Previously we found that TJ has a great Italian olive oil at an equally great price. As the oil in that bottle is getting down near the bottom, it was time to visit the Trader again and replenish the supply. Sitting next to that fine Italian oil, at the same great price, was a bottle of TJ’s Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The only thing to do was buy a bottle and do an oil-out (that would be the equivalent of a shootout) or is it more correctly an oil-off (that would be the equivalent of a dance-off) between the two oils.
The methodology for the comparison was easy. The left index finger gets a drip of the Italian and the right index finger gets a drip of the Spanish. Alternately place the index fingers in the mouth and taste. Wash the hands first.
It got much more complicated than that when I found the taste from one lingered into the taste from the other. Now I had to figure out a way to cleanse the palate after each taste so that I was getting a true comparison. Having a bottle of TJ’s Charles Shaw Shiraz (2008) on the shelf inspired me to experiment with wine as the perfect palate cleanser. You can see where the day is going.
Many comparisons later and with a slight hang over, the results are in. There is a difference. TJ’s Spanish extra virgin olive oil has a slightly stronger taste than TJ’s Italian President’s Reserve extra virgin olive oil. And even more surprising, the extra taste in the Spanish variety is, olives. That’s opposed to what TJ says on his Spanish label, “Fruity flavor, hints of almond, slightly bitter, sweet & spicy.” It’s olives TJ. TJ, never let your wine reviewer try to describe olive oil.
Bottom line. Both are nice thick deep colored olive oils. The Spanish variety has more of a taste of olives. When mixed with other foods in sauces, salads or whatever, it’s probably not going to make much of a difference. Over the next several months I’ll be using the Spanish oil and will know for sure. Either one is a winner, because the price is a few dollars less than comparable olive oils in other stores. So if you happen to mistakenly pick up one or the other or both on one of your shopping trips, don’t kick yourself, simply open a bottle of wine and do your own olive oil taste test.
The only thing that could make Trader Joe’s Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil any better would be a picture of Penelope Cruz on the label.
Calories: 120 per tablespoon (15 ml) Price: $5.99