Like salt and pepper, olive oil belongs in every kitchen. Olives and their oil have been an important part of the Mediterranean cuisine for thousands of years. Homer described olive oil as “liquid gold”. Unlike most other vegetable oils produced by refining, extra virgin olive oil is a pure natural product. Olive oil is composed of 77% monounsaturated, 9% polyunsaturated and 14% saturated fatty acids.
Good Olive Oil is like good wine…
A good oil has a balanced mixture of fruity, bitter and spicy flavors. As with wine and cheese, there are many differences. These differences depend on the following:
• The region and location of the olive trees
• The climate and soil of the area
• The care of the trees, harvesting and processing.
Note that taste depends on personal preference and can be influenced by the acidity of the oil and other important ingredients. Therefore, if you want to taste the difference you need to apply all of these factors to high quality extra virgin olive oil.
In addition to the different olive plants and the “normal harvest” which is mentioned with reference to the maturity of the olives, there is also the "early harvest" and the "unfiltered olive oils".
The following is an explanation of both:
The green olives are harvested much earlier based on the decision of the olive growers. Early harvest oil contains all the advantages of a vegetable oil, in particular an olive oil in concentrated form. However, the taste is more intense and sharper, the color is lighter, the positive ingredients are concentrated and the acid content is predominantly lower. Therefore, early harvest affects the taste of oil and due to its intensity, personal taste preferences may determine in which recipes it is used. Due to the interrupted ripening, the oil quantity from the olives is also reduced and this is reflected in the price.
Buds on the olive tree / olive tree blossom
Young olives / green olives
After being pressed / extracted in small packages, no filtering takes place. As a result, suspended particles which are otherwise filtered out or settle in the tanks during storage are left in the oil. These are natural components of the fruit which are easy to enjoy and produce their own results. This process also affects the color since a natural clouding process occurs, and the oil has an intense smell and taste. Are you familiar with clear and natural apple juice? The process is similar! Ultimately, this is a personal taste. However, one should note that the durability of the oils is significantly reduced.
A genuine extra virgin olive oil tastes fruity, slightly bitter and leaves a scratch in the throat. The healthy and anti-inflammatory substance, Oleocanthal, is responsible for this scratching. It protects against certain types of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, the difference for ones eating pleasure and health depends on the olive variety, origin, age, smell, fruitiness, bitterness and scratching sensation.
Consumers who generally only use low-cost oils are accustomed to this taste. If they then encounter the taste described above, it is not uncommon of them to think that it is a bad or spoiled oil. However, this taste is the sign of good quality and freshness.
What is the best Olive Oil?
The question of which is the best olive oil is a personal decision or preference. It is like wine and cheese: When, how and where you use the oil is determined by your personal taste preferences. Will it be used in a salad, side or main dish? Will it be one of the ingredients in a BBQ sauce or some fancy drink? You decide!!!
Is the best Olive Oil measurable? Ultimately not!
There are many different types of olive oil. Based on the variety of olives, planting areas, harvesting and processing, the taste and quality will vary. If you decide to use the same criteria choosing an olive oil as you do choosing a good wine, you will not go wrong!
Facts that you should know when choosing Olive Oil:
• Where does it comes from?
• Who has harvested, processed, and bottled it?
• Which independent tests have been carried out?
• How trustworthy are the sellers?
• Is it possible to taste the oil? (You can find small quantities for comparisons and taste tests in our shop.)
Ultimately, choosing the right product is your decision. Therefore, if you know the producer, you will always know how the oil tastes, and you will always make the correct choice.