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Oil guide

Curiosity, data and information on extra virgin olive oil

The Extra Virgin Olive Oil is good, healthy, suitable for even very young children, easy to digest and rich in nutritional properties that slightly vary depending on the type of fruit used, its stage of maturity and production techniques.

Obviously, this is true only if the oil is olive oil if it is extra virgin and if it is produced according to the parameters set by the European regulations (EEC Regulation no. 2568/91 and subsequent amendments).

Let’s see some of the most common questions.

What is the Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

  • To be defined extra virgin, the olive oil, according to European standards, must comply with the following characteristics:
  • To be obtained directly from the pressing of the fruit of the olive
  • Pressing must be exclusively mechanical (pressure, centrifugation and natural cold dripping)
  • The extraction temperature should be “cold,” that is to say to remain below 27 ° C so as not to cause deterioration of the oil already present in olives
  • The olives must not have undergone other treatments a part from washing with water and defoliation.
  • Its taste evaluation must be equal to or greater than 7 to 9 (which corresponds to “no taste defect and fruity characteristics of olive and other fresh fruits”)
  • Its acidity must be within 0.8%

What is the difference between extra virgin olive oil and olive oil?

The Extra Virgin Olive Oil is obtained exclusively by the simple pressing of the olives, a mechanical process, and with a maximum acidity, expressed in oleic acid, of 0.8 grammes per 100 grammes. The olive oil is instead the result of a chemical processing and derives from a mixture of refined and virgin olive oil.

What determines the quality of an Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

The quality of an extra virgin olive oil depends both on natural factors and production techniques.

Among the natural components, there are the variety of olives, the area of ​​production, the climatic conditions and the soil composition. These aspects affect mainly the taste and smell of the oil.

Among the most “technical” characteristics there is the state of health of the plant and of the fruit; the degree of ripeness of the olives; the picking techniques and times and places of the production as well as the hygiene level and cleaning machinery.

What do you mean by Extra Virgin Olive Oil acidity?

The acidity indicates the percentage of oleic acid in an oil and it is the main indicator of its quality. The higher its value is, the more the quality of the product is poor. Acidity is definable only by laboratory testing and is not found in the flavour. It is not to be confused with the slight tingling which is an index of rather a low acidity and recent pressing of the olives.

Excessive levels of acidity can be caused by the poor freshness of the olives or by high extraction temperatures.

What is the “itch” exactly?

The tingling and the bitter taste that you experience in olive oil are not considered defects, but the defining characteristics of a great natural product. They are determined by the presence of polyphenols: the fresher the oil is, the stronger the feeling of tingling in the throat will be. It will fade gradually over time.

What is, from the chemical point of view, the Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

The extra virgin olive oil is a vegetable fat made mainly of unsaturated fatty acids. The main extra-virgin olive oil fatty acid is oleic acid (monounsaturated).

What is the difference between a vegetable fat, such as olive oil, and animal fat, like butter?

The vegetable fats are mainly composed of unsaturated fats while animal fats mainly consist of saturated fatty acids.

The extra virgin olive oil has a caloric content higher than butter (899 kcal against 758 kcal of butter), but its fat is healthier. Butter, in fact, contains approximately 250 mg of LDL-cholesterol (the “bad one”) for each 100 g of product and is a concentration of saturated fats which contribute to cardiovascular risk. Olive oil, on the contrary, has no traces of LDL cholesterol and is rich in monounsaturated fats, which tend to lower the level of LDL in the blood.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recommend reducing the intake of saturated fatty acids below 10%.

What does fruity Extra Virgin Olive Oil mean?

The first hallmark of a good extra virgin olive oil is the “fruity”, that is, the scent reminiscent of the fruit, the same that you get an olive crushing between the fingers. The nuances of extra virgin olive oil flavour is determined by several factors: variety, degree of ripeness, geographical area of ​​production. The oils obtained from unripe olives, freshly harvested, they have a rather pronounced spicy taste and a slightly bitter taste, while oils obtained from riper olives have a more sweet and delicate taste. You can also find particular flavour notes such as artichoke, almond, tomato, celery, apple, grass, etc.

How long does the Extra Virgin Olive Oil last?

There is no real deadline imposed by the regulations, however, the extra virgin olive oil should be used within 18 months of bottling; it should be noted that the most the date of preferable consumption is close, the most the oil loses its organoleptic substances (flavour, odour, etc.) and properties (vitamins).

What is the best way to store the Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

The extra virgin olive oil fears the heat, but if the temperature falls too low, it will go bad. It should be stored in cool, dry places, with no severe changes in temperature: the ideal storage temperature is around 15 ° -16 ° C. It should also be absolutely protected from direct light, air and heat.

What does D.O.P. brand guarantee?

The Protected Designation of Origin (D.O.P.) ensures the area of ​​origin of a product, in this case olive oil. The extra virgin olive oils are not all the same, they have different characteristics, flavours and fragrances depending on the regions of origin.  DOP identifies and guarantees the protection of the characteristics related to the area of ​​origin.

Is the Extra Virgin Olive Oil good for your health?

Yes, it is full of virtues! Here some examples:

  • It helps to reduce excessive amount of cholesterol
  • It protects against cardiovascular disease
  • It plays a beneficial effect in the development of the nervous system
  • It protects against various inflammatory skin diseases
  • It helps to contain blood sugar level in diabetic people
  • It performs anti-tumour protective action contributing to prevention

Is the Extra Virgin Olive Oil easily digestible?

Yes, it is highly digestible because it has a high concentration of monounsaturated fatty acids, rapidly absorbed in the intestine and stimulates the production of bile, which is necessary for digestive function. It has been scientifically proven that extra virgin olive oil is the only 100% digestible compared to 85% of sunflower seeds, 81% of the peanut seeds and 36% oil of corn seeds. Compared to other fats, particularly those of animal origin, the extra virgin olive oil is digested faster.

Is the Extra Virgin Olive Oil fatter than seed oil?

All oils are fat by definition, and Extra Virgin oil fat content is almost identical (99.9%) to other oils. It is the grease type and quality that changes, and that’s what makes the difference.

In Extra Virgin Olive Oil, there is about 75% of oleic acid, which may be called the arteries “guardian” as it binds to the “bad” cholesterol LDL in the blood, and it drags it away while it raises cholesterol levels “good” HDL cholesterol.

Can the Extra Virgin Olive Oil be given to children?

Extra Virgin olive oil is as rich in essential fatty acids as breast milk. Unsaturated fats provide more balanced development of the children’s cellular tissue because they help to absorb the substances essential to growth. For this reason, olive oil is a staple food for pregnant women and an essential ingredient in the weaning period.

A little bit of oil in baby food is the healthiest and yummiest dressing.

Which oil is best for frying?

Given that the ideal temperature for frying is 170 ° – 180 ° C and that the extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point of 210 ° C it follows that it is ideal for frying. The smoke point is the level of tolerance of different oils to high temperatures. Exceeding this level causes the decomposing of fats and the production of compounds toxic to human body. A whitish smoke coming from the cooking shows the smoke point has been exceeded.

Can you read the label?

Knowing how to read a label is very important for olive oil as for any other food. You should, therefore, know what is written there and also what is governed by law and what does not. For all the information on the oil label, and ours, in particular, read our label page.

What is the status of oil certifications?

Like any food, oil can and should undergo checks to verify certain aspects by an external body. They can be assessments of the production process, the origin of the raw materials, the final quality. We have the quality certification UNI EN ISO 9001: 2000 (2008), and our Trevi oil is D.O.P. Umbria Colli Assisi – Spoleto. Go to the Certification page for more explanations and details about the aspects certified by these protocols.