EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
THE OIL MILL
When the olives have reached the right level of maturity, the harvest begins. The year-long wait is over. As soon as the olives have been stripped from the trees, they are ready to be milled; they are full, plump and glossy and they release sensations of freshness mixed with the heady smells of the countryside. After a careful selection of the fruit, the delicate processing phase begins. This phase of transforming the olives into extra virgin oil is very important; the technique used for the extraction is fundamental in that, many of the final characteristics of the product are determined by the choices made by the people involved in this exacting process. The use of cutting edge technology together with human expertise allows us to achieve optimum results by maintaining the nutraceutical and organoleptic properties of an extra virgin olive oil while at the same time, maximizing the quality of its ingredients. .
EXTRA VIRGIN OIL INGREDIENTS
A healthy food source and a principal ingredient in the Mediterranean diet, extra virgin olive oil is distinguished from all other oils of vegetable origin by the fact that it comes exclusively from the extraction of olives without the use of any additives or solvents and it does not undergo any industrial process of manipulation or refinement. Extra virgin olive oil is obtained from the process of extracting the oil from the olives and it represents a natural concentration of nutrients and beneficial substances as well as the unique perfume and flavour attributable to a particular cultivar and to the region itself.
The values listed on the nutritional scale are correlated to 100 ml of extra virgin olive oil that has a weight of 92 grams and which consists of 100% fats. Of the 92 grams of oil, only 14 grams are saturated fats, the so-called “bad fats”. The remainder of fats are unsaturated, therefore, the “good fats”. The major percentage of these unsaturated fats, (approx.2/3), are monosaturated fats. Extra virgin olive oil does not contain carbohydrates, sugars, protein or salt. It does contain a high level of Vitamin E, (alfa – tocopherol), and often more than 17mg which is equivalent to 142% of daily requirements.
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIE OIL: SENSORY VOCABULARY
Bitter: indicates a taste sensation characterised by extra virgin oil that has been obtained from green, or barely mature olives.
Fruity: indicates the aromatic intensity of an extra virgin oil, at both an olfactory and gustative level. It may be light, medium or intense, depending on the intensity at which the aroma is perceived. It is the olive that determines the category of fruitiness, or more precisely, the variety, (cultivar). But other factors are also decisive: the climate and the soil in which the trees have grown; the time taken for the harvesting and transport to the olive mill; the method used for extracting the oil and its storage.
Spicy: indicates a tactile pungent sensation characterised by an extra virgin oil produced at the beginning of the harvest season, in particular it applies to green olives.
Sour / Winy-Vinegary / Acidic: these adjectives describe an olive oil that produces an olfactory/gustatory sensation that brings to mind wine or vinegar. It is the result of a defective fermentation process that causes the creation of acetic acid, ethyl acetate and ethanol.
Coarse: describes the dense and doughy oral-tactile sensation produced by some oils.
Metallic: describes an olive oil that produces an olfactory/gustatory sensation that resembles metal. It is a defect found in oil that has been kept in contact with metal surfaces for too long during the processes of pressing, kneading, extraction and storage.
Musty: describes an olfactory /gustatory sensation that is characterised by oil obtained from olives that have been stored for many days in humid conditions and have therefore acquired an abundance of fungus and yeast.
Muddy: describes an olfactory/gustatory sensation characterised by an olive oil that has come into contact with the settling sludge in underground tanks and vats.
Fusty: describes the olfactory/gustatory characteristic of an oil obtained from olives piled or stored in conditions that have caused an advanced stage of anaerobic fermentation.
Rancid: describes an olfactory/gustatory sensation characterised by olive oils that have been exposed to an oxidative process.
POSITIVE OLFACTORY / GUSTATORY AROMATIC SENSATIONS
Green and fruity: an attribute that describes the olfactory sensation typical of extra virgin oil obtained from olives harvested before, or at the beginning of their maturation.
Fruity and floral: an attribute describing the olfactory sensation that recalls the scent of flowers: chamomile, broom, wisteria, lavender, wattle, roses and almond flowers.
Fruity and vegetal: a positive attribute describing the olfactory sensation that recalls the vegetal scent of fresh grass, mown hay, eucalyptus, fig leaves and tomato leaves.
Aromatic herbal: a positive attribute describing the olfactory sensation that resembles the aromatic herbs: laurel, basil, marjoram, mint, myrtle, moss, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme.
Floral: a positive attribute indicating an olfactory sensation that recalls the scent of flowers: chamomile, broom, wisteria, lavender, wattle, roses.
White fruit: a positive attribute describing the olfactory sensation that recalls the scent of white fruit in various stages of maturity: apricot, apple, pear, peach.
Red fruit: a positive attribute describing the olfactory sensation that recalls the vegetal scent of fresh grass, mown hay, eucalyptus, fig leaves and tomato leaves.
Spicy: a positive attribute that indicates an olfactory sensation reminding us of the scent of spices: cinnamon, white pepper, black pepper, green pepper, vanilla, ginger.
Vegetal: a positive attribute that indicates an olfactory sensation reminding us of the scent of vegetables: asparagus, artichoke, cardoon, chicory, fava beans, fennel, lettuce, capsicum, acidic tomato, semi-ripe tomato, full-ripe tomato, radicchio, radish, arugula, celery.
The quality of an extra virgin olive oil is not just the result of a chemical analysis by which a product is classified. It is also the result of a careful sensory analysis. It is a map that sets out the stages of a journey. A journey that allows us to understand the universe and its uniqueness: the universe of extra virgin olive oil. The scents characterised by positive oganoleptic sensations identify an extra virgin olive oil of quality and they make it an extraordinary ingredient to add to any dish.
The intensity of an extra virgin olive oil, whether light, medium or intense determines which recipe it would be best suited to and the result is a dish full of flavour.