Calivirgin Olive Oil
Calivirgin Olive Oil: Fine oil in a handsome gift bottle. Photo courtesy




Oil & Vinegar
Category Main Page
Articles & Reviews



Main Nibbles
Main Page
Articles & Reviews Of Foods From A To Z



Product Reviews

Main Page
Foods, Beverage, Books
News & More






STEPHANIE ZONIS is a contributing editor.



December 2012

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Oil & Vinegar

Calivirgin Olive Oil

Buddha’s Hand Olive Oil Is A Foodie Delight


Check out all of the very special gourmet food gifts in this series.


Calivirgin isn’t the latest in risqué websites: It’s the website of Coldani Olive Ranch, a farming operation set in the central valley of California.

As you’ve already guessed, Calivirgin offers extra virgin olive oil, along with balsamic vinegars, accessories, and some body care products (olive oil is very good for the skin). And then there are the flavored olive oils.

You have to be careful about flavored olive oils, because they can be done on the cheap by adding fruit extracts or “natural flavoring” to the oil. But Calivirgin does theirs the right way, meaning that the flavoring agents (real jalapeño chiles or garlic cloves, for instance) are crushed with the olives.

But everyone offers olive oil these days. Why this olive oil?

Calivirgin offers oil derived exclusively from their own groves, a claim few other American olive oil companies can make. If you’re a culinary control freak, you’ll understand that that’s a huge plus, because it means that they can make the decisions necessary so that they grow great olives. And great oil can only come from great olives.

  • Further, no pesticides are used in growing the olives. The olive oil, though not certified organic, is produced using organic and sustainable methods.
  • The olives are harvested mechanically, which means there’s no contact with soil, human hands or other possible contaminants.
  • This oil is California Olive Oil Commission (COOC) certified—an important consideration when the only US standards for extra virgin olive oil are voluntary and less strict than the COOC standards. Four of Calivirgin’s flavored olive oils won gold medals at the 2012 COOC grand judging, while one was awarded a silver medal.

I’ll confess I haven’t tried most of Calivirgin’s products, but I plead sensory fatigue; I ran into Calivirgin at a big food trade show. What I have tasted, and what you absolutely must try, is their Buddha’s Hand Olive Oil.

If you’re not familiar with Buddha’s Hand, it’s an especially aromatic variety of citron that somewhat resembles a brilliant-yellow hand with long fingers (check out the different types of lemons in our Lemon Glossary). Some believe this fingered citron bestows good fortune on a household—a reason to consider it as a gift.

The resulting olive oil is a beautiful blend of flavors. Of course, this oil is a natural in a vinaigrette, but why stop there?

  • Use it with fish or chicken or lamb.
  • Toss it with hot pasta and add some freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and cracked pepper.

Buddha's Hand

Buddha’s hand, a fingered citron. Photo by Evan Dempsey | THE NIBBLE.

Check out the website for more recipes; I like the sound of their Sweet Pea Mocka-mole (this recipe is under their Lemon Olive Oil Recipes tab, but they note that the Buddha’s Hand Olive Oil is excellent for it).

Learn more about olive oil in our Olive & Olive Oil Glossary.


Buddha’s Hand Flavored Olive Oil

  • 8.45-Ounce Bottle
  • A nice variety of other flavored and plain olive oils is also available

Buy online at

Prices are verified at publication but are subject to change. Shipping is additional.

Calivirgin Buddha's Hand Olive Oil
A gift or stocking stuffer for the foodie. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.