FAQ for Food Industry Professionals

Straight answers to common questions from the editors of Olive Oil Times. .


Where can I find a distributor of quality olive oils?

Any company in the business of importing and distributing extra virgin olive oils should have someone on staff who can explain the taste and quality characteristics of their products. Northern Hemisphere olive oils are harvested in the late fall and are normally in stock beginning in January and February. At the same time, last year’s oils are half-way through their 2-year shelf-life and, while they might still be perfectly fine, the distributor will be happy to see them go — so see about a discount. Check out the Best Olive Oils Marketplace to buy winners of the New York International Olive Oil Competition.

How can I be sure about the quality of olive oil I’m serving to guests?

Take the time to learn about olive oil grades and qualities. Learn to recognize rancidity. Ask questions when making buying decisions. Make sure your olive oil is not more than two years old, and taste-test it straight before cooking and serving it to customers. Several organizations offer quality certifications and quality testing. Check out the Best Olive Oils Marketplace to buy winners of the New York International Olive Oil Competition.

What courses are available to learn more?

The Olive Oil Times Education Lab, in collaboration with the International Culinary Center, presents the Certification Course for Olive Oil Sommeliers.

Learn More


How do you pair extra virgin olive oils with different dishes?

The New York International Olive Oil Competition, the world’s largest and most prestigious event of its kind, has developed a food pairing app to identify the best match for your culinary creation among this year’s award-winning oils.

The tool is free to use on bestoliveoils.com, the website that serves as the official yearly index of the NYIOOC results.

What’s the best way to present olive oil?

Refrain from using plain glass bottles. Consumers want to know where the olive oil came from and they’re curious about the different qualities. They know olive oil is healthy and more expensive than other oils you could use, so why hide its identity? An excellent extra virgin olive oil adds real value to your dishes and elevates your establishment above others. And don’t forget nice warm bread and a bowl for dipping.

What’s the best way to sell olive oil?

First and foremost, let your customers try different olive oils before making a buying decision. The most successful retailers of extra virgin olive oil are the ones who present an environment where people can taste and discover. Make sure labels include clear harvest or best before dates. Learn about olive varieties and be prepared to teach customers how to use olive oil and recommend food pairings. For a primer on olive oil, see this article.

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