* Prices may differ from that shown
By far one of the most superior grade extra virgin olive oils on the market, the flavour is exquisite as a dip for bread or drizzled over your favourite salads, I use it drizzled on oven chips sprinkled with salt and pepper before going in the oven to roast. It makes a lot of difference on the taste and crispy texture of the chips and imparts that wonderfully unique flavour into them. The aroma of the oil is beautiful the bouquet of olives is reminiscent of all that is Italy. This oil is of a superior grade - oil obtained solely by mechanical means of superior quality. The bottle itself is a work of art a dark green glass with a white sticker front and back, on the back is a little bit of the story behind the product dating from the 19th century and of course the nutritional information can't forget that. On the front is emblazoned the Bertolli signature name. This oil is reasonably priced at around 4 pound a bottle for 1 litre. This normally lasts the 2 of us in the house about 2 months so overall this is an amazing product every house should have at least one bottle! Not forgetting the health benefits of olive oil as it does not contain the saturated fats or as much of anyway as other cooking oils it is rich in mono unsaturates and poly unsaturates which have been scientifically proven to help maintain a healthy heart and lifestyle.
*In the interests of no-one beating me up for plagiarism, I should probably point out that this has been on Ciao before, where I am Ms Bang.
Incidentally the measure of how dedicated/bored I am is that I've actually been to the Bertolli website. It's about as interesting as a website based around all things olivey can hope to be.
The lovely Bertolli people started making olive oil in Lucca (which is a really nice place, from what I remember), ooh, quite a while ago. They turned out to be quite good at it, so they promptly left Italy in order to take over the olive oil world. There's probably more to say about that, but it's a bit dull, really, isn't it? Also, Bertolli do those ads which irritate me, so I can't really be arsed making up any more stuff about how great they are. They make oil, and other assorted things for people who are too lazy to make their own Bolognese. That's all you really need to know.
If you fancy making your own olive oil, you'll need to follow a few specific steps. First, move yourself to Italy (I'd recommend this. Italy's really nice). Then you need to get yourself a farm (this may be a wee bit trickier. If all else fails just move in to someone else's farm and stay really quiet in the hope that they may not notice you). Next, plant some trees. Probably best to plant olive trees, as pear trees will look lovely but really won't produce that many olives. You'll need about 5 acres or so. Water them every so often (talking to them in the manner of Prince Charles is optional, but will aid your case for squatter's rights by way of insanity when the host family whose farm you've been parasitically bleeding dry find you hiding in their barn). In five to seven years you'll have some olives (you might want to bring some snacks and a magazine or two to occupy you whilst you're waiting). Then you can either bring it all to the local mill and pay their extortionate prices to have it made into oil, or you can hire yourself some peasants to squish them all up (if you're thinking of ruddy-faced peasants who'll accept you into their culture and feed you tasty rustic food in return for you paying them a couple of euros per ton of olives they squish up you're probably a bit misguided. Peasants are hardly ever as much fun as they look, I've found).
Realistically, the only way you're going to be arsed to follow the above guidelines is if Channel 4 have commissioned you to be in a programme in which you attempt to make a better life for yourself abroad and then, inevitably, make a tit of yourself on camera and then fail spectacularly for the viewing pleasure of a nation which now hates you. It's probably better, then, to pop down the supermarket and but some stuff in a bottle for a really quite reasonable £3.89. You can have a go at the other way if you want, but this'll be less grief.
There's a vast array of types of olive oil to choose from, but for the purposes of this we'll examine extra virgin olive oil (they all taste pretty much the same, unless you're cheap and you're buying the value stuff, which tastes awful).
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is so called because Bertolli put loads of virgins in there. No, not really. Although, in a way, don't you wish that were true? Boringly, what it actually means is that it's from the first pressing of the olives and that there can be no refined oil in there.
