EVOO Stories

Knowing Extra Virgin Olive Oil

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Written by Veronica Lavenia

Extra virgin olive oil, appreciated all over the world and at the basis of Mediterranean culture, is a real food, rich in beneficial substances that make it more than just a condiment. Its benefits are now known, although scientific studies on it continue, always adding important elements on the properties contained in it.

Beneficial properties are so powerful that they find the unanimity of the International Scientific Community, so much so that the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has included it among the “Superfoods”, foods with medicinal properties.

Extra virgin olive oil is a “Nutraceutical” food (neologism formed by the fusion of the words “Nutrition” and “Pharmaceutical”). The crucial components from which its benefits derive are: polyphenols; Oleic acid and vitamins. Polyphenols and vitamin E, of which extra virgin olive oil is rich, due to their antioxidant action, help prevent arteriosclerosis, slowing down the aging of cells. Extra virgin olive oil has a high digestibility, compared to saturated fats such as butter, lard, margarine. It is much healthier than other oils processed with solvents and deprived of smell and taste, so as to give a feeling of lightness.

Precisely because it is a wellness food, EVOO is in great demand, so it is easy to find even low-quality products on the market, especially with regard to exported EVOs. These EVOOs are usually also present on supermarket shelves.

Despite laws, rules and strict controls (at least in Europe), there have been many scandals concerning extra virgin olive oil, particularly in the recent past. Among them is the practice of “deodorization” which makes it possible to make lampante oils extra virgin.

Large companies thus succeed in establishing themselves on national and foreign markets, to the detriment of small and medium-sized producers who play a fair game, failing, for this very reason, most of the time, to have fairly competitive prices.

On the other hand, this does not always mean that the oil purchased by the farmer is better. Also in this case, if the strict hygiene protocols and what is regulated by law are not followed, the risk is to consume  unhealthy oil.

EXTRA VIRGIN:

only the oil extracted through mechanical procedures and whose degree of acidity falls within the parameters required by law is defined as such.

STORAGE:

Evoo should be stored in a dry place, away from light, sources of heat and odors, to avoid becoming rancid.

The not refillable cap (mandatory in Italy) guarantees better conservation once the bottle is opened. It also prevents restaurateurs from using unsanitary cruets, which could be filled with non-quality oils.

QUALITY:

Quality is the daughter of professionalism. Behind the production of EVOO there is a long work that starts from the cultivation to the bottling of the finished product. A job that requires study and qualified personnel, able to know also the modern technologies of transformation in the mill.

In order for it to be defined as such, an extra virgin must pass rigorous tests that often the so-called “farmer’s oil” does not pass because it does not have the knowledge and machinery behind it to produce a quality product.

Knowledge helps in selecting a good product. The labels must contain all the necessary information on the product in the bottle. Also, a good EVOO must smell good. Insiders recognize in a good EVO freshness and aromaticity that recall, among others, the hints of fresh vegetables, almonds, tomatoes, artichokes and more. Finally, a good EVO must have bitter notes.

PURCHASE:

  1. Where possible, buy directly from the producers, perhaps by first taking a look at their website and talking to the producers;
  2. Buy in specialized shops (wine and EVOO shops, typical shops) that sell niche products and ask for information on the niche product;
  3. Shopping in e-commerce or specialized e-shops, many have various types of quality EVOOs with affordable shipping services.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

© Ph. Veronica Lavenia

About the author

Veronica Lavenia

PhD.
Writer and magazine contributor, some of her works have appeared in the most popular International Food magazines.
Her scientific papers have been published in some of the most renowned international literary academic journals.
Writer| Translator| Communications manager at "The Wolf Post", since the birth of the platform.

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