The link below contains an excellent article about a new UC Davis olive oil consumer study. Essentially the study showed that consumers do not prefer the oil that olive oil experts rate as the highest quality. The main challenge for consumers is acquiring the taste for the bitter and pungent qualities of real extra virgin olive oil. Acquiring this taste is similar to acquiring the taste for the strong and bitter flavors found in coffee and beer. However, when the consumers learned that the strong flavors found in real extra virgin olive oil is evidence of a high concentration of antioxidants they began to be more receptive.
The consumers often actually preferred rancid oil which tastes flat and greasy and has no spark of pungency and therefore almost no antioxidants. The reason for this preference is the US market is being flooded with rancid oil that is still labeled as extra virgin.
Most of the world’s great foods require a little education to appreciate. Drizzling real extra virgin olive oil over food that has been cooked, like a condiment or sauce, uses the pungency as an enhancement to food like pepper. Learning the old world traditions of great food not only improves our enjoyment of food but it also improves our health.