It tastes a lot like oil that's come from olives. Ever eaten olives? Well, that's what olive oil tastes like, but without the solid olivey bits (seriously, what did you think it was going to taste like? Cheese?) Because it's extra virgin olive oil it has a very rich and unctuous flavour, which should contain no hint of acidity. It's a much stronger taste than sunflower oil, and is also much better for you (because it's got loads of monounsaturated fats. Your heart, apparently, is quite fond of these). Consequently, when cooking with it it's best not to use it with excessively delicate flavours, as the extra virgin olive oil will just beat the hell out of them and probably give them a wedgie. It works well with tomato based sauces, strongly flavoured fish and meat dishes, and as a dipping sauce if you throw in a bit of garlic and oregano. If you're all posh you can marinate meat with it, although it's best not to use it with subtly flavoured fish.
As olive oils go, Bertolli's is pretty good. It's suitable for all forms of cooking, keeps well, and rarely contains any sediment. However, if you're a real olive oil aficionado (and, if that's something you readily admit to, a fiver says you don't get out much) it's probably wise to remember that Bertolli's is a mass-produced product, which inevitably means a slight dip in quality. There are better and purer oils on the market but you'll have to pay a premium for them and no-one will really care when you bore them with how much you know about olive oil. Much better to buy this stuff and use the money you save to either a) send to me, or b) buy alcohol with.
The best bit about this stuff is that you can, if you're feeling adventurous, veer away from the traditional cooking route and use olive oil for loads of other stuff.
If you're living in biblical times, and blind, you can put it on your eyes in the hope that it'll make you see again (your optometrist won't recommend this, though, on the grounds that it won't work). Also, should you find yourself with a crucified Jesus on your hands (what are the chances, though?) you can use it to anoint the body and he'll be like new again in a mere three days.
If, however, you're not from the bible (and if not, why not? Eh?) you can put it on your hair for a really good conditioning treatment. My gran advocated using it as a moisturiser, but then, my gran had Alzheimer's, was entertainingly nuts and also recommended wandering the streets and swearing at random passers-by. Still, worth a go, I'd imagine, if you're all flaky. Just be prepared for people making excuses not to hang out with you any more because you smell all oily. If you're my mum (quite a limited target audience, I know) you can force your 6 year old daughter's head onto the kitchen table and pour stone cold olive oil down her ear in a misguided attempt to cure an ear infection. This won't work, either, but will have the benefit of making aforementioned daughter intensely uncomfortable and inspired to document the trauma in a review 24 years down the line. Finally, should you be too lazy to make the trip down to the local hardware store, you'll also find that olive oil will do a damn fine job of stopping the lock on your front door squeaking after it fell off and you reattached it with Blu Tack.
Who produces better olive oil than Italy and Spain and what better bottled oil to buy besides those manufactured in these countries? After seeing how Italians prepare olive extracts everyone would grow to love the essence of olive and the oil. There is a variety to choose from like the regular oil, the virgin oil and the extra virgin oil. This oil is also available in light form (reduced calories) now.
The Bertolli extra virgin olive oil is best used for salads and dishes where you need probably just a dash. For heavier cooking like pastas and vegetables and meats, a regular one can be used. The aroma is absolutely wonderful and you feel like you have travelled into olive farms right after opening the bottle.
The bottle is available in glass and plastic with an easy to pour lid (lid with cuts around so only a limited amount pours) that is very convenient. I have been buying this for over 4 years now and also gifting it to my grandfather who simply loves to masage with olive oil. For that I buy only the regular oil.
A very good brand for one of the finest oils around.
We get through a fair bit of olive oil and like to try different brands. When we first started to do this, we were amazed at the difference in colours, smells and tastes of the various oils. When I first started to use it I thought they all tasted the same. How wrong I was! I am not sure that I have a favourite. There are several that I am not so keen on. Bertolli is definitely in my list of VERY GOOD olive oils.
The fresher the olive oil, the better the flavour. In our supermarkets we don't buy fresh olive oil. That is why is always tastes so much better in Italy, because they use it fresh. However, if you accept that your olive oil is not going to be as fantastic as the fresh Italian olive oil, Bertolli do a pretty good job of bottling a little piece of pure olive goodness.
Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil comes from the first cold-pressed olives and as such is a superior quality to standard olive oil. It is a greenish yellow colour. The greener the olive oil, the better the quality. Although it is oil, it is not in any way greasy. I am not quite sure how to explain this contradiction, but trust me. The oil is so smooth and rich in flavour that you will not notice any greasiness at all.
Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil is great put with mozerella, tomato and bazil for a quick, tasty and healthy salad. The strength of the olive flavour compliments this salad beautifully. It is also excellent with plain pasta. It really adds something special. The flavour is subtle but strong enough to give the pasta a little kick. If you add fresh tomatoes as well, you are on to a winner!
You shouldn't cook with extra virgin olive oil, as it has a lower boiling point and so burns easily. However, for salad dressings, it is perfect. It is a very healthy oil to use as it is low in saturates and full of antioxidants and vitamins.
It costs about £4 for 500ml. It is certainly not the cheapest but it is one of the most flavoursome that I have tried from supermarkets. I would highly recommend it.
I have always had a taste of olive oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil for salads and dressings and normal olive oil for cooking. Although quite expensive, Bertolli are certainly one of the better brands available of supermarket shelves and can always be relied upon for quality. There are many varieties of Bertolli olive oil, but in this review I refer only top the original.
Olive oil is in essence the juice of the olive fruit (minus the water) that comes from an olive tree. Olive oil sold in British stores is mostly extracted from olives grown in the Mediterranean member states of the European Union: France, Spain, Italy and Greece. Some say there are subtle differences in taste and texture between olive oil depending on how freshly it is. The Olive oil we generally buy in the supermarkets is never truly fresh so I wouldn't know the difference. There is a subtle difference however in the different types of olive oil that you can buy.
Olive oil is produced and sold in different grades and qualities. Extra Virgin oil is the very best you can buy and is taken from the first cold-pressing of the olives. It has a darker colour and a richer taste and is generally more expensive. Bertolli olive oil falls into this category. Virgin olive oil is lighter in colour and comes from the subsequent pressing whilst ordinary 'olive oil' comes from whatever remnants can be squeezed out last. Bertolli olive oil has a warm fruity full-bodied taste and a thick smooth texture. The oil is a rich, green colour and possesses a well balanced flavour that is pure and simple. It comes in a voluptuously curved bottle with embossed glass.
There are many health advantages from olive oil as it is made up mainly of mono-unsaturated fatty acids with a small amount of polyunsaturated fat and only contains low quantities of saturates. The oils main advantage over other vegetable oils is that it contains antioxidants and vitamins - principally vitamin E. This is particularly true of the extra virgin varieties that don't lose their vitamin content through the processes of over-refining.
I use olive oil mostly with Italian food primarily as an accompaniment to pasta dishes. But it is also nice for creating your own salad dressings. Price ranges from £3.50 to £4 for a 500ml bottle.
The Versatile Virgin.......
Bertolli have been producing Olive Oil for many years now and obviously have become quite the experts in producing this versatile product. Bertolli have expanded their range of products over the years to incorporate a vast choice of tantalisingly tasty products ranging from their olive oil spread to simple pasta sauces and pesto and even tasty bags of crispy, mouth-watering focaccine. But where would all these scrumptious products be without the simple virgin olive oil, the base of all their products?
