If you click on the #brightlandoliveoil hashtag on Instagram, you’ll be treated to image after image of Brightland’s gorgeously designed bottles posed with lots of delicious, healthy-looking meals. It’s hard not to get hungry just looking at the oil drizzled over cheese and tossed into salads and pasta.
The direct-to-consumer California-based brand sources its heirloom olives from family-run farms in California, and the olives are harvested early, giving them a different flavor than many extra-virgin olive oils. The olives are then pressed into olive oil without the addition of artificial preservatives or fillers, and Brightland calls the oils “straight from the earth.”
I tried out Brightland’s new garlic-flavored olive oil, called Rosette, as well as its flagship Alive and Awake blends. Alive is a smoother blend, according to the brand, and is meant to be enjoyed in salad dressings, baked goods and desserts, while Awake is a heavier blend meant for heartier fare like pasta, chicken, roasting veggies and sautes.
I’m a cooking enthusiast, and one of my favorite things about the Brightland oils is their 410-degree Fahrenheit smoke point, which is printed clearly on the bottle and lets you know how hot you can bring the oil up before it burns.
But beyond the beautiful and helpful packaging, you’re probably wondering how Brightland’s olive oils taste.
First, I opened the Rosette and gave it a sniff. You can definitely smell the garlic infusion, and a quick taste gave me a smooth garlic flavor blended with a nicely rounded olive oil. Naturally, I decided to use it to make the famous TikTok feta pasta recipe that’s been all over the internet lately. I tossed the oil in a baking dish with tomatoes, sweet peppers and feta cheese, and popped it in the oven.
This was where I discovered the thing I don’t like about the bottles the oils come in. The pour isn’t great. It comes out fast, and almost every time I used it there was a drizzle down the side of the bottle. Fortunately, it’s a problem that can be easily solved with a bottle pour spout ($7.90 for a two-pack; amazon.com), which I already had on hand. Brightland also sells a gold spout for $9.
The dish came out great, and the Rosette oil added a nice depth to the TikTok-famous dish. I didn’t get too much garlic flavor out of the oil when I cooked with it, but later I drizzled it — and the Awake and Alive oils — over ricotta cheese on toast and got clear notes of garlic. My husband found it a little less garlicky than I did, but enjoyed the nutty flavor. The Alive works better as a finishing touch than the Awake, which is more suited to cooking.
Next up, I tried the Alive to make a simple tabbouleh salad of bulgur wheat with cucumber and tomato, and it was the perfect complement to the fresh salad. I usually use a high-end Italian olive oil for finishing salads, and Brightland’s Alive was a nice change with a bright, crisp flavor that brought out the best in the veggies and blended well with the feta cheese I topped my salad with.
Lastly, I baked some chicken breast with a marinade using the Awake and some salt and pepper. Normally I use a basic olive oil from Trader Joe’s when I’m meal prepping, but I swapped out for the Awake, and it made a huge difference in the moisture and flavor. Because of the higher smoke point, I was able to get a nice crispness to the chicken, and Awake imparted a rich, nutty flavor.
I’ll be keeping all three bottles in rotation in my kitchen, and will definitely consider making them part of my cooking routine. I will probably stick with a more inexpensive bottle for cooking weeknight meals, but Brightland is great for special meals, and a fantastic gift for your favorite foodie.
You can buy Awake and Alive separately, or together as The Duo for $74. If you want to save money, you can also subscribe to a delivery ($65) every one, two or three months to make sure you always have the beautiful-looking and -tasting bottles on hand.