Many olive oils mention the term " extra virgin " on their labels. But what does this mean? Another marketing technique or a statement that actually makes sense?
In fact, there are four categories of olive oil, ranking from the least good to the best:
In stores, we find oils corresponding to the last two categories because they are the ones most marketed.
The mention of the category "extra virgin" is highly regulated; three precise criteria have been defined (by the International Olive Council, IOC standard) in order to avoid any confusion when buying.
Firstly, an olive oil, to be extra virgin, must have been extracted by mechanical processes at a temperature maintained below 27°C (cold extraction). No chemical products may be used to facilitate the extraction.
Le deuxième critère concerne la composition chimique de l’huile d’olive. Le taux d’acidité (mesurant le taux d’acide oléique) doit être inférieur à 0,8%, l’indice de peroxyde (désignant la dégradation par oxydation de l’huile) doit être inférieur à 20 meq O2/kg et enfin, la spectrométrie dans l’ultraviolet (évaluant également l’oxydation) doit respecter des valeurs précises (UV K270 < 0,22 et UV K232 < 2,5).
The third and last condition is the sensory properties. A panel of experts in oleology must taste the oil and detect the presence of defects and its fruity character (moisture, mouldy, vinous...). An olive oil is extra virgin only if it is fruity and has no defects.
Like green cabbage and green cabbage, it is the same. On the other hand, a rigorous Frenchman will prefer the "extra virgin" option.
This category of olive oil is therefore the best in the ranking. In fact, it is the purest since it does not undergo any additional treatment. Unfortunately, this category is a victim of its own success. Being the favorite of consumers but also the most expensive to produce, extra virgin olive oil is often exposed to cheating. Some oils are then marketed under the name "extra virgin", without however gathering the 3 quality criteria (presence of defects, higher acidity level, presence of other vegetable oils, etc.). The consumer must therefore be vigilant with this category of oil. It is not enough to see it written in all letters on the label, the other information mentioned above must also be present in order to testify to its authenticity and to prove to you that you are indeed facing an extra virgin olive oil.
Occhiolino olive oil is truly " extra virgin ". It is obtained through a centrifuge system that separates the oil from the rest of the olives (water, pulp and pits). Samples of Occhiolino have been sent to laboratories and to a panel of experts in sensory analysis to certify its quality.
The 2019 harvest shows the following results:
For a 100% natural olive oil, these results are remarkable and Occhiolino is proud of it!
If you are an olive oil lover or simply curious to discover an extra virgin olive oil, taste it and let us know what you think.