The Extra Virgin Olive Oil comes in quite a chunky glass bottle with 500mls being the most common size but others are available. The label shows the name "Bertolli" in white writing with a red background, there is a picture of a person picking olives and below that, to the bottom of the label, are pictures of olives, quite a nice label giving the air of the Mediterranean! This oil is quite a rich golden colour with a strong olive aroma when first opened. It has a beautiful full-bodied taste, which is wonderful for cooking with, fried mushrooms taste amazing in this oil, roasted vegetables taste mouth-watering when roasted in this oil and sprinkled with garlic mmmm.... my mouth is watering as I type! It is also fantastic drizzled over salads, used with herbs and spices as a marinade, or just great for dipping your bread into, oh! I also love to break my ciabatta into bite-sized chunks and then soak them in this wonderful oil and toast in the oven for a few minutes, these crispy toasted chunks are then great in your salad or just eaten hot off the baking tray! For the more adventurous of us you could even turn your hand to using this oil to produce your own pasta sauces or pesto, is their no end to the talents this little bottle of pressed olives has!! What more can I say - the product sells itself, it's so adaptable, having many uses.
If you love Mediterranean food or if you want to experience the taste from your distant memories of sunny holidays then this is one for you.
Other oils in the range include Extra Virgin Robusto, as the name suggests this oil has a more robust flavour and is slightly darker in colour, but again has all the same properties of the standard virgin oil. If a slightly lighter taste is preferred then the Olio De Olive or Extra Virgin Gentile would be the ones for you, lighter in both colour and taste, all are in similar bottles.
Pure Olive Oil
Nutrition per 100ml:
Saturated fat 14g
Olive oil is claimed to be good for us having cholesterol reducing properties.
Price ranges from £3.99 to £3.31 in Tesco but vary in price depending the store and offers available.
All in all I would definitely recommend this product not only for its many uses but also for its amazing taste.
Both of my parents are Greek Cypriot, needless to say olives, and in particular olive oil has been in my life for as long as I remember. My Grandmother who is in her late 80's swears by it for all different forms of use from contemporary religious reasons to skin care. It has also been said more recently that good Olive Oil acts like a painkiller and there are many health benefits to gain from using Olive Oil as it contains several forms of antioxidants and vitamins such as vitamin E, Vitamin A and Vitamin K whilst at the same time, it doesn't contain hydrogenated fats that we read and hear about in news stories which are bad for the body. In its place are good monounsaturated fatty acids. It can help to reduce high cholesterol in some people with the help of the antioxidants and it can when used to cook a balanced diet also help to lower blood pressure.
In today's market Olive Oil has become extremely popular and my family are particularly fond of the Bertolli range of oils. My personal favourite is the Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Why? Because it is nothing but the juice extracted from the Olive itself, there are no chemicals involved and no heat, it is just a completely natural process that means that the taste isn't interfered with or enhanced with any artificial flavours. The Bertolli range is historically Italian and they use olives grown in the Mediterranean between November and February, the best time of the year to obtain the ripest, juiciest olives and it definitely is reflected in the taste when compared with cheaper, supermarket own brands. To ensure that all of the flavour is captured as soon as they are picked, the olives are pressed within 24 hours of them being harvested and if they pass the quality control of the experts they are then bottled.
The Bertolli range itself has a wide variety of products on the shelves of supermarkets ranging from oils, buttery spreads and nibbles to pasta sauces and savoury foods.
Now I personally and most obviously my favourite foods originate from Greece and Cyprus, but I also have a love affair with Italian foods as well, liking everything from pasta and fish to some good freshly baked olive bread. There is nothing better than having some lovely warm flavoured bread (particularly sun dried tomato flavoured) and a mini dish of Olive Oil in which to dip the bread into whilst I am waiting for my food to arrive in my favourite Italian restaurant and naturally a good plate of olives too.
This Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil looks a pale green in colour and clearly is a liquid. The consistency is thicker than water yet runnier than sunflower or vegetable oils making it perfect for use in cooking as measuring out amounts of the oils is really easy. One slip of the wrist and you won't end up with a pan full of the oil. Removing the lid for the first time on a new bottle I always love the faint olive aroma that seems to be trapped inside and having been brought up when olives started to form part of your staple diet the aroma is instantly recognisable to me. The actual flavour is really quite strong with the aftertaste being rather mellow on the palate. It doesn't taste all slimy and oily as you would probably expect, there is a smoothness about the taste which is dependent upon what foods you actually choose to have with it.
