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Buy the best Italian olive oil... of course, it’s EVOO!

If you want to buy the best Italian olive oil (extra virgin), you are in the right shop! Every month on Olive Oils Italy you will find our special selection of the best Italian olive oils. Discover the EVOOs that have won tests and prestigious international awards such as Slow Food, Gambero Rosso’s three leaves, BIOL and the Olive Oil Awards!

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How do you determine which EVO oil (extra virgin olive oil) is best?

The definition of the 'best oil' (meaning of course EVO oil) is partly subjective and partly objective.

Every consumer of EVO oil has the sacrosanct right to choose the extra virgin oil that is the best for them, based on it best satisfying their taste, or having the best price/quality ratio.

the photo shows the process of maturation and change of color of the olives, the so-called veraison of the olives

Another aspect to consider is its use at the table: a given EVO oil may be excellent for seasoning a fish soup, because its taste is very delicate, but unsuitable, for the same reason, to be used as a condiment for pasta, as a salad dressing or for finishing dishes. The criterion for evaluation could also be which is the best oil for frying food.

However, there are also objective parameters that help establish the quality of olive oil.

☝️ The evaluation of the best extra virgin oil is normally associated with taste and other criteria related to tasting, not health benefits

While European Regulation 2568/91 defines the minimum quality parameters that olive oil must meet to be classified as extra virgin olive oil, we can state that the best Italian extra virgin oils have the following characteristics:

  • The quality of the olives, the method and time of their harvesting
  • Processing in the mill
  • The taste of the best olive oils...
  • Low acidity (between 0.1% and 0.4%)
  • High concentration of polyphenols
  • Low concentration of Peroxides
☝️ European regulations stipulate that the maximum acidity of an oil to be defined as extra virgin must be less than 0.8 per cent. In our shop you will find all extra virgin oils with an acidity of even less than 0.4 per cent and many with a value of 0.2 per cent.

Why is acidity important?

Furthermore, as you will read in a moment, the olive oil tests in international competitions that determine which are the best extra virgin olive oils are based on two factors:

  • A chemical analysis
  • The judgement of a group of professional tasters

A question of olives

The quality of oil depends on the raw material: the olives. Italy, in case you did not know, is the country with the largest variety of olivesin the world.

For olive oil to be good, it is essential that the olives are harvested at the right time of their ripening (veraison), i.e. when the colour of the olive is 60/70% purple and the remaining 40/30% green.

Another very important step for the final quality of the extra virgin oil is the processing in the mill, which must take place at temperatures below 27°C.

How is an olive oil test carried out?

If you want to find out which is the best Italian olive oil and do an online search using Google, you are quite likely to come across one of the many rankings of the best extra virgin oils on the web.

Most offer an EVO oil rating score and include a link to the online shop where the olive oil can be purchased online.

But how is extra virgin olive oil tested to determine the best? There is not much clarity on this point. So let us consider how an olive oil test is carried out. 

The test to establish that an extra virgin oil has no sensory defects is done by a panel test - a group of eight to twelve professional tasters.

The final judgement, positive or negative, must come from the entire group of tasters.

The tasting parameters are codified by international and EU standards in order to make the organoleptic evaluation of oil as objective as possible.

The samples to be tasted are kept in the glasses at a temperature of around 28°C in order to better observe the organoleptic differences.

The tasting glass should be U-shaped, with a wide base and narrow mouthpiece to favour the concentration of aromas and facilitate their identification.

After an initial olfactory examination, during which one tries to perceive all the positive or negative odours, merits or defects, one moves on to the gustatory examination, placing in the mouth a quantity of oil equal to a small teaspoon

In oil tasting it is essential to learn how to recognise a good olive oil.

  1. The taste test is carried out in a very simple way:
  2. Swirl the oil around in the mouth so that it comes into contact with all the taste buds.
  3. The oil is sprayed into the oral cavity, without swallowing it, sucking air between the teeth to perceive the aromas and the tactile sensation of spiciness and bitterness.

