The Italian extra virgin olive oil is probably the best in the world: surely it is the favourite of those who want to eat well, in a healthy and tasteful way. But how to choose the best extra virgin olive oil? Here we explain six infallible tips.
1. Read the label carefully
The first advice is to read the label very carefully: a clear and deep information is a sign that we can trust the product. The European legislation includes two abbreviations for the highest quality brands: IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) and DOP (Protected Denomination of Origin). These are given to agricultural and food products whose quality and characteristics depend on the geographical origin and whose production takes place in a restricted geographical area.
It is also important to verify the origin of the olives: there is not one region better than others, but there are virtuous techniques in management of the olive grove, in harvesting, in transformation and conservation; all these techniques allow to obtain a quality oil. For example, the fact that the olives are processed in the company's mill is an additional guarantee, because olives can be processed after a few hours of harvesting, giving the oils the highest nutritional values.
Obviously you have to check the expiry date and prefer the new extra virgin olive oil, looking at the production year.
The sentence "100% Italian oil" is also a guarantee of quality. On the contrary, the text "oil coming from the European Community" must make us think that the oil can be Spanish, Greek, Turkish or a blend.
2. Analyze the perfume
Many think that a lighter or darker color is a quality factor for oil, but this is not true; one of the most important distinctive elements, instead, is the perfume.
It seems obvious, but a good extra virgin olive oil must have a scent of olive, because olive oil is essentially olive juice. You can say you have a good oil in your hands also if you smell these fragrances: freshly cut grass, tomato, artichoke, apple, almond.
3. Taste: the right and the wrong
The next step to understand if an extra virgin olive oil is good is the taste. If we notice a bitter taste in the mouth, slightly tending to spicy in the throat, then the oil is good. To properly savor the oil, you have to keep it inside your mouth for at least 20 seconds before swallowing it.
One of the most common oil flaws is the rancid taste, due to the aging of oil that is caused by light, heat or oxidation. In general, the average life of an oil is a couple of years.
Another flaw is the fermentation, which occurs when the olives are piled up in poorly aired and humid environments: in this case the oil takes a slight vinegar smell.
4. Look through the glass
Just like wine, even in the oil bottle there should not be a solid bottom, unless it is “olio novello” (new oil), which should however be consumed immediately.
Another aspect to take into consideration when choosing oil is the glass of the bottle, which must be dark, to keep the product safe from light and heat.
5. Don’t be fooled by the price
We must be wary of oils at low prices. A good extra virgin olive oil, made with artisanal and quality methods, has a minimum cost of 12 euros/liter. If the price is lower, almost certainly its quality is not excellent and the liquid is composed of a mix of oils from European and non-European countries.
Even the consumer does his part: once you have purchased a good extra virgin olive oil, it is important to keep it in the correct way. The bottle must be stored away from the stove and in the dark, at a temperature between 11 and 16 °C. Plus, when you open a bottle, you have to close it immediately: the oil has no preservatives so if left open it will oxidize.
You now have all the right information to choose the best extra virgin olive oil: take a look inside PepeGusto pantry for your gourmet shopping!
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