Most of the time, I could care less about brands. I'll eat any brand of mayo, any brand of tomato paste, any brand of soy milk -- I'm just not picky about brands, for the most part.
But there is one item that I am selective with. That's olive oil.
I don't know if you remember a couple of years back, but there were allegations that some olive oils weren't really olive oil. This situation got me looking into olive oil and how to improve my chances that what I'm buying is, indeed, olive oil.
|certification and harvest date on the back label|
From what I read, the 2 best indicators that an olive oil was legit are these: 1) the bottle is stamped with a "harvest date", and 2) the bottle has a quality seal, such as the California Olive Oil Council, which certifies the oil has passed some chemical analysis.
So, off I went in search of an olive oil that met these 2 criteria. I only found 1 brand of olive oil in my grocery store which had a harvest date stamped on the bottle, California Olive Ranch. And they also had the seal from the COOC, mentioned above. So that is what I bought a couple of years ago.
I brought it home, and was pleasantly surprised by the flavor. It actually had a distinct flavor to it. It's described as having a "floral, buttery and fruity aroma" with hints of green apple flavor. To me, it tastes a bit like an oak cask. I found it very appealing. You know how it is. You find something that tastes different to you than all of the rest. So, this is my preferred olive oil.
I've stuck with this particular brand for several years now. When the old bottle was nearly empty, I began searching around for a favorable price on this brand. I found that at World Market. I had seen this olive oil on sale, there, before. So, I just waited. And voila, as hoped, on sale, 25% off. It is a "splurge" item for me, at about $4.25 per pint.
Like I said, there's not a whole lot that I'm picky about, but with olive oil, I really am.
To keep my olive oil tasting fresh for as long as possible, I store the bulk of it in the fridge, pouring out only about 2-3 ounces at a time, into a small, dark glass jar with lid, to store in a cool, dark cupboard, for ease of use. My last bottle remained fresh-tasting until the very end, about 8 months post the "best by" date.
Do you have a food item about which brand you are picky?