Today on the podcast, we are interviewing Aishwarya Iyer, the founder of Brightland. I have been a huge fan of this brand for a long time. It started with their olive oils but I love their vinegars too (and honey is coming soon!!!). Olive oil is something I was never particularly fussy about but Brightland changed that for me. I never thought I’d have a favorite olive oil, but here we are. Tune into the episode for more (she also drops quite a bit of great business and life advice), but I’m SO excited to share that she is giving us a promo code (she literally never does this!). Use code BADONPAPER0921 from 9/8 through end of September 2021 for 10% off anything on Brightland’s site! I highly recommend the mini essentials set… it’s the perfect introduction to the brand (it also makes a great gift!).
It’s been fun watching Brightland grow. I used to feel really different and special having it, but now it is everywhere! Earlier in the week I was over one of my guy friend’s houses and was so excited to see it in his kitchen (he’d been served an instagram ad for it). And if you follow me on Instagram, you have probably seen me gushing about it. Or at least drizzling it over ricotta toast or all of my favorite summer salads. It is the absolute best.
Review of Brightland Olive Oil
In all honesty, I didn’t really care about it at first. My friend Hitha reached out to me. She wanted to introduce me to her friend Aishwarya Iyer who’d founded the company. To use Hitha’s words, she liked Brightland’s olive oils so much that she invested in the company. (What a “goalsy” statement!!!) High quality olive oil. Cool? Aishwarya offered to send me a bottle and I said “sure” but felt pretty indifferent about it. What would make it any nicer than regular old olive oil from the grocery store? Why should I care? Buying olive oil was never something I put a lot of thought into.
Flash forward a couple months later: I’ve now bought 3 more bottles with my own money, bought 2 more bottles for my parents, and pretty much put it on EVERYTHING. It’s become my favorite little luxury. You can even drizzle it over ice cream!
Brightland Olive Oil is an extra virgin olive oil made in California. Brightland oils have a high polyphenol count, which makes them extra healthy. (If you didn’t know, a polyphenol is a compound with powerful antioxidant properties.) They’re loaded with good fats and anti-inflammatory properties. Great for making salad dressings, drizzling over protein or fish, pretty much anything! With a high polyphenol count at the time of harvest (756 mg/kg) it is loaded with antioxidants and powerful anti-inflammatory ingredients. Besides that, they just taste better than any other olive oils… if you need proof, check out these blind taste test results!
The bottle design is also pretty special. If you’re having a dinner party, it will look beautiful out on the table. Each varietal comes in comes in a 375 ML/12.7 fl oz glass bottle that has been UV-coated to protect the olive oil from damaging light. Another cool thing with regard to the bottle: each of the bottles feature limited edition labels created by designers and artists.
The five varietals I tried
Nothing like a little bit of taste testing!
Rosette Olive Oil – GARLIC
Rosette is Brightland’s newest olive oil and is probably my second favorite varietal. It’s bright and delicious and a little spicy! I love this one when I’m cooking fish… but it’s also great inside salad dressing or drizzled on pretty much everything (my favs: french fries and bread and labneh dip!). On the podcast, Aish mentioned putting this on garlic bread (with butter) and I absolutely need to do that.
Awake was my introduction to Brightland. This is what I recommend as a starting point. If I were new to Brightland, I’d recommend ordering this and one other oil. (My personal pick would be Lucid, but I am partial to lemon… they sell an Awake and Alive duo which is a best seller and one of my favorite gifts to give – the Alive Olive Oil is a best seller.). Awake is herbaceous and green. Brightland Awake is very tasty. Goes with everything and the perfect introduction to the brand. It will change your opinion on olive oil; a gateway drug, if you will! It’s great with soups and stews, fried eggs, pasta, bread, roasted veggies, and more.
Lucid Olive Oil – LEMON
Lucid is Brightland’s 100% Lemon Olive Oil. It’s made from Frantoio olives and is probably my favorite out of all of the oils, simply because I love all things lemon. I use this alone (no vinegar) with a bit of salt and pepper on my salad, I drizzle it over ricotta toast… there are endless ways to use it (and it comes with a recipe for both a martini and pancakes, which I plan to make!) It’s citrusy and smooth and positively DELICIOUS.
Arise Olive Oil – ARISE
Arise is a limited edition spring basil olive oil! Also, kinda cool: the bottle design is by fashion designer Peter Som! This one is made from basil and Frantoio olives. It’s smooth and herbaceous and you definitely get the basil notes. This one is ideal over your salads and veggies and is surprisingly delightful over berries or melon!
Ardor – CHILI
If you like spicy, this one is for you! Hitha raves and raves about it but I’m not really a spicy person so this is actually my least favorite. But I LOVE drizzling it over dip for just a little kick (it’s amazing with labne or yogurt dips). This one is made with several different peppers (chili, jalapeno, chipotle) and paprika and Frantoio olives. It’s smokey and fiery and a limited edition so if you love spicy, scoop this up before it’s gone!
How is Brightland Olive Oil Different?
Brightland is a California olive oil which is actually pretty rare for olive oil! It’s (except when noted above) made with Cortina olives and packaged in a thick, white-coated glass to keep it going bad. Each bottle is labeled with the month and year of harvest. Most producers don’t label their olive oils with the date of harvest, so there’s no way to tell how old the olive oil was when it was bottled. The truth is that olive oil can go rancid.
Aishwarya worked in finance and then cosmetics marketing and moved from New York City to LA hoping for a healthier lifestyle. But as she and her husband started to get more into cooking they found themselves getting sick and with research and elimination, realized the culprit was actually their olive oil. After doing quite a bit of research they realized how bad a lot of olive oil can be, which Aishwarya to starting Brightland.
Brightland was created with the intent of better, honest food production with a focus on high quality ingredients. Their olive oils are never rotten or overprocessed and never contain fillers or artificial preservatives. The harvest date is always noted so that you don’t wind up buying olive oil that’s rancid or about to go bad.
Cooking With Brightland Olive Oil
With a smoke point of 410 degrees, there’s no need to shy away from cooking with Brightland! I personally cook with it sparingly as it IS more expensive, but you can absolutely cook with it if you choose to.
Those gold spouts!
Brightland also sells them here, for $9 a spout, so you can purchase easily when buying olive oil. I bought mine on Amazon for a little less (two for $14) but they keep selling out. Wayfair also sells them!
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photo by Allie Provost.