About Olive Oil

All olive oils are not made the same! Some may have a sweet and delicate flavour while others may have a touch of bitterness or pepper.

The reason for this is that there are more than 300 different varieties of olive trees in the world– the most popular types however can be found in Italy, Spain and Greece:
CULTIVAR COUNTRY FLAVOUR
Frantoio Italy fruity, green, herbaceous, pungent
Leccino Italy mildly fruity, spicy and sweet
Coratina Italy fruity, green, bitter, pungent
Koroneiki Greece crude, fruity, bitter, pungent
Arbequina Spain very aromatic, fruity, sweet
Picual Spain bitter and pungent (overripe flavour)
Countries of origin Spain is the largest producer of olive oil in the world, its seemingly endless olive groves account for nearly half of the world’s production.

Most Spanish oil comes from olives grown in the vast groves that spread across the Andalucian countryside where the hot sun beats down on the groves and boosts the yields. Typically the olive oil is sweet and fruity with low levels of bitterness and pepper. The Catalonia, Extramadura and La Mancha regions also produce considerable quantities of delicate oil.

After Spain, Greece and Italy are tied for second place:
In Greece The Peleponnese and the island of Crete are the main olive oil producing regions. Here well flavoured oils with herbaceous tones are made from Koroneiki olives. The better known Kalamata olives are used for the table—and while some oils are labelled "Kalamata" this often refers to the region of the same name from which the oil is produced.
In Italy Olives are grown throughout the country with the exception of the far northwest, yet the main olive oil producing regions are Puglia and Sicily — Tuscany makes up only 4% of production. Each region has its own weather, varieties and styles, therefore olive oil flavours vary greatly from grove to grove
liguria
Sweet & light almond flavoured
sicily
Intense aroma with light tomato flavour
toscana
Sweet & fruity with a peppery finish
puglia
Tangy, aromatic & intense

Most of the olive oils and extra virgin olive oils in the supermarket shelves are blends of oils from different countries. They are usually labelled with the words 'packed in', together with the name of the town in which the packer is based.

Types of olive oil The very best and purest form of olive oil is extra virgin which is stored or bottled immediately after pressing, just as it is. To obtain this prestigious classification however, the olive oil must undergo a range of stringent tests to ensure that its acidity levels are below 0.8%. All oils above this limit are sent to a refinery and blended with extra virgin olive oils to add flavour, the resulting product is known as standard olive oil.
Extra virgin production methods
First cold Press:
Extra Virgin Olive Oils which have been produced at a temperature below 27°C using a traditional granite millstone and hydraulic press.
Cold Extraction:
Extra virgin olive oils obtained through more modern systems, such as percolation or centrifugation, at a temperature below 27°C.
The best extra virgin olive oils are obtained through a cold pressing or extraction process

Some refined olive oils are further blended to obtain a milder flavour, like Filippo Berio’s Mild & Light olive oils, making them ideal for frying and baking with no discernable “olive oil” taste.

Other types of refined olive oils are produced, not from the oil which comes out of the milling process but from the olive paste that remains. This residue, or pomace, contains a small amount of oil which is removed with the use of solvents. The resulting oil is then refined and blended in the same way as ordinary olive oil to make olive pomace oil.

View the chart to see the different type of olive oils

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