All sensations that persist after tasting (the aftertaste) are assessed.

Discover how to taste EVO oil

☝️Very often the rankings of the best Italian extra virgin olive oils you find on the web are not the result of a test carried out by professional tasters! Moreover, in many cases these rankings only take into account olive oils with very low retail prices, generating in the reader the idea of a very advantageous relationship between the quality and price of EVO oil. 

Unfortunately, very often, in our opinion, exactly the opposite occurs: the cheapest EVO oil in the supermarket is not, qualitatively speaking, the best extra virgin oil.

What are the most important tests and awards for Italian olive oil?

The best Italian olive oils participate in the most important olive oil competitions. The best EVO oil is awarded on the basis of a professional tasting and is normally divided into categories. The best extra virgin oils are often awarded on the basis of their light, medium or intense fruity taste.

Thus there is one oil winner in the 'light fruity' category, one in the 'medium fruity' category and another for the 'intense fruity' category. Sometimes the best organic oil is also awarded. As you will find out as you read on, there is an international Italian competition that deals precisely with identifying the best organic evo oil.

Slow Food

Slow Food is an international non-profit association, present in 150 countries, whose main objectives are the improvement of the quality of everyday food and ecologically sustainable food production. Food according to Slow Food must be good, clean and fair

That is to say qualitatively good (good), environmentally sustainable (clean) and affordable (fair), both for those who buy it and for those who produce it.

To achieve this, it is necessary to protect agri-food production that shares Slow Food's objectives and to provide consumers with the best tools to consciously choose the products they consume.

Slow Food recognises the importance of extra virgin olive oil for health and has therefore created the National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Presidium.

This Presidium promotes the environmental, landscape, health and economic value of the production of Italian EVOO, drawing attention to the quality of the olive oils produced, through the Presidio's red snail symbol and the narrative label, with a detailed description of the process that makes the productions of the best Italian oil mills unique and unmistakable.

Among the many slow food presidia in Apulia, we would like to mention Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Muraglia

And in Lazio the Colli Etruschi cooperative with Io Bio

Gambero Rosso (Red Prawn)

Stefano Bonilli founded 'Al Gambero Rosso' in 1986, a now world-famous food and wine magazine that was born out of a passion for good food and wine. Of course, a ranking of the best cold-pressed Italian oils could not be overlooked.

Oli d'Italia 2022 by Gambero Rosso - guides you to the discovery of a very complex but fascinating world. Each oil is the fruit of different cultivars and a particular territory. Many nuances of scents and flavours are known and recognised to enhance every dish, for the pleasure of the palate and the benefits to one’s health.

The superior quality of the best extra virgin oil is expressed in leaves, from a minimum of one to a maximum of three.

Of note among the Best Oils of Apulia were Intini's Oro and Sabino Leone's Don Gioacchino EVOO Grand Cru PDO Terra di Bari

The name Gambero Rosso derives from the concept behind this publishing project dedicated to food and wine: to inform consumers and make them more aware of the quality and production aspects of food.

Thanks to its success, Gambero Rosso's publishing offer has expanded significantly in recent years, with the publication of new guides: Oli d'Italia, Pasticceri & Pasticcerie, Street Food, Pane & Panettieri, Gelaterie d'Italia.

☝️ When you buy an extra virgin olive oil in our shop, you will find the number of leaves it received from Gambero Rosso when it was tested.

Best Italian EVOO awarded three leaves by Gambero Rosso

Gambero Rosso magazine has awarded the three leaves, representing the highest score, to the best Italian extra virgin olive oils from three Italian regions: Lazio, Tuscany and Umbria. 

The agricultural company Colli Etruschi was founded in 1965 and produces high quality extra virgin olive oil near Blera (Viterbo). It is a cooperative with 380 members, covering a total of over 800 hectares of olive groves.

Colli Etruschi has a modern oil mill that produces a high quality EVOO thanks to the repeated and strict controls at every stage of production to which the members' olive groves are subjected.

