Olive oil production
“The benefits of olive oil and its properties are highly dependent on the production technology,” explains Mauro. – The best product is obtained as a result completely mechanical pressing of olives, without heating… It is this olive oil that has the right to be called Extra Virgin: it is very healthy and has a bright taste and rich color. “
Another important feature of good olive oil is its low acidity. The acidity index increases with long-term storage of the crop or if the olives have been damaged. The acidity standard in the world is 0,8%. must have acidity not higher than this indicator – the reference product is, for example, olive oil De Cecco Extra Vergine di Oliva Classico (its acidity is 0.22-0.3%).
Olive oil has several varieties, which have been identified by experts from the European International Olive Council (IOC), located in Madrid. There are two main types of oil that you need to pay attention to:
- Extra virgin – unrefined olive oil is obtained during the first cold pressing. In the production of unrefined oil, the fruits of the olive tree are processed without thermal and chemical treatment, only using physical methods. Natural olive oil Extra virgin olive oil is one of the best and most expensive and is considered the most useful. The acidity of such oil does not exceed 0.8% and it is not used for frying, but it is ideal for salads, sauces, for baking.
- Olive oil Virgin olive oil slightly inferior to Extra virgin in aroma, color and taste, but otherwise it has all the quality characteristics. The acidity of this oil does not exceed 2%.
The third kind, which must be mentioned, is peeled, refined olive oil (), that is, the oil of the second extraction, it is obtained by refining the olive oil of the first extraction. Refined olive oil is great for frying because it does not oxidize so much when heated, it does not form carcinogens and does not have a pronounced taste.
Best olive oil: geography
Also, when choosing, you should pay attention to where the product was produced: the top three countries that can boast of the best olive oil include Italy, Spain and Greece. Why exactly their foods deserve such attention? One of the main reasons is the geographic and climatic features of the terrain of these countries. Warm climate, abundant sun and fertile soil are ideal conditions in which olive trees grow strong and fertile, and olives ripen well.
In turn, within each country, specific regions are distinguished, each of which produces olive oil with specific characteristics. They depend on the peculiarities of the geography of the region in which the olive trees grow. Oil produced in a particular region from olives harvested here is considered the oil of a geographic name.
So, in Italy, there are four main regions that produce olive oil: Tuscany, Liguria, Umbria and, of course, the hot island of Sicily. In other regions (especially in the south and central part of Italy), olive oil is also produced from local olives, although, of course, on a smaller scale.
“It seems that all olive oils are very similar,” laughs Mauro Moscardi. “However, Italian olive oils are very different. The product from northern Liguria is translucent and has a light green color. Tuscan and Umbrian olive oils are slightly darker and have a very rich aroma due to the hilly terrain of the regions and the rocky, dense soil. The oil of Sicily is the most amazing: it is very thick, dark and even slightly cloudy, but it has amazing beneficial properties and taste ”.
Accordingly, the geographical affiliation of olive oil Is not only the name of the producing country on the packaging, but often the name of the region.
Distinguish Protected Designation of Origin oil or location of production… This is evidenced by the abbreviation indicated on the package.
- PDO/DOP – such a marking is put on a bottle of oil if the entire production process from growing olives to bottling takes place in the same territory. That is, the combination of natural factors (raw materials, climate, place of production) and the human factor (production by traditional and craft methods) excludes the possibility of imitation or production of the same foods in another place.
- IGP – this abbreviation indicates that the oil was produced in a specific geographic region recognized by the European Union. At the same time, it is important that only one phase of the production process is carried out in the specified region – either the production of raw materials or the processing of olives. Such a product is produced in compliance with all production regulations that describe the characteristics of the product, the geographical region, cultivation and processing methods, and olive varieties.
Another type of olive oil labeling is Bio, organic olive oil – such an inscription indicates the complete environmental friendliness of the product, confirms that synthetic chemicals and genetically modified organisms were not used in its production, and the processing of crops to preserve and protect against parasites, diseases, weeds and soil fertilization was carried out using organic substances and natural minerals.
How to eat olive oil
Olive oil is widely used both in medicine and in personal care foods, but most often in cooking. In Italy, it seems that not a single dish is complete without at least one drop of olive oil: it is added to salads, soups, desserts and eaten just like that with fresh bread. It is the benefits of olive oil and its taste that make this product the main protagonist of the Mediterranean diet.
“We can’t go a day without olive oil,” confirms Mauro. – Extra virgin olive oil is used by Italian housewives for dressing salads, pasta dishes, making bruschettes and desserts. Personally, I really like the tradition of starting dinner with a piece of fresh bread seasoned with aromatic butter – it’s very tasty! “
It’s hard to believe that olive oil can be a great base for almost any dish. Nevertheless, the Italians assure that this product is appropriate everywhere and always. To dispel possible doubts, Mauro Moscardi shared recipe for fettuccine with porcini mushrooms based on olive oil… This dish will satisfy even the most sophisticated gourmets, and, moreover, it has an excellent taste!
What you need:
What to do: see here.