a cheap option, a 500g tub will cost in the region of £1.82p. A 500g tub of supermarket own brand olive oil spread can be anything up to 50p cheaper.
There is a lighter version of the Bertolli spread, it is made with 16% olive oil as opposed to the normal 21% used. It also contains only 35 calories for every 10g. This spread works out at around £1.55 for a 500g tub.
Although all of the olive oil used in the spread comes from Italy it is actually manufactured in the UK. It is made by Unilever at their huge factory in Surrey.
The spread was a pleasant surprise for me, I am a big fan of salted butter and wondered if Bertolli could live up to its name.
Well the only answer to that is - Yes it did.
Olivio spread is now known simply as Bertolli spread and comes in a rectangular plastic tub like most margarines. It is sold in 500g and 1kg tubs. The picture on this page is out of date. For the purpose of this review I shall be comparing brands of 500g tubs.
Bertolli (Olivio) spread is a margarine type spread that you can cook with or put on bread and toast. It was one of the first spreads to be developed using light olive oil. I remember when I first tried it I expected to experience the taste of olive oil, but this is not the case. It possesses more of a buttery taste than margarine and is only slightly salty. The fact that it does not taste of olive oil is probably a blessing for some.
Unlike other olive oil based spreads that I have tried such as Tescos own brand (£1.28) and more recently Summerlite (99p from Aldi), Bertolli olive spread is the far tastier brand. The other spreads mentioned have a completely bland taste that if anything mask the flavour of the bread when you spread them on a slice. Ah... I've just remembered the blandest olive spread that I've ever bought: Asda Olive Gold spread (£1.28) is completely yucky.
Despite being called olive spreads these margarines are still made up of mostly other types of vegetable fat - mostly rapeseed oil. Bertolli spread for example contains 59% vegetable fat spread with 21% olive oil. On the plus side Bertolli spread has less than half the saturated fat of butter. It contains only olive oil and is rich in monounsaturated fats. These are, as the company likes to point out, an "important parts of the traditional Mediterranean diet, which is amongst the healthiest diets in the world". But take note: although the spread contains no hydrogenated fats, on the label it only says "virtually" no trans fatty acids (they raise levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol that can lead to heart disease), which means it at least contains trace elements of these little beasties - as do virtually all other margarine type spreads.
The prices of these spreads can vary a lot. On a recent price check a 500g tub of Bertolli (olivio) spread was available at Asda for £1.55. In Tescos, Sainsbury's and Ocado it was £1.82 a tub. Be aware that there is also a 500g Bertolli Light Spread (£1.55 at Asda) that contains less fat (38g vegetable oil and 16% olive oil). I haven't tried it but I can imagine it has less taste.
So in the league table of Olive spreads Bertolli comes out a clear winner in terms of taste and would be my recommendation, as long as you are prepared to pay a little extra.