The extra virgin olive oil PDO Tuscia Colli Etruschi is characterised by its emerald green colour with the golden hues typical of the 'Caninese' cultivar. 

The bouquet opens with a green fruitiness of medium intensity accompanied by fragrant vegetal notes of leaf and thistle.

The taste is powerful and strong with tones of bitterness and spiciness supported by hints of field grass and green almond.   

The 'Quattrociocchi Americo' organic farm boasts a long and prestigious tradition of oil production.

The history of this family-run farm began in the mid-19th century, in the heart of ancient Ciociaria in Alatri, land of the Cyclops, halfway between Rome and Naples.

Superbo Moraiolo Quattrociocchi extra virgin olive oil is a highly selected, 100% Italian extra virgin olive oil from olives of the Moraiolo variety grown exclusively on their own farm.

The bouquet is assertive and enveloping, with a green olive fruitiness of medium intensity, where hints of mown grass and olive leaf are accompanied by elegant vegetal notes of field thistle, artichoke and lettuce.

The taste is broad and complex, with hints of mint and basil, to which are added tones of chicory, lettuce and a distinct almond finish. There is a powerful bitterness and strong spiciness.

Among the best oils with the three leaves of Gambero Rosso in Tuscany, we also recommend Franci's Gran Cru

The extra virgin olive oil Gran Cru is the best production from the Villa Magra olive grove of Franci. It exhibits its complex structure with its very long aromatic persistence.

Fresh, penetratingly herbaceous and powerful with dominant notes of artichoke, thistle and unripe almond,it is enhanced by floral and black cherry nuances that create a bouquet of extreme complexity.

The taste is broad, with a powerful and decisive bitterness and spiciness dominated by excellent harmony, and great complexity of vegetal hints with a lasting persistence of soft aromatic notes.

In Umbria, Gambero Rosso awarded the Three Leaves to Azienda Viola's Colleruita EVO oil 

Viola's Colleruita PDO Umbria EVOO is produced from the Moraiolo, Frantoio and Leccino olive varieties from the hills of Roviglieto and Scandolaro. 

These are parsimonious plants in the shape and production of their fruit, with which the history of the people who guard them amongst the earth and stone is intertwined until the time of the harvest. Only careful selection of the fruit makes it possible to obtain this persistent aromatic green olive oil; the balance between bitter and spicy characterises this typical Umbrian oil.

It is a complex and decisive EVO oil, rich in vegetal notes of artichoke, almond and mown grass

The taste is elegant, bitter and spicy with tones of thistle, artichoke, black pepper and almond on the finish.

Gambero Rosso magazine, in addition to awarding the three leaves to the best Italian extra virgin olive oils, also decrees the best organic oil, and in the latest edition the Monocultivar Nocellara del Belice Bio from the Librandi Estates was awarded the highest accolade.

The Librandi Estate began in the late 1800s, in the pre-Silan Ionian hills in the province of Cosenza, in the north-east of Calabria.

Tenute Librandi's Nocellara del Belice Extra Virgin Olive Oil is an oil obtained from an exclusive selection of olives of the Nocellara del Belice variety. It is an intensely fruity EVO oil with intense, enveloping aromas and vegetal tones of aromatic herbs.

The nose is assertive and complex, with rich fruity notes of fresh grass.

The taste has strong but harmonious bitter and spicy notes, with vegetal tones of herbs.

Gambero Rosso, in addition to awarding the best Italian extra virgin olive oils, also gives prizes to producer companies every year, and in 2022 Frantoio Cutrera was awarded Best Oil Mill of the Year thanks to products such as Primo PDO Monti Iblei extra virgin olive oil 

Cutrera's extra virgin olive oil Primo PDO Monti Iblei is a monovarietal oil produced from the Tonda Iblea olive cultivar. It is the Cutrera company's flagship extra virgin oil: it has won 150 awards in just 13 years and is exported to 30 countries.

The taste is intensely fruity with pronounced notes of green tomato and fresh herbs.


BIOL is the competition that decrees the best organic olive oil in the world.

