But what exactly is extra virgin olive oil?
…a uniquely healthy, nutritious food with a unique flavour!
Table olives and extra virgin olive oil are two of nature’s most precious resources. Extra virgin olive oil is made directly from the pressing of the olives and requires no further processing or treatment.
It’s only treatment is pressing or centrifugation. By comparison, other types of oils are refined industrially after being extracted with an organic solvent, then deacidified, bleached and deodorised under vacuum at high temperatures of around 200 ° C.
The endless array of extra virgin olive oil aromatic notes (fruity, herbaceous, floral, almond, green apple, tomato, …) stem from roughly 200 volatile compounds that combine during the natural extraction process.
Among the constituents elements are tocopherols and phenolic hydrophilic substances, which originate during the oil extraction process from substances already present in olives (hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol).
They also play an important antioxidant role, protecting the product from oxidation, thus playing an important role in determining the nutritional qualities and health benefits of extra virgin olive oil.
Thanks to its special composition, extra virgin olive oil is the most stable vegetable oil with regards oxidation and which has a whole series of advantages compared to its alternatives:
– It is less prone to oxidation, because it is rich in unsaturated fats;
– Is easily absorbed because it is rich in oleic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid resistant to oxidation, both during storage and cooking.
Its phenolic compounds also affect its sensory properties, in particular in the spicy flavour of some oils, directly related to their molecular structure.
Because of this relationship between natural antioxidants and a spicy flavour extra virgin olive oils with spicy overtones are traditionally held to be particularly healthy.
What is certain is that flavour and nutritional qualities alike are determined by the high quality of the raw materials; the olives used, the land, soil, climate and manufacturing processes and European extra virgin olive oil complies with some of the strictest regulations in the world to ensure high-quality products.