Extra Virgin vs other Olive Oil
The market for Olive Oil is vast – in Italy domestic demand outstrips supply and so you can imagine how much oil needs to be sourced from outside to fulfill the volume demands of large companies who supply supermarkets around the globe. You can find an incredibly broad range of quality in the bottle therefore.
Unfortunately, Oil labeled Extra Virgin from Italy can (due to a persistent lack of regulation within the industry) be from different origins and may not even be Extra Virgin. The main key is the price – a number of industry experts agree it is not possible to sell Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil for under £10 a 75cl bottle and this is for the absolute basic quality level.
If you want to be sure that your EVOO is indeed what it says it is then the best way is to source directly from a the press house – which we do for you!
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL comes exclusively from the olive and is extracted using solely mechanical or physical means in thermal conditions (under 27°C) that do not alter the oil in any way. Among other things, it contains no more than 0.8% free acidity and is judged to have a superior taste and no defects whatsoever. It is pure juice.
VIRGIN OLIVE OIL is of slightly lower quality with free acidity up to 1.5% and is judged to have a good taste but may contain slight sensory defects.
REFINED OLIVE OIL is achieved by treating defective or low quality Virgin Olive Oil with the use of charcoal and other chemical and physical filters. Oil labeled as pure olive oil or simply olive oil is primarily refined oil with a small percentage of EVOO added to improve the taste.
LAMPANTE VIRGIN OIL is extracted by mechanical methods but not suitable for human consumption without further refining. Lampante is Italian for ‘glaring’ and refers to its use for burning in lamps. Lampante virgin oil can be used for industrial purposes or refined to make it edible.
OLIVE POMACE OIL is obtained by treating the pomace (ground flesh and stones that are left following extraction) with solvents or other physical treatments. Olive Pomace Oil is typically a blend of extra virgin olive oil and refined pomace oil. It is suitable for consumption but may not be described simply as olive oil.
If you would like to know more about quality levels of Olive Oil, this article is worth a read