DOP, IGP? What does it all mean?
“DOP” is the acronym for “Protected Designation of Origin”, which works exactly in the same way as the appellation system for wines, meaning that it relates to food (including extra virgin olive oil) that is produced in a specific region using traditional production methods. DOP is legally binding within the EU and we are seeing it gradually extended to areas outside the European Union via bilateral agreements. The production process for DOP certified oils must adhere to specific protocols and is overseen by a quality control committee, which further supports the quality.
“IGP”, which stands for “Protected Geographical Indication” is similar to DOP, although less stringent.
What all of this means to the consumer is that you have a guarantee of a style that you are buying in to, which in the complicated world of Extra Virgin Olive Oil is pretty important.
I have found that when sourcing the oils for our portfolio, I have been immediately drawn to oils with a DOP, mostly for the additional guarantee of provenance and therefore taste, however, on speaking to the frantoio owners, it seems as if this certification system is not only complicated but also relatively costly – often the feeling is that you will have to pay more for a DOP but it doesn’t necessarily mean this is the ‘best’ oil that they produce. Because of this, you will find some examples of DOP extra virgin olive oil on our list, and these are examples that we believe are beacons of the certification, but it doesn’t mean in any way that they are the best oils or that the others are lesser quality. Clear as mud? My suggestion is that you opt for a selection from Frantoio De Carlo, we have selected two of their oils that have DOP certification and are from single estates – these oils speak incredibly truly of their origin and are extremely worthy of their DOP status.