We tried the beautiful bottles of olive oil you've been seeing everywhere - here's why we recommend Brightland to everyone who loves to cook

brightland olive oilBrightland

  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), the flavorful and healthy oil used in kitchens everywhere, gets the direct-to-consumer treatment at Brightland.
  • The founder created these high-quality, California-made olive oils (from $37) after learning that much of the olive oil we consume is actually rancid or adulterated.
  • They're high in polyphenols, which are antioxidant-rich and linked to various health benefits, and they taste full-bodied and sharp. We love using Brightland olive oil for everything from frying eggs to drizzling over ice cream.

Extra virgin olive oil is the liquid gold of the food world. A quick drizzle of this rich and healthy oil over a slice of crusty bread or bowl of ice cream? *Chef's kiss.*

It seems pretty easy to pick up some olive oil at your local grocery store, but as Brightland founder Aishwarya Iyer learned recently, not every bottle of EVOO is created equal. The industry is rife with rancid or adulterated olive oil - meaning it's blended with cheap, lower-grade oils, and most of us don't even realize it.

She created Brightland, a direct-to-consumer olive oil company, to give home cooks the honest, high-quality olive oil they deserve. Though it only launched in 2018, it's already seeing huge success as a must-own food product that tastes as elevated as it looks.

brightland olive oil 2Brightland

How Brightland's olive oil is different

Brightland olive oil is made in California with hand-picked, organic heirloom olives. They're harvested early in the process, giving them a slightly bitter, grassy taste, and milled in a certified organic mill.

Extra virgin olive oil contains polyphenols, which are high in antioxidants and linked to health benefits like lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Brightland's contain more polyphenols than the average EVOO (307-381 milligrams per kilogram, compared to 100-250 mg/kg). As a result, it's healthy and also tastes extra sharp and peppery in the back of your throat.

Brightland olive oil comes in UV-powder coated glass bottles that protect the contents from light damage. The all-white bottle, adorned with sleek and simple labeling, immediately differentiates it from the tall ocher and green bottles you'd normally hide away in your kitchen cabinet.

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Cooking with Brightland olive oil

The brand's two flagship products are the Awake ($37) and the Alive ($37). The Awake, with its herbaceous and grassy taste, is meant for hearty entrees and sides like pasta, bread, chicken, roasted vegetables, and fried eggs. Meanwhile, the Alive is smoother and nuttier, best enjoyed in salad dressings, baked goods, and desserts. Here are our thoughts on each.

The Awake: Here are the only supplies you'll need for a perfect breakfast: Brightland's Awake olive oil, two large eggs, Made In's nonstick pan, and a spatula from Material Kitchen or Potluck. With the exception of the eggs, it's a D2C dream-kitchen set-up. Since olive oil has a higher smoke point than butter (Brightland's is 410°F), the eggs get super crispy and turn a beautiful golden-brown. It's my favorite way to enjoy eggs now that I have Awake on hand. The olive oil also brings out the flavors of proteins like a simply spiced steak, and it's easier to attain a crisp exterior and soft interior for my roasted carrots and potatoes.

The olive oil makes every dish and meal feel like a treat. So, too, does the price, which is more than I'm ordinarily willing to pay for, but it does make Brightland a great treat-yourself, housewarming, or hostess gift. -Connie Chen, reporter

The Alive: Ina Garten, my personal goddess, taught me about the merits of using "good" olive oil for dressings and drizzles. For any and all uncooked or room temperature dishes that require a gentle coating of olive oil, I prefer a bright, crisp, just-shy-of-bitter flavor with a peppery finish, and that's just what The Alive gave me.

I used it most recently to dress a salad of thinly sliced celery, chopped dried apricots, warm, toasted pecans, and crunchy Maldon salt, and splashed on a bit of white wine vinegar at the end for some acid. The oil coated everything so nicely and made a salad that had really just been a way to use up bits and pieces from the fridge and pantry feel like something truly special. -Sally Kaplan, editor

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You can buy Awake and Alive separately, or together as The Duo for $74. Three-quarters of Brightland's customers go for The Duo to try out both varieties. If you love the olive oil and want to save money, you can also subscribe to a delivery ($65) every one, two, or three months. Twenty percent of customers choose the subscription option, which includes an exclusive Text Concierge service where they can receive recipe advice and dinner party inspiration.

Be on the lookout for limited-edition olive oils, too. Right now, Brightland's Ardor ($40), a bold and spicy olive oil blended with a variety of peppers, is the ingredient of the summer.

Clearly, Brightland is a beautifully packaged olive oil. It's also a healthier, carefully made one that you'll taste the difference in and want to use for all types of appetizers, entrees, and desserts.

Shop artisanal olive oil, from $37, at Brightland

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Picks team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at insiderpicks@businessinsider.com.

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