Home to roughly nine million people from at least 159 countries, London is widely touted as the world’s second most international city (after New York).
For foodies, one of the perks of living in such a large and multicultural place is the ability to find just about any type of fare one could imagine.
The results of the 2021 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition revealed this year’s best extra virgin olive oils, and, fortunately for Londoners, there are plenty of places to find award-winning Liquid Gold.
The Official Guide to the World’s Best Olive Oils features a retail finder to locate top-rated brands in retail outlets around the world.
In London, top-rated olive oils turn up just about everywhere, from small specialty food shops to some of the world’s most glamorous department stores.
Here are just some of the shops in the Square Mile that sell the brands that earned a distinction at the world’s most prestigious olive oil quality contest.
Located in the busy and multicultural west-central neighborhood of Shepherd’s Bush, The Oil Merchant is a one-stop shop for finding some of the world’s best olive oils.
Founded in the mid-1980s by Charles Carey, the Oil Merchant started as little more than Carey selling olive oils out of his van, according to their website.
During the harvest season, the Cornwall native would travel throughout Tuscany purchasing olive oils and bringing them back to London to sell.
Eventually, his venture grew, and Carey hired more van drivers and started to import a wider variety of olive and nut oils from Italy and beyond. The store currently stocks six different NYIOOC-winning producers from Israel, Italy and Spain.
Among the selection of 25 extra virgin olive oils featured by the Oil Merchant include two awarded brands from Marqués de Valdueza and one each from Badia a Coltibuono, one of Carey’s original suppliers, Laudemio, Ravidà and Societa Agricola Sergio Delle Monache.
Named after southern Spain’s Sea of Olives, Mar de Olivos is a company that sells online and runs a small delicatessen named Olives & More in the village-like neighborhood of Dulwich in southeast London.
The family behind Olives & More imports the best olives, extra virgin olive oils and tapenades from their homeland, Andalusia. Their journey into the world of olive oil started in 2013, after the family matriarch, Mar, was diagnosed with a health condition for which extra virgin olive oil consumption alleviated the symptoms.
Mar and her family now concentrate their efforts on educating consumers about the many health benefits of olive oil and also helps clients – from individual buyers to professional chefs and distributors – find the right olive oils for their specific needs.
While London’s department stores are mostly known for their high couture, expensive jewelery and decadent afternoon teas, they are also a solid bet for high-quality and artisanal products of all kinds.
Sprawling over two hectares in central London, Harrods is one of Europe’s largest and most famous department stores and is no exception.
Home to about 330 different shops, the 172-year-old London icon is well known for its Seasonal Christmas display, lavish architecture and, of course, its Food Halls.
Featuring more than 1,420 separate products, Harrods does not lack much in terms of choice. The massive department store offers more than 40 oils and vinegars, including various truffle oils, peperoncino oil, hazelnut oil and 11 different extra virgin olive oils.
While most specialty stores are limited to one small show and mostly frequented by neighborhood inhabitants, others grow into something much bigger.
For more than 25 years, the owners of Delicías UK have lived by the motto “where food, style and passion meet.”
Starting from one store that specialized in importing a wide range of Portuguese goods, they have expanded to three London locations and one shop in Suffolk. Along with Portuguese goods, the team behind Delícias imports goods from Spain and Brazil too.
Among the numerous offerings are, of course, a selection of 27 Spanish and Portuguese extra virgin olive oils. Among these include two offerings from NYIOOC-winning Gallo Worldwide, one from Sovena’s Oliveira da Serra brand and one from Casa de Santo Amaro.
Olive oil has a tendency to turn up in some unusual places. For example, one London electrical shop is well-known for its Cypriot extra virgin olive oil.
However, the green gold also features on a corner shelf in The Fine Cheese Co. of Belgravia. Most well-known for its extensive collection of cheeses and crackers – a famous British snack dating back more than 200 years – The Fine Cheese Co. sells various infused olive oils and Gradassi Lo Storico, which earned a Silver Award at the 2021 NYIOOC.
While the store is a veritable library of cheeses, with more than 100 different types, adding award-winning extra virgin olive oil as an accompaniment may well become the next great British culinary tradition.
Part of the allure for so many people living in London is the rich cultural diversity that abounds throughout the city. Nowhere is this exemplified better than by the myriad specialty stores and delicatessens.
Usually run by families seeking to bring the best of their old homes to their new ones, extra virgin olive oil is a common ingredient on their tightly packed and colorful shelves.
Among the numerous shops boasting a selection of award-winning extra virgin olive oils are bakers, greengrocers and wine merchants.
For those planning to take their taste buds on a trip around the world at Camden Markets, popping up to the Phoenicia Mediterranean Food Hall is also well worth it. On shelves full of exotic offerings, shoppers will find Hizirlar Medikal Gida’s Zeytin Reserve.
However, Camden Market is not the only outdoor shopping locale and eatery near some of the world’s best olive oils.
Just south of London Bridge, the Taste Croatia Deli sits on the outer edge of Borough Market. The family-run shop serves as an ambassador for the country and purveys some of its best award-winning extra virgin olive oils, including Ex Albis from OPG Chiavalon.
Continuing south, there are still plenty of opportunities to find NYIOOC award-winning olive oils in south London. Near the trendy Brixton neighborhood, Sweet Portugal offers a range of exceptional products. Chief among these is Gallo Worldwide’s Reserva brand of extra virgin olive oil.