Here is the truth: Not all expensive Extra Virgin Olive oils are good. But ALL inexpensive Extra Virgin Olive oils are bad.
A friend of ours commented that an olive oil he received from us was very good (terrific, he says), but the price value of the XYZ brand was much better. We bought a bottle of XYZ in a VERY (perhaps the most) reputable retail store. We paid $12 for a half a liter bottle of XYZ, but if you go online you can buy a case of 12 for $9 per bottle. On ZYX’s website, one can read wonderful comments from customers and great (really great) chefs, who endorse the product. The bottle had the proper label of EV Olive Oil and best before date of March 2011. $9 or $12$ is hard to believe! How can they do it?
I took the bottle with me to Italy (this meant i had to check my bag – we do this and more for the higher cause) and asked a professional olive oil tasting panel to taste it in a blind professional session. Their response, word by word: l’olio da noi assaggiato è difettato (riscaldo e rancido) e pertanto non ha più le caratteristiche per essere commercializzato come Extra Vergine. It means: “the oil is defective (rancid and riscaldato/heated) and no longer has the characteristics of and cannot be sold as Extra Virgin”. The “experts” tell me that “best before date” only means that the liquid was bottled 18 months prior, however, the oils they bottle might not be from the newest harvest, but perhaps one, two, or even three… years before. there is no law and practically speaking, producers can clean out any old inventory.
Why did I go to this trouble? Because I am tired, no, Very Tired, of hearing that our EVM (M stands for Magnificent) olive oils are too expensive. If you want cheap, you can have plenty of rancid choices, even at high end stores.