Bertolli Olive Oil is a versatile product in itself and it can be used for numerous different things when cooking, as well as the reasons mentioned previously. It can be used as a salad dressing, as a dip for warm bread, as a pasta sauce, or for sautéing foods. I use the oil to sautéing mushrooms as the natural flavours are drawn out beautifully.
If you have never tried olive oil before then Bertolli is a good label to start with because they have a range of olive oils that differ in strength and in trying them you should be able to taste the difference and combination of the olives used. Each olive oil also has a different use, so depending on what you are wanting to use it for depends on what you should buy, for example Olio di Oliva is very light to taste and is best for roasting and frying whereas something like Robusto which is better used for adding to casseroles, soup and meat. In total there are four different options to try and I keep smaller bottles of them all at home in my cupboard which I refill as they become empty.
The Bertolli range is easy to spot in your supermarkets amongst the vegetable and sunflower oils because Bertolli use glass bottles for their olive oils. The label itself stands out because in white lettering on a red background are the words 'Bertolli' accompanied by a picture of someone picking olives. A 500ml bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil you can expect to pay about £3.79 in your supermarkets and a little more in your local shops. There are sometimes offers on in supermarkets where you can buy these oils a little cheaper and there are sometimes smaller bottles available although my local supermarket only stocks the big bottles. I personally think with a shelf life of a year and for a 500ml bottle the price is quite reasonable because you are never going to drown something in a lot of Olive Oil. A 500ml bottle lasts me anywhere between three to six months and I do use it two or three times a week.
I personally could never use a different kind of oil for adding to food or cooking, olive oil has always been a part of my life and I love the Bertolli range for its taste and how it brings the flavours in food to life. It is easy to find, purchase and more importantly using it won't help contribute to that first heart attack.
Bertolli whats in a name?
When I pick up the bottle of honey coloured liquid I imagine a family of young Italian men; dark-haired, muscular men with golden skin and chocolate brown eyes. Their shirtless torsos, glisten with sweat from the hot summers sun as they carry weaved baskets overflowing with olives from one beautiful olive tree to another. They stop only occasionally to pour cooling water over their faces, shaking off the hard labour from their bodies along with the tiny remaining droplets of moisture. Then of course, there is a whole new picture in my head which involves brothers tirelessly and painstakingly squeezing every last drop of liquid from the hand-picked fruit. And then because it is such messy work, the showers .
Ok. So that may not be exactly how Bertolli make their Olive Oil today, but the name Bertolli is still steeped in Italian family history and culture so excuse me for my over-indulgence.
In 1865, husband and wife Francesco and Caterina Bertolli opened a small shop beneath their home in Lucca, Tuscany. It was from this shop, where they sold regional foods such as cheese, wine and olives, that they began selling their homemade Olive Oil.
In the 1880s Italians emigrating to America wrote to the Bertolli family in desperation. Unable to find the oil to which they were accustomed, they asked the Bertolis to send the olive oil over by the crate. This development saw Bertolli become the very first exporter of Olive Oil and over they years, their market grew to include other parts of the world as well. Today it can be found in countries as far-stretched as Korea, Australia, Germany and Belgium.
Nowadays, the oil, produced in the largest Olive Oil plant in the world in Iveruno near Milan, is only a small part of the family business along side a range of impressive pasta sauces, ready-meals and even margarine.
As a company, they stand for culinary craftsmanship and trademark values of guaranteed quality, consistency and authenticity and the original shop where the Bertollis first began trading, still stands proudly in a small village in Tuscany.
The Bertolli Olive Oil Range
For those of you less cultured and culinarally aware as moi, let me first explain How Virgin Olive Oil differs from the common olive oil.
Virgin Olive oil is comes from only the olive and uses using only mechanical or other physical methods (Maybe I wasnt so far off with my picture of the sweaty brothrs)of production. Because the oil is not subjected to any treatment or exposed to any solvents as other oils are it qualifies as a natural product.