This competition started in 1996 in Andria on the initiative of the technical staff of the Olio & Qualità programme. 

It is undoubtedly the most important organic oil event, both in terms of the number of countries involved and the producers, consumers and oil experts taking part.

Every year, BIOL publishes a special guide describing the world's best organic extra virgin olive oils to aid in the discovery of  the differences between EVOOs of different origins. The best Italian and international organic olive oils are awarded the traditional medals.

These olive oils are selected and awarded by collecting samples from different geographical areas of the world. The samples are first chemically analysed and then tasted by qualified tasters.

The BIOL award gives a medal-like score to the best organic oil. The guide also mentions the cultivar, i.e. the variety of organic olives, as well as the sensory profile and intensity of fruitiness, bitterness and spiciness of the award-winning oil and a description of the oil producer. 

In the last edition, the award-winning products included:

☝️ When you buy an extra virgin olive oil in our shop you will find the medals it has won from BIOL, provided of course that it has been tested in this competition.

Flos Olei

The FLOS OLEI International Competition aims to enhance the quality of Italian extra virgin olive oil at an international level. This renowned competition makes a significant contribution to the promotion and proper marketing of EVO oil by rewarding the best Italian and international oils of each season.

The extra virgin oil test concludes with the awarding of a score expressed in hundredths. The maximum score is 100/100 and is awarded to the best EVO oil.

☝️ When you buy an extra virgin olive oil in our shop, you will always find the score it got from Flos Olei, which we consider one of the most important extra virgin oil competitions in the world.

Flos Olei promotes the role of the expert olive oil taster and knowledge of the health and nutritional effects of EVO oil in all gastronomic environments, such as restaurants, canteens, cooking schools and marketing areas. 

Der Feinschmecker

Der Feinschmecker, which means 'the gourmet', is a German monthly magazine published in Hamburg that deals with oil, fine cuisine, wine and other high-level culinary topics. Der Feinschmecker was first published in October 1975. Today, it is considered perhaps the most important German culinary magazine and is known all over the world.

The magazine includes the sections Food, Drink, Travel and Lifestyle in each issue. The magazine also publishes the annual Oil Award, an award for the best extra virgin olive oils from around the world.

Around 400 EVO oils were subjected to a rigorous test during the Oil Award 2022. Among the nine winners was the excellent extra virgin olive oil Superbo by Quattrociocchi, a monocultivar extra virgin olive oil, extracted from the Moraiolo olive variety, with a medium intense fruity flavour. 

☝️ This oil received the award for the best extra virgin olive oil in the world!

In third place in the best medium fruity EVO oils was the Villa Magra extra virgin oil from Frantoi Franci. In nineteenth place of the world's best 20 extra virgin oils was an Italian organic oil: Primo Bio by Frantoi Cutrera.

Olive Oil Awards

The mission of the EVO International Olive Oil Contest® is to enhance and popularise:

  • The extraordinary organoleptic qualities and nutritional benefits of EVO oil in the daily diet
  • The promotion of excellent olive oil from different countries around the world
☝️ For this reason, only producers who can guarantee the traceability and origin of their products are admitted to the Olive Oil Awards competition.

Here are the numbers from the last edition:

  • 26 countries represented
  • 23 judges
  • 736 EVO oils tested and tasted

Some of the best Italian olive oils which have won awards include Quattrociocchi's Superbo and Olearia San Giorgio's Ottobratico.

Il Magnifico (The Magnificent)

One of the most important EVOO competitions is undoubtedly Il Magnifico. As part of this important gastronomic event, held for 10 years in Monteriggioni, in the province of Siena, the best olive oil in Italy award is given for quality, excellence and potential.

The aim of the award, in addition to its cultural action and promotion of the qualities of extra virgin olive oil, is to highlight the best European EVO oils. 

Ercole Olivario (Hercules Olivary)

The Ercole Olivario Competition was established in 1993 with the objective of enhancing the value of extra virgin olive oil, a product that plays a very important role in the panorama of our country's agri-food production both economically and culturally.

