Know olive oil

What does Extra Virgin Olive Oil mean?

L’espressione olio extravergine di oliva indica un olio ottenuto con i frutti dell’olivo esclusivamente mediante procedimenti meccanici o fisici, in condizioni termiche particolari che non alterino le proprietà organolettiche dell’olio. Inoltre, l’olio extravergine di oliva è caratterizzato da un’acidità molto bassa che non superi il valore di 0,8g per 100g espressa in acido oleico. L’Olio del Capùnto, nella media delle diverse annate, ha registrato un valore prossimo a 0,20 con punte di eccellenza di 0,11.

What is olive oil's acidity?

L’acidità è uno dei parametri utili alla valutazione complessiva della qualità chimica dell’olio. L’olio extravergine di oliva è chimicamente costituito per il 98-99% da una frazione saponificabile, vale a dire di una miscela di trigliceridi, mentre nel restante 1-2% è contenuta una miscela di composti detta frazione insaponificabile. I trigliceridi sono composti dal glicerolo e dagli acidi grassi ad esso legati: l’acidità misura la quantità di acidi grassi separatisi dal glicerolo; pertanto una bassa acidità è indice di un numero ridotto di acidi grassi liberi e una qualità superiore dell’olio, per cui è sempre consigliabile scegliere un olio extravergine di oliva a bassa acidità per la propria alimentazione.  

What are polyphenols in olive oil?

Polyphenols are part of the unsaponiable matter of olive oil: not only for their exceptional benefits in human health, these elements also play an important role in preserving the olive oil from oxidation, a process that lowers the quality of olive oil with time. The quantity of polyphenols depends on the cultivar and on the harvesting period: green olives –which are less ripe– can boast a higher concentration of polyphenols if compared to ripe fruits.

When do the olives get harvested?

In Tuscany we start picking our olives by mid-October and finish around mid-December: the peak of our activity is in November, when olives still don't are ripe at their maximum. This means that we will create a high-quality olive oil, even if the quantity will be lower.

What do you mean by "cold extraction"?

When we say that an olive oil is cold pressed or extracted, it means that we obtain it only by mechanical means, with no chemical treatments and without heating up the product. The olive oil needs to be kept at a temperature lower than 27° C, so that its chemical and organoleptic properties don't get compromised.

How do you tell a good olive oil from a bad one?

Recognizing a good olive oil requires some chemical analysis, in which acidity, number of peroxides, concentration of polyphenols are tested. Then an organoleptic analysis is carried on: in this stage, olive oil is tasted and it also undergoes a visual and olfactory test.

Which are some positive features of an olive oil?

When you taste it, olive oil has a positive character when it has three characteristics: some fruity flavours, and you have three different degrees of fruitiness: light fruity, medium fruity and intense fruity. It also has to be bitter, which depends on how ripe the olive is when it is pressed. And finally, a pungent sensation that is as highly enjoyable as much as it balanced with the bitter sensation.

What are the negative characteristics of an olive oil?

As you taste an olive oil, you may perceive some defects, such as a taste of hay, due to dry or too ripe olives; worm, when the olive was attacked by larvae of the olive fruit fly; fusty, deriving from a wrong or too long storage of olives before being pressed; winey, caused by a fermentation process of sugars in olives; musty, in case the olives where pressed in first-time used or not correctly cleaned machines, you can taste a metallic flavor; muddy, generated by a the prolonged contact with decanting dregs; as soon as antioxidants' action runs out, you perceive the rancid defect.

Qual è il metodo di conservazione migliore per l'olio?

First of all, olive oil is best stored when the cap is tightly fastened and the container is stored away from heat and light. You should also keep it away from bad odors that could alter its taste.

How can high-quality olive oil be used for cooking?

Extra virgin olive oil is king in Mediterranean diet and Tuscan olive oil is one of its protagonists. You can use it in endless recipes: you can dress vegetables, meat, fish, or you can cook first plates, fried food, desserts with it and use it for conserving vegetables or meats. Plus, every food requires a specific olive oil: a light fruity olive oil pairs with a delicate plate; when dressing a sharp plate, you need a more intense olive oil.