An anonymous poster on this blog left a comment that jarred my memory a bit. In reference to an earlier post on the ubiquity of fake extra-virgin olive oil coming out of Italy Anon wrote
I found it amazing that commentors, in the article, didn't even consider California olive oil as a substitute. The quality and price are getting hard to beat.I'm sure there is real wisdom in this comment. There are great olive oils coming out of California although my experience with them suggests that they tend to be pricier and so more suited to featured positions in a dish than for general cooking purposes. I've also had great olive oil from France (James Plaginol was good stuff!), Greece and, more recently, a sublime Australian oil at an otherwise undistinguished restaurant in the terrific town of Roanoke, Virginia. I have no idea what the Australian oil cost, but based on its amazing bouquet and low throat burn factor it was not cheap.
Natural selection in the Mediterranean may have given us the olive, but it was a god who first chose to press it into oil.
Some Australian Olive Oil Links
The Australian Olive Association