The pros: Trader Joe's California Extra Virgin Olive Oil is one of an extensive collection of Trader Joe's Olive Oils available that has some subtle nuances in flavor.
The cons: This olive oil is priced at somewhat of a premium compared to the prices of other olive oils.
One of my hobbies (when I'm not reviewing Trader Joe's food items) is discovering local wineries. One winery that I found out about, through Groupon no less, was Millbrook Winery. While we liked their wine; we fell in love with their olive oil. Part of the Groupon was a tasting of both wine and olive oil. I was in it for the wine tasting, but when I walked away, I was blown away by their olive oil. Their olive oil was so good, I questioned why anyone would ever use butter. Needless to say, we walked out of there with their largest bottle of olive oil. However, it is not an olive oil I would cook with or put on a salad. It's nuances need to be enjoyed on their own. Their 500mL bottle, which is the same size as this bottle retails for $30. That's 5x the cost of this bottle being reviewed here.
So the question is what makes olive oil worth a set price? The best answer I've come up with: it depends upon whether you are savoring it on its own or if you are just using it to cook with. Trader Joe's published awhile back a guide to their Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It is thorough and detailed in a way that I'm not going to repeat, but it is missing one key item: the nuances that distinguish each of the olive oils from one another. Like a wine, there is something subtle that happens and your palate knows when a good product hits it. For the most part, I think most customers might be reaching for an olive oil based on its size or price. However, knowing the difference between the subcategories that Trader Joe's establishes is important as well.
This olive oil is a bit cloudy at room temperature. When cooking with it, any subtle flavor notes disappear. But when dipped in bread it does have a subtle flavor. It does have soft notes of black pepper. However, these are not assertive at all. They were no where near as assertive as flavors of olive oil that I've enjoyed in restaurants like Fig and Olive where they bring out an assortment of three olive oils to try with some bread. The aroma is seems very fresh and has a fruity aroma. There is no production date nor is there any best by date which is concerning since you have no idea how long this product has been on the shelf. Fortunately, most Trader Joe's I've visited seem relatively high volume which means they should be stocking the shelves often.
Overall, for $5.99 it's a pretty good olive oil that is all purpose for cooking, salad dressing, and dipping. As for a recommendation, I'll post one when I get through a few more reviews of the different varieties of olive oil so I have a better comparison point. I'm obviously not going to repurchase this in the immediate future because there are so many oils to try. I do feel however, this is a good all purpose olive oil at a reasonable price.
Below is the visual rundown of what you can expect if you buy this product:
The bottle of Trader Joe's California Extra Virgin Olive Oil:
The nutritional information and the ingredients:
How Trader Joe's describes this product:
Out of the package you get:
Would I buy this again? It is a decent tasting olive oil for under $6. I'm going to see if I can get through a bunch an give you a real recommendation with some reference points.
Want to see more items I've reviewed from Trader Joe's? Click on Thoughts & Reviews of Trader Joe’s for a searchable list.
Did you try it? Let me know what you think in the comments section!