Oh dear. I’m afraid I may have gone and done something rather rash.

Something that may cause the church of Rome to excommunicate me or my Neapolitan ancestors to turn over in their graves.

Let me say for the record that I only use 100 percent Italian-olive extra virgin olive oil. The only brand I use is Monini, which is the oil they use IN Italy.

But I ran out of olive oil Friday, and since my people can’t eat meat on Fridays of Lent, I was off to the store, in the snow, to buy olive oil to complete the pressed tomato and fresh mozzarella panini that Giada De Laurentiis (Who I adore) recently showed off on her Food Network show, Everyday Italian.

Red Island Extra Virgin Australian Olive OilAs a talented writer for a major American newspaper, I naturally had about $6 in my wallet. Shaws Supermarket had a 50 percent off sale on Red Island “Premium Australian” extra virgin olive oil, which ended up being $4.99 for a 500mL bottle. The next closest thing from Italy ran about $12, so I quickly grabbed the Aussie brand, did a self checkout and ran out of there like I’d stolen something.

It was amazing. Though not as dark and bold as some of the premium Italian olive oils I’ve tried, the Australian brand was distinctively fruity, like an oily wine flavor. Dipping it on some semolina bread, it was very smooth and fragrant. I’m very impressed.

The oil uses a blend of picual, barnea and frantoio olives, and for the price I paid, it’s certainly worth a try.

I’m not saying I’m going to switch, but Red Island certainly gives a person something to think about. Let’s just hope the 50 percent off wasn’t some sort of clearance sale.

Those Aussies sure do it right — wine, meats and now olive oil.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

4 Responses

  1. Costas

    Wow, John. That’s a pretty cheap price for a bottle of olive oil. Next time you’re in the store, ask them how long they’ve had the stuff in stock. And check out the bottle to see if it has a production date or an expiration date, to make sure you didn’t buy something that was two years old.

    That said, it appears that red island uses some pretty sophisticated mechanical harvesting methods (i watched some video on their website). So, their production costs may be way down (with the help of Aussie gov’t farm subsidies, too). Otherwise, the Aussies have been really smart with how they’ve marketed their wines in the US — not surprised to see their olive oil makers trying to follow in their footsteps.

    Thanks for the post, and for introducing me to red island. Gotta try it as soon as I can get my hands on it.

  2. Costas

    Cool. Sounds like it was a relatively fresh bottle of oil. I was in a store today and saw another Aussie olive oil — forget t the name now . anyway, it had a little paper tag hung around its bottle neck that said: “If you liked our wine, try our olive oil.”

    There’s some interesting marketing going on right now with the Aussies and their foods….

  3. Dave

    They also sell this in a bag-in-a-box. Tastes pretty good; I may make it my standard olive oil. $10 in New York City.


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