Whole Foods sells a number of extra-virgin olive oils under its 365 brand, including this Everyday Value Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which, according to the company's website, comes from a blend of olives from Mediterranean countries. Reviews say that Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a great value for the money, but as far as flavor is concerned, premium olive oils typically taste better. Most reviewers agree that Whole Foods 365 is exactly what it claims to be -- a good workhorse olive oil for all-around, everyday use. It's neutral (and inexpensive) enough for cooking, yet flavorful enough for dipping.
Most reviewers use the low-tech, but highly effective, method of testing by slurping with a spoon or dunking with a piece of good bread. With olive oil it's all about the flavor, and even the most inexpensive budget oils, such as Whole Foods, are assessed for their level of olive-y taste. To balance the fact that taste buds don't conform to scientific objectivity, most review panels employ a number of experts -- some even trained according to International Olive Oil Council standards -- to remind us what a good olive oil should taste like.
Whole Foods consistently performs well in these tests, meriting praise for its flavor and affordability. In its comprehensive taste test of a dozen olive oils, Good Housekeeping names Whole Foods 365 one of their top three olive oils due to its "intensely robust olive taste." Also convincing are the comments posted by foodies on Chowhound.com. Their enthusiasm is expressed in well-reasoned, informative posts detailing the high-quality flavor and everyday cooking uses of this popular, budget-priced olive oil.
Many review sites mention Whole Foods 365 along with another popular budget brand, Trader Joe's Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil (*Est. $6 for 33.8 oz.). While the latter also comes in for some high praise and is comparable in price, it's only available at Trader Joe's retailers (and not online), making it much harder to find than the Whole Foods brand, and, for many people, almost impossible to get hold of unless they or someone they know lives near a Trader Joe's.
1. Good Housekeeping
Good Housekeeping conducts a blind taste test with nine tasters sampling 12 oils. They recommend three, including Whole Foods 365, noting its "intensely robust olive taste" and praising it for its low price. Whole Foods 365, they add, is "almost astringently peppery," and they recommend it for foods that can "stand up to its bite."
Review: Taste Test: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, The Good Housekeeping Research Institute, March 2007
ConsumerReports.org rates 18 olive oils, including Whole Foods 365 olive oil. In a taste test designed to answer the question, can a cheaper olive oil hold its own against the expensive premium brands? The no-nonsense answer may surprise some food connoisseurs.
Review: Olive Oil Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Sept. 2004
Food writer Stephanie Zonis slurps her way through 90 olive oils and provides a well-written assessment of each one. She characterizes Whole Foods 365 as a workhorse oil, acceptable but not a stand-out in flavor, although she says it does have a mild peppery aftertaste.
Review: The Great Extra Virgin Olive Oil Project, Part II, Stephanie Zonis, Nov. 2005
The posters to this foodie message board don't hesitate to give their opinions, many of which show a high level of culinary expertise. Whole Foods 365 gets a large number of enthusiastic recommendations on this thread, with posters praising its flavor, usability in cooking and low cost.
Review: Inexpensive, But Good, Olive Oil?, Contributors to Chowhound.com