Olives & Olive oil

Elia - Olive Tree

Elia – Olive Tree

Olive oil is classified according as its oleic acidity (fatty acid content), the most important element in determining its grade, and to its flavour, colour and aroma. The European Union has defined a specific 30 word vocabulary for the “formal organoleptic assessment and grading of olive oil”, which includes such terms as grass (flavour that’s reminiscent of freshly mown grass) and positive astringent (the complex drying sensation produced in the mouth by tannins). As with wines, some people will argue persuasively that the oil from no two groves tastes alike.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is derived from the first cold pressing of olives without refining. It has an oleic acidity level of less than 1%. Greece’s ideal climate contributes most favourably to the superiority of its olive oil: richer, fruitier flavour, intense aroma and distinctive green colour. Extra virgin is produced in four styles: regular extra virgin olive oil, organic extra virgin, protected designation of origin (PDO) and protected geographical indication (PGI). One reason extra virgin olive oil is so highly regarded is because it offers an almost infinite variety of flavours and aromas. It includes no additives and even in harvest and processing is hardly interfered with. Its fruity taste and complex aroma seem to have almost universal appeal. Its light and delicate consistency make it perfect for dressings. Frying is generally not recommended for extra virgin. It is rich in volatile compounds that high heat will cause to evaporate and you’ll lose many of the oil’s subtler qualities. Also, the action may perfume your kitchen.

Virgin Olive Oil also comes from the first pressing without refining, but virgin olive oil may have an acidity level of up to 2%. Although its flavour intensity can vary, virgin olive oil is milder than extra virgin.

Olive Oil has an acidity level of no more than 1.5%. At the initial pressing it will be much higher than that, but the level is brought down to its legal limit by blending the refined oil with premium quality extra virgin olive oil. Milder in taste and colour, olive oil is the preferred medium for frying or for flavouring delicate foods that may be overwhelmed by the richness of extra virgin oil.


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