In fact, olive cultivation is a characteristic element of the Italian landscape as well as a typical product par excellence.

The score is again awarded in hundredths. To enter the final phase and be recognised as the best olive oil extra virgin, an oil must obtain a minimum score of 75/100.

Prizes are awarded to the best oils in the following categories:

  • Light fruity extra virgin oil
  • Medium fruity extra virgin oil
  • Intense fruity extra virgin oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil PDO
  • Extra virgin olive oil PGI

Monocultivar extra virgin olive oil

Also worth a special mention is the Amphora Olearia prize, which is awarded to the best oil packages among those competing in the final round.

☝️ When you buy an extra virgin olive oil in our shop you will always find the classification it has received from Ercole Olivario, which we consider one of the most important extra virgin oil competitions in the world.

The competition also rewards the best light fruity, medium fruity and intense fruity EVO oil in the following categories:

  • extra virgin olive oil PDO
  • extra virgin olive oil PGI

Sol d’Oro (Golden Sun)

Sol d'Oro is an international olive oil competition held twice a year, like Flos Olei. In February, the best extra virgin olive oils from the Northern Hemisphere are given awards. In September, those produced in the Southern Hemisphere are judged.

The Northern Hemisphere includes the best extra virgin olive oils produced in the Mediterranean basin.

The Southern Hemisphere competition, on the other hand, is reserved for extra virgin olive oils produced in countries south of the Equator and is held on a rotating basis in the olive oil producing countries of the Southern Hemisphere.

The jury is composed of international tasters and five categories are awarded:

  • Extra virgin oil
  • Monocultivar Olive Oil
  • Organic olive oil
  • PDO oil
  • Absolute Beginners

The top three extra virgin olive oils with the best score in each category are awarded respectively with:

  • Golden Sun to the 1st prizewinner
  • Silver Sun to the 2nd place winner
  • Bronze Sun to the 3rd place winner

The best EVOO in magazines

If you search for the best olive oil using Google, you will retrieve among the results the websites of famous magazines, which aim to inform and support consumers in their purchasing choices; however, in the specific case of extra virgin olive oil, they mainly examine products found in large-scale distribution (hypermarkets and supermarkets) making a comparison on quality and price

☝️ Our opinion is that the best Italian extra virgin oils are bought in oil shops or specialised gastronomic shops: the best italian olive oils are almost never found in supermarkets.

The best Italian olive oils of 2022

Is there such a thing as the best extra virgin oil? Certainly, but the definition of best is still, at least in part, subjective. Proof of this is the fact that the results of important olive oil tests carried out by professional tasters are often not unanimous. Thus the oils awarded by Flos Olei are different from those selected by Gambero Rosso.

Here is the selection of the best extra virgin olive oils in 2022 made by our panel of professional tasters. Enjoy the tasting!

The best organic extra virgin olive oils of 2022

The best light fruity olive oil extra virgin of 2022

Light Fruity Extra Virgin Olive Oil is an oil with a sweet flavour and delicate aroma, with very slight hints of spiciness. It is excellent for use in simple dishes with a delicate or slightly intense flavour, such as fried fish, meat or fish snacks and white sauces such as mayonnaise. 

The best medium fruity EVOO of 2022

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Medium Fruity is a tasty, fragrant, harmonious oil, characterised by a good balance between bitter and spicy, with more pronounced and incisive tones than the light fruity EVO. It is ideal for dishes with balanced flavours, such as legume soups, grilled vegetables, fried lake fish, blue fish, legume creams and salads. 

The best intense fruity olive oil extra virgin of 2022

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Intense Fruity is a penetrating oil, characterised by pronounced aromas. The flavour is defined by pronounced bitter and spicy notes. "It 'tingles in the throat' as an extra virgin oil rich in antioxidants should.

The flavour is very strong but balanced, suitable for pairing with savoury foods. It is perfect for robustly structured dishes such as boiled beef or grilled red meat.