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Introduction to Olive Oil

Olive oil is the only oil that can be consumed as soon as it is removed from the olive and there are reasonable claims that extra virgin is the most digestible of the edible fats. The method of producing olive oil has not changed in thousands of years, although the tools that are employed today are made of stainless steel and not stone and the labor is mechanical not manual. The olive fruit is ground into a paste and then the oil is extracted through centrifugal motion. This first extraction creates what is known as, and highly treasured, extra virgin, first cold-pressed olive oil. Absolutely no chemicals or heat are applied during this stage. This first pressing creates olive oil that retains the flavor, color and nutritional value of the original fruit. Often some filtration is performed to remove sediment from the oil; however many a connoisseur believes that unfiltered extra virgin olive oil truly captures the character of the fruit and the soil.

All extra virgin olive oils are not the same. Like wines, they can vary dramatically in taste. In order to meet the standards mandated by the European Union, olive oil marked extra virgin must have an acidity level of 1% or less. The degree of acidity in olive oil indicates the oleic acid content and that greatly affects its taste. The methods and times of harvesting, the weather during the growing season, the type and quality of the olive that is pressed, the region from where the olives are grown, storage , and pressing can affect the level of acidity. Olive Oil with a higher level of acidity will have a pungent perhaps spicy taste. The highest quality oils will possess an acid content of 2% or less.

Color does not always prove the quality of an oil. The color of a good oil can range from green to golden yellow. As color is not a sure sign of quality, experts test olive oil in cobalt blue glasses. The color of the oil actually depends upon the olive’s chemistry. If it contains a high level of chlorophyll, then the oil will be greener, but if carotene is predominant, then the oil will be more golden yellow. In addition, olives gathered at the beginning of the harvest usually produce oil of a greener color, while oil produced from ripe olives tends to be more golden yellow due to the increased amount of carotene they contain.

The price of extra virgin olive oil varies dramatically with producers√≠ country of origin and methods of harvesting often being the key factors. In fact, most consumers of super market olive oils are not aware that olives grown in one country are processed into olive oil and packaged in another country and then sold without mentioning the origin of the fruit. Just because it has an Italian brand name, does not mean that the olive oil came from Italian olives. Oftentimes olive oils are blended from olives of many different countries of origin. Olive Oil of the World promises to provide olive oils that are produced strictly from olives that are grown in that specific country. We encourage our customers to experiment with this “food of the gods”, so loved by the ancients, and enjoy the different flavors, aromas and colors of olive oils from all over the globe.


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