***Olio Di Oliva Olive Oil -
This is a perfect oil for a lighter, fresher taste and ideal for everyday roasting or frying.
***Gentile (extra-virgin) Olive Oil
Like me, this oil has a subtlety about it and great taste. The combination of green olives and fresh herbs makes for a mild aroma, perfect for salad dressings, or drizzled over fish and vegetables.
***Originale (extra-virgin) Olive Oil
Personally, I will always plump for the fruitiness of this most bold and well-balanced of oils. An oil after my own heart! Using a richer green olive, it is perfect with bread or in Pasta sauces and the taste will take you back to the Mediterranean. In fact, I can see the hard-working brothers coming back into view already
***Robusto (extra-virgin) Olive Oil
For a full-bodied taste Robusto, a combination of mature and young green olives offers a richer and more robust aroma. It is the perfect ingredient for stronger flavours such as casseroles or grilled meat.
Nutrition? Come-on Its Oil!
It is certainly true that there are healthier ways to cook. Sunflower Oil for example or using a low-fat spray. But neither of these options come with the same flavour that Olive Oil does so the key is moderation. We all know this so why we have to keep repeating it, I dont know! As a tip, I tend to cut in half what any recipe asks for, compensating with water instead. This is as close to the real thing as I can get without the threat of clogged arteries hanging over me as I eat my Taglietelle.
For those of you who must know, a serving (15ml) of any of the Bertolli oils contains 123 calories and 13.7gms, of which between 2 and 2.1gms are saturated.
On the plus side, theres no salt and olives, and indeed Olive Oils are thought to have miraculous cholesterol combating qualities.
The slightly out-sized glass bottle (Its shorter and stumpy really) with its classic and delicately decorated label with Red Logo adds a bit of sophistication to my kitchen when placed next to the plastic HP sauce bottle and tatty old bottle of vinegar. The glass used is at least partially recycled which is something.
Where can you get your hands on it and at what cost I hear you cry
The great news is that commercial development means you no longer have to travel by donkey down the winding roads of Lucca to enjoy the taste of Bertollis Olive Oil. Today, you can take a jaunty stroll down to your local supermarket, whether it be ASDAs, Sainsburys, Tescos or another ad there on the shelf marked cooking oils and sauces, will sit Bertollis oils in all their glory. But you will pay. Oh yes, greatness doesnt come for free. However, when reviewing the average cost highlighted for you below, please remember, you are not only paying for quality, you are also paying for packaging glass is much more expensive than plastic, and shipping glass is much heavier than plastic too.
Olio Di Oliva Olive Oil - approx £3.09 per 500ml
Gentile (extra-virgin) Olive Oil - approx £3.30 per 500ml
Originale (extra-virgin) Olive Oil approx £3.30 per 500ml
Robusto (extra-virgin) Olive Oil approx £3.40 per 500ml
What do I, the expert think you ask?
I have been a dedicated supporter of Bertollis for many years. I am big on Mediterranean infused dishes listen to me sounding like I know about cooking! The truth is, I like a lot of the Italian flavours. I love my Garlic and Basil and vine-ripened tomatoes and I think when cooking with these kind of good quality ingredients, you need to follow through with an equally good quality oil. Bertollis has never let me down. I dont do a lot of cooking chips or any particularly heavy frying but for pasta, salad dressings, stir-frys and casseroles etc, it works a treat. It has a fresh flavour and aroma and I dont find the aroma hangs in the air throughout the house after cooking.
Stuff you never knew you wanted to know about the olive
1. The first olive tree was cultivated around 3500 BC
2. They are harvested from October to January
3. Olives were so revered in Biblical times that it is said that Moses granted olive growers an exemption from military service
4. The Olive branch is seen as a sign of peace and goodwill. This is thought to be because of the length of time involved in cultivating olives. It was thought that anyone prepared to undertake such an arduous tasks must be expecting a long and peaceful life in order to see the harvest through to completion.
Available in four flavours