WHY CHOOSE THE EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

Based on much epidemiological research, olive oil, among all the oils, is the best for the health. Extra virgin olive oil is a vegetable fat, made up of mainly unsaturated fatty acids. The fatty acid in olive oil is oleic acid (monounsaturated). Extra virgin olive oil protects the heart and arteries, slows down cerebral ageing, may help prevent arteriosclerosis and lowers the level of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and increasing “good” cholesterol (HDL).
In addition, according to medical research, it may help prevent the formation of tumours and cell deterioration.

Extra virgin olive oil, which due to its acidic composition is similar to maternal milk, has always been advised for the weaning of babies and is useful in old age because it favours the assimilation of calcium and its minerals, reducing de risks of osteoporosis. Among the variety of extra virgin olive oils you can find the DOP (Protected Origin Denomination): an award of recognition that is given by the European Community to oils of quality.

Oil producers that come under a DOP production area must scrupulously adhere to production regulations, their olive groves must be registered with the olive registry and in addition they must register their production with the Chamber of Commerce. These regulations guarantee that the entire chain of production - transformation, storage, and bottling takes place according to the origin denomination.

The quality of extra virgin olive oil depends on many factors. The most important are: the variety of tree, the agronomic technique, the environment, the time of harvest, the transformation technology, and the preservation of the oil.
An extra virgin olive oil should be consumed preferably within 12-18 months. After this period, the oil loses its main organic characteristics (colour, flavour, aroma, etc.).

Extra virgin olive oil is one of the best frying oils. In fact it resists extremely high temperatures without burning and therefore without degenerating, leaving limited quantities of free radicals compared to other products.

TYPE OF CONTAINER

The fundamental aspects to check in this context are given by the marked contact of the oils with oxidisation reducing metals and other pro-oxidisers, such as light and oxygen. Container -these should be inert, which means they must not lose metal to the oils, stainless steel containers are recommended that can be “inert nitrogen or carbon dioxide gas-tight”. Air and light - atmospheric oxygen and light are two factors which set off the oxidising rancid effect, consequently the container must protect the oil as much as possible from the air and, more importantly ensure the complete absence of light.
Preserving temperature - the place where the oil is kept must be naturally or artificially air-conditioned to maintain the temperature between 12° and 16°.

TASTING

Is it possible to distinguish the quality and place of origin of an extra virgin olive oil by simply tasting it? Yes. Organic Analysis - A preliminary operation: a small quantity of oil (approx. 20 ml) is placed into a dark, rounded glass and, keeping it covered with one hand, you try, with the other to warm it in order to concentrate the odours, then agitate it slightly so that the contents adhere to all the surfaces of the glass.

Appearance

In evaluating the oil, the visual aspect is not particularly important since the brilliance is not an indicator of quality, in addition, the various shades of colour (from green to yellow) are principally due to the level of maturity of the olives and of the variety of tree from which they came, not to mention the type of extraction process.

The Olfactory Test

The glass should be brought towards the nose and the smell of the oil should be inhaled quickly and deeply. From the perfume of the oil the fragrance of the fruit and its good qualities (fresh fruity, green, etc.) can be evaluated, while certain defects (mould, overheating, bitterness, etc.) can be recognised from the less pleasing odours, which
the taste test should confirm.

The Taste Test

The oil should be tasted straight from the glass, at first slowly and delicately,
then more vigorously and, above all, aspirating at the same time, bringing the oil into contact with all the taste buds. It is recommended not to be in a hurry to expel the oil: certain defects, in fact, can only be recognised if the oil stays in the mouth for a certain amount of time.
Conclusion - The tactile, taste and olfactory sensations lead one to the final judgement, which also takes into consideration the combined harmony of the sensations with the correct terminology to use in defining an extra virgin olive oil, divided into positive and negative terminology.


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