FAQ: answers to your questions
Extra virgin olive oil is a genuine fruit juice obtained from olive drupes. Extra virgin olive oil doesn’t contain any flaws or defects and has exelent chemical and organoleptic characteristics.
Virgin olive oil is olive fruit juice with chemical and organoleptic characteristics which are affected by errors and/or probelms that have occurred during the production process.
Finally, there is olive oil. Olive oil is a mixture of virgin olive oil and lampante olive oil. Lampante olive oil is obtained from virgin olive oils by refining methods and is not fit for human consumption as it is.
These are positive attributes of olive oil.
Fruitiness is a set of olfactory sensations perceived directly and/or through the back of the nose. It depends on the variety of olives, maturity stage of fruit, and characteristics of oil that has been obtained from sound, fresh olives. This attribute is defined as green fruitiness when the mixture of olfactory sensations is reminiscent of green fruit, characteristic of oil that has been obtained from green olives. This attribute is defined as ripe fruitiness when the mixture of olfactory sensations is reminiscent of ripe fruit, characteristic of oil that has been obtained from both green and ripe olives.
Bitterness is basic taste that is characteristic of oil that has been obtained from green olives or olives turning colour. It is perceived in the circumvallate papillae on the "V" region of the tongue.
Biting tactile sensation is characteristic of oil that has been produced at the start of the crop year, mainly from olives that are still unripe. It can be perceived throughout the whole of the mouth cavity, particularly in the throat.
The olive oil acidity is something that human body can't perceive through senses. Nobody, not even an olive oil testing expert, is able to establish the level of acidity in oil just by tasting it. The acidity is due to free fatty acids present in olive oil. The only way to determine its value is through chemical analysis in laboratory.
The bitter taste and the pungent sensations that we perceive as acidity are produced by phenolic compounds responsible for the extraordinary health qualities of extra virgin olive oil. It is known that these compounds have, among the others, powefull anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticoagulant effects.
Extra virgin olive oil is a fat of vegetable origin and is more resistant to heat than other plant oils. Actually, extra virgin olive oil is recommended for high temperature frying! Extra virgin olive oil is not only the healthiest fat on earth but is one of the most stable vegetable oils under cooking/heating conditions even for extended periods of time. The smoke point of olive oil is higher then 200°C which is well above the temperature required for frying (165 – 170°C). Numerous studies confirm that olive oil is most stable vegetable oil in the range of temperatures commonly used for frying. There are two main reasons that make extra virgin olive oil exceptionaly good for cooking. The first one is the fact that this oil contains mostly monounsaturated fatty acids (only one double bond) which is more stable at high temperatures than the polyunsaturated fatty acids. The second reason lies in the fact that it contains high levels of phenolic compounds, natural antioxidants, that prevent oil degradation even at high temperatures. In the end, there is the last myth that we want to dispell and that is: extra virgin olive oil goes rancid during cooking and can have an impact on the flavor. The only way to get rid of this harmful myth is to try cooking with extra virgin olive oil by yourself...and don't be surprised if you find out that this type of oil actually adds more flavor to your food during frying.
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