Olive oil is one of nature’s most amazing gifts. With its innumerable qualities and benefits, it is certainly something to have always in your pantry. Olive oil is produced in many countries, with different types of olives and, in numerous methods, this is why there is a lot of confusion about the types of olive oil and their differences.
Olive oil is obtained through the following steps:
By harvesting: Olives are picked either by hand or using a mechanical device. The time of harvest affects the oil’s flavor and quality.
Cleaning: The harvested olives are cleaned of leaves, twigs, and other debris.
Milling: The cleaned olives are crushed to produce a paste, which is then mixed to release the oil.
Separation: The oil is separated from the water and solid material using centrifugation.
So after this process is done, what types of olive oil exist?
Virgin olive oil,is obtained only with a mechanical process.
Olive oils belonging to this family are the most natural. They are obtained by squeezing olives, just like any other fruit, without the use of chemicals or additives. They are processed in mills. Virgil olive oil also has different types of qualities:
Extra virgin olive oil: This is the highest quality type of olive oil. It has an acidity of less than 0.8° as well as an impeccable taste and smell.
Virgin olive oil: Of lower quality than the previous one, it can have up to 2 degrees of acidity and slight defects in taste and smell.
Lampante virgin olive oil: It has an acidity higher than 2° as well as an unpleasant taste and smell when it’s raw. It is not suitable for consumption and requires a refining process. It’s usually used for purposes such as cosmetics and other products.
The residue that remains after extracting virgin olive oil is called pomace and also contains olive oil in its pulp. This oil is extracted with solvents in pomace plants and is called raw pomace oil. This has to be refined for further uses due to its natural raw and strong flavor. After the refining process is done, other types of olive oil are obtained. These are:
Refined olive oil: This type of olive oil is obtained after processing lampante virgin olive oil. It is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless olive oil. Usually, it’s not sold to the public.
Refined pomace oil: It’s obtained after refining pomace oil and, like the previous one we mentioned, it is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless type of olive oil. This too cannot be sold to the public, as it’s not adapted for consumption.
After blending some of these varieties, other types of olive oil can be obtained and therefore they can be sold to the public, such as
Generic olive oil: It is one of the most consumed types of olive oil in Spain. It is a blend of refined olive oils with virgin or extra virgin olive oils. The proportion in which they are blended (usually not specified on the label) varies between 10 and 15% of virgin olive oil and the rest is refined.
Olive pomace oil: Just like olive oil, it is obtained by blending refined pomace oil with a percentage of virgin olive oil and some other types of extra virgin olive oils.
Tasting olive oil is known as “sensory evaluation” and can be done by professionals trained in detecting differences in aroma, flavor, and aftertaste. Here are some tips for distinguishing between different types of olive oil:
Aroma: Extra virgin olive oil should have a fruity aroma, while lower quality oils may have a musty or rancid smell.
Flavor: The flavor of extra virgin olive oil should be fresh and fruity, while lower quality oils may have a bland or bitter taste.
Aftertaste: A good quality extra virgin olive oil should have a pleasant and slightly pungent aftertaste, while lower quality oils may have a bitter or rancid aftertaste.
It is recommended to taste the oil by taking a small sip and letting it sit in the mouth for a few seconds before swallowing. The oil can also be drizzled onto a piece of bread or a cracker for a more intense flavor experience.
So once you have chosen the perfect olive oil that suits your taste buds and needs, how do you keep it in order for it to maintain its perfect taste and qualities? There are a few factors that can directly influence the quality and flavor of olive oil, therefore it is important to store it properly:
Light: Store the oil in a dark, opaque bottle or in a pantry or cupboard away from light.
Heat: Store the oil in a cool place, away from heat sources such as stovetops or ovens. The ideal temperature for storage is between 57°F and 77°F.
Oxygen: Store the oil in an airtight container to prevent oxidation, which can cause the oil to deteriorate and become rancid.
Temperature fluctuations: Avoid storing the oil in a place with significant temperature changes, such as near a window or outside, as this can cause the oil to spoil more quickly.
It is also important to use the oil within 2 years of opening the bottle to ensure its quality and flavor.
At Fattoria San Michele we currently cultivate around 20,000 olive trees. Among these, the most important variety is Frantoio but we also have plants of Moraiolo, Leccino, Maurino, and Rosselleino Cerretano. The olive groves extend over 65 hectares at heights between 150 and 300 meters above sea level on lands highly suited to the olive tree. Since 2017 we have had an oil mill that allows us to better organize the pressing, one of the most important stages of oil production. Our oil mill is one of the most modern on the market. Is designed to produce oils of the highest quality, fruity, spicy, and with high polyphenol content. The annual production is about 20,000 kg of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Laudemio Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil is our flagship. It’s an oil with a complex, fresh taste with herbaceous notes supported by a very pleasant spiciness and a final bitter note that enhances its taste. It is appreciated for its great freshness, complexity, and harmony. Packaged in 500 ml bottles.
So next time you think of excellence in olive oil, San Michele’s organic extra virgin Laudemio olive oil and San Michele’s extra virgin organic olive oil should come to your mind.