* Butter or margarine? * The debate continues unabated, with heated opinions on either side. We used to use butter for spreading, with hard margarine for cooking (since it's cheaper). Then soft margarine became popular, and I was persuaded to use Flora, supposedly a healthy version, lower in saturated fats. Just as I was getting used to it, someone else suggested that the American 'I can't believe it's not butter' (what a name..) was superior, so for a while we used that for some time. * Experiments * We experimented with a few others - Clover, Utterly Butterly, and a few others whose names long escape me, but gradually realised that the popular press no longer considered margarine to be healthy after all! Butter, it seems, was more 'natural' (well that's obvious - just check the ingredients at the back of any soft margarine) and while margarine contains less saturated fat, it's true, it generally also contains hydrogenated fat, which is apparently even worse for us than saturated fat. Besides, while some of the soft spreads were reasonable enough to eat, others were most unpleasant to my rather sensitive taste-buds. The trouble was, we had got used to soft margarine which is easily spreadable from the fridge. Butter is all very well when the ambient temperature is about 15-20C. But any warmer than that and it becomes too soft to spread easily, tending to melt and also to go rancid. However, straight from the fridge, it's too hard. Ideally we would keep the butter in the fridge and remove about half an hour before using.. but my memory and organisational skills aren't really up to that! * Discovering Olivio * In the middle of the debate, and an attempt to find something that would taste good and not give us a high chance of heart disease, we came across Olivio at a relative's house, about two years ago. For some reason, we had never tried it before. It
was in a pale yellow rectangular container (nothing like the picture shown, incidentally), nowhere near so brash as some of the others - perhaps I had never noticed it on the supermarket shelves. * How it looks and tastes * My first impression was that it looked quite pleasant - pale, like the tub, rather than bright yellow, like some of the others. No doubt in the days when bright colourings were fashionable, it would have been considered lifeless, or anaemic, but in our more enlightened times, now we know that artificial colourings are Not Good, it appeared a great deal more appetising than some of the others. My second impression, and even more favourable impression, was that it tasted very good! Far better than I expected from an unknown soft margarine. The rest of the family tried it, and liked it too. There was no aftertaste, no unpleasant artificial margarine taste that needed vast amounts of Marmite or Jam to disguise it. I even tried it on toast on its own, and could barely tell that it wasn't butter. * Nutrition * I deliberately hadn't looked at the labels before eating it, since there was no alternative available at the time. But after deciding we liked it, I did turn it over and read the list on the bottom. The ingredients list was considerably more pleasant reading than that of most soft margarines - being primarily olive oil, and with fewer than expected unpronouncable additives. Even better, it contained no hydrogenated fat at all, and the nutrition information assured us that there were almost no trans-fatty acids either. It's not as low in calories or fat as some of the diet spreads, of course, but none of us is overweight so that's not really an issue. Olivio is fine for vegetarians, although as it contains both whey and buttermilk, it's not suitable for vegans, or for anyone who is lactose-intolerant. * An easy decision * On reaching home, the
first thing I did was check whether our supermarket stocked Olivio. It did. That was all I needed to know. We have used it almost exclusively ever since. I say 'almost' exclusively, because my husband does still prefer butter, and will use it if the temperature is right; we also sometimes use butter on baked jacket potatoes, although Olivio is still quite acceptable. We did have half a tub of some other soft spread in the fridge which I hoped we might use up, but nobody wanted to when there was Olivio available - so in the end I threw it away. * How to use it * The main use is on bread, ryvita, etc spread thinly with or without any other topping. But Olivio can also be used for baking and frying (although we usually use olive oil for frying) or for any other way that butter can be used. It even works in pastry. It needs to be kept in the fridge other than when using, and spreads perfectly without any softening after being taken out. * Price * Although I'm usually very price-conscious, I buy Olivio anyway, whether or not it's the cheapest (and usually it isn't). The taste and health benefits in this instance are far more important to me than a few pence here and there. It comes in two sizes, 250g which costs somewhere between 70p and 85p, and 500g which costs around £1.10 to £1.35, depending of course on where you buy it. There is also a low-fat version in an even paler coloured tub, in the same sizes and approximately the same prices, but since we're not dieting we haven't tried that. My parents tell me it's just as good as the regular version, however. * New name * Olivio has recently launched a new name, 'Bertolli', which is in fact the name of the manufacturer. If it were British, I would assume it was trying to make the association with 'butter', since the word sounds a little similar, but this seems unlikely since it's a European brand. Som
ehow we can't bring ourselves to use the new name - 'pass the Bertolli, please' sounds so silly that we continue calling it Olivio. Whether the new name that will stick, or whether they'll go back to the old name, remains to be seen. * Conclusion * I don't suppose any butter or margarine is precisely healthy, and certainly not if used in excess. On the other hand, we do need a bit of fat, and the monounsaturated version found in olive oil is one of the best, particularly for growing children. So if you want a spread to use in moderation which is low in saturated fat, contains almost no trans-saturated fat, and tastes almost as good as butter, then I whole-heartedly recommend Olivio.