In trying to recreate some of my favorite dishes from childhood, I have found that they just don't have the same flavor if I do not use Portuguese Olive Oil. Is the distinctive taste due to the type of olive used, or is it due to the process that is used to extract the olive oil?
The main determinant of olive oil flavor is the variety used and the ripeness of the olive when picked. The milling method is not as big a factor in flavor. See the top 10 factors determining olive flavor
Most olive growing regions have their own unique olive varieties and their own tradition for time of picking. This is why olive oil afficionados have a shelf of different oils to recreated different regional dishes.
A good specialty food store should have a Portugeuse oil. If you could find out what variety is common in your home town you could see if a US producer has that orchard variety or makes an oil using that olive variety.
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