A Summary of the Best Israeli Olive Oil
Olive oil production in Israel dates back thousands of years but the modern production of Israeli olive oil is relatively recent. The Israeli olive oil industry has exploded over the last ten years and there are now so many wonderful boutique olive oils to choose from. The best way to get to know Israeli olive oil is to visit the olive oil mills and producers around the country. I only use olive oil and coconut oil for cooking and baking. I recently stopped buying olive oil from the supermarket when I found out that a lot of the cheaper olive oil in Israel is very low-quality oil that does not sell in the European market. Buying premium Israeli olive oils directly from olive oil farms is more economical but also provides an opportunity to meet the olive oil producers and try their olive oil in person.
Here is my list of the top ten Israeli Olive Oil:
- Rish Lakish, Tzippori, Galil
A family-run olive press using olives that are hand-picked around the ancient village of Tzippori. Rish Lakish olive oil is organic, extra virgin, cold pressed, kosher, and currently my favorite Israeli olive oil. The olive mill and tasting room are housed in a sustainable building and the environmentally friendly farm has an organic vegetable garden. I particularly love the rosemary-infused and lime-infused olive oil, as well as the home-cured olives. The Coratina olive oil won the 2023 Extra Gold Biol award for the best organic extra virgin olive oil in Israel.
Family member Ayala Noy Meir is a professional olive oil taster, and head panel of the International Olive Oil Council. She wrote an interesting Brief History of Olives and Olive Oil in Israel. I have had tastings at several olive mills in Israel and the tasting at Rish Lakish with Ayala was the most interesting and educational.
I recommend visiting nearby Tzipori National Park (Zippori, Saffuriya, Sepphoris) which is believed to be the birthplace of Mary, the mother of Jesus, the seat of the Sanhedrin, and the place where the Mishna was completed.
- Masik, Kibbutz Magal, Coastal Plain
This is probably the most readily available boutique olive oil brand in Israel as it is sold in delicatessens and health food stores nationwide. Masik olive oil is single estate, extra-virgin cold pressed olive oil, made from olives grown on Kibbutz Magal. They produce Leccino, Arbequina, Picual, Koroneiki, Askal, and Coratina varieties. I usually prefer the Askal which is peppery and strong, without being bitter. They also make a great organic blend and a house blend.
There is a great visitor center to learn how olive oil is made and taste the different varieties of olive oil and the amazing fresh almonds.
- Sindyanna of Galilee, Kafr Kanna, Galil
As well as producing wonderful olive oil, Sindyanna is an inspiring nonprofit organization. The olive oil and other products are made by a collective of local Arab women and the organization also trains local women in hydroponic agriculture. The Hopeful Organic Barnea and Peaceful Organic Oils have won the Biol award for the world’s best organic extra virgin olive oil.
Visitors can learn about the organization, and taste and buy olive oil, za’atar, honey, and delicious carob syrup. The visitor’s center offers basket weaving, cookery, and zaatar-making workshops, and is located in Kafr Kanna, where it is believed Jesus turned water into wine, and the location of the Franciscan Wedding Church.
- Eretz Gshur, Kibbutz Gshur, Golan
This is a modern olive oil factory located on Kibbutz Gshur in the Southern Golan. Tours of Eretz Gshur must be booked in advance but there is a large shop and visitors can taste and buy olive oil during work hours. If you visit during the harvest season, you can see the olive oil production in person as the visitor’s center is located inside the mill.
- Galili, Beit Lehem Haglilit, Galil
Galili is a family-run olive press on a small farm in Moshav Beit Lehem Haglilit (Bethlehem of Galilee), using an ecological system from Tuscany that makes olive oil without water. This process reduces the environmentally damaging waste produced by traditional olive oil mills and increases the nutritional benefits of the oil. The olives are picked from a 20-year-old organic olive grove on the edge of a nearby ancient oak forest.
The visitors center includes a video to learn about the olive oil-making process, and the opportunity to try the olive oil and other local products.
I recommend visiting Derech Hatavlinim in Bet Lechem Hagalilit which is an amazing spice warehouse with over a thousand types of herbs, spices, and dried fruits, and tours of the herb fields.
- Meshek Hilman, Moshav Nov, Golan
This is one of the simplest olive oil producers I have visited but that is not a reflection on the quality of the olive oil. With advanced notice, visitors can taste and buy olive oil, honey, and soap from Meshek Hilman on Moshav Nov in the Southern Golan. It is the same Moshav as Gillis meat restaurant so it is convenient to visit on your way to a meat feast.
- Lavi, Hoshaya, Galil
Lavi is a family-run olive oil producer in Hoshaya in the Galil. The olive trees are located in the nearby valley and the olive oil won a Silver Medal at the EVO international olive oil contest in Italy in 2023. The Lavi family also owns and runs the Al Havadi Coffee Cart which is open every Friday and once a month on Thursday.
- Ptora, Negev
Ptora in Moshav Sde Moshe in the Negev is a sustainable extra virgin olive oil business run by the Tamir family, that also produces wine, honey, spreads, jams, olives, and tahina. Ptora’s flagship oil is made from Nabali olives which is an olive variety that has not undergone any genetic modification and produces a deep rich tasting oil. The oil is the Winner of a Gold Award at the World Olive Oil Competition.
Ido Tamir is certified as an official taster by the International Olive Council. Ptora does not have a visitors center but sells packages of their products all over Israel.
- Olea Essence, Golan
This olive oil farm in Katzrin in the Golan produces natural, ecological, and organic olive oil. The farm also makes olive-based skincare that is eco-responsible, fully natural and ensures that the olive residue is not left to harm the environment.
Along with pure olive oil, Olea Essence produces basil, garlic, and lemon olive oil, wildflower honey, silan, and za’atar.
- Bad VeShemen Jerusalem Olive Oil (BVS), Coastal Plain
BVS is a family-run eco-friendly olive mill on Moshav Beit Hanan near Ness Ziona. The oil is produced using a cold press method, using Coratina, Picholine, and Barnea olives. Bad VeShemen also has a selection of seasoned olive oils, including lemon, basil, chipotle, za’atar, and kumquat.
Other Israeli Olive Oil
- Avtalion is an olive oil mill in the Lower Galil.
- Carmey Golan (Badatz Ruben) on Moshav Nov in the Southern Golan produces olive oil, spreads, almonds, and olives.
- Ets Hasade is a large olive oil farm in Binyamina Giv’at Ada, near Caesaria. The Koroneiki oil won a Gold Medal at EVO 2023.
- Levant is a fourth-generation olive oil farm that was established in 1932. The farm produces a selection of olive oil blends. All products are certified as vegan and mehadrin.
- Meshek Achiya in Shilo is a large olive oil company, that produces a selection of olive oil, olives, wine, dips, jam, tahina, halva, honey, and spices.
- Neot Smadar is a Negev-based farm that includes a winery, olive oil press, as well as healthy juices, dates, and organic snacks.
- Terra Nova is an olive oil made by Terra Nova Winery on Moshav Kanaf in the Southern Golan.
- Tura is an olive oil made by Tura Winery Estate in Rechelim in the Shomron.
I would love to hear your feedback about the Israeli olive oils you like and the olive farms you have visited. Please comment below or share a review in the Facebook group Restaurant Club Israel.
Categories: Top 10