Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a symbol of the Mediterranean diet an. You won'f dine a dining table in Italy without a bottle of fresh extra virgin olive oil on it.
Excellent on a slice of crusty bread and perfect for giving flavour to many dishes, its quality is the most important thing to keep in mind.
How to recognise a good olive oil?
From the information on the label to color and clarity, from the scent and tingling taste to the price.
We have selected for you 12 useful tips to help with the purchase.
1) Check the acidity:
The quality of an oil depends mainly on its acidity, which is given by the percentage of oleic acid it contains. This indicates the alterations that the olives have undergone from the harvest to the transformation process: the higher the value, the less the oil will be of quality. Acidity therefore makes it possible to classify the various types of oils: extra virgin olive oil represents the best quality and to be defined as such it must have an acidity level lower than 8 grams per litre.
The acidity can be measured only by laboratory analysis since the oleic acid is tasteless and odorless.
2) Read the label:
The more information on the label, the better. The indication of origin of the olives (for example "100% Italian"), the type, the place of pressing and bottling, the wording PDO or PGI, are all information that can direct us towards a more quality oil that does not has nothing to hide. All Eat Amore extra virgin olive oils show their certification, whether they are PGI or Bio.
Find out more about our extra virgin olive oils
3) About the production process:
An oil bearing the wording "cold pressing" may be of better quality. The writing can be reported on the bottle when the pressing temperature of the olives does not exceed 27 °, a condition that allows to keep intact and enhance the organoleptic characteristics of the oil and its aromas
4) Pay attention to the bottle:
Choose oils in a dark glass bottle which protect the content from direct light and slows down the oxidation and the rancidity process. Once purchased, keep the oil away from sources of light and heat.
5) Ignore the colour:
Generally we are used to associating a good oil with the green colour. In reality, colour is not a parameter to rely on to establish the quality of the oil (it depends on many factors such as the maturation of the olives, their type, ageing, etc.). There may be very bad green oils (perhaps obtained by adding synthetic chlorophyll or the "greenish" of the second pressing oil) and oils of a very good golden-yellow color.
6) Don’t bother with the clarity:
Oil clarity is not always a judgment parameter. Industrial oils are generally filtered to eliminate water particles that could ruin the product and therefore to lengthen their conservation, or simply to satisfy the consumer's eye more. Instead, it is easier to find an unfiltered oil from a small artisan manufacturer.
7) Focus on the scent:
The smell is one of the most important parameters for judging an oil. The quality extra virgin must have a fresh olive vegetable scent, fruity hints from the artichoke to the apple to the almond.
8) The freshness:
A quality oil must not present a smell of sludge (typical of olives piled up or stored in bad conditions), rancid, mold and humidity, must not have metallic or vinegar, brine, damp wood scents, of earth.
9) The fluidity:
The degree of fluidity of a good extra virgin olive oil must be medium-low. Spin it in a glass and watch. If it is too fluid it means that it contains too many polyunsaturated fatty acids such as seed oil.
10) The taste:
The taste of quality oil must reveal bitter and spicy sensations. The tingling is not a defect, on the contrary, it indicates the high presence in the oil of polyphenols, beneficial for the organism.
11) The expiry date:
The expiry date of the oil in Italy has always been indicated up to 18 months after bottling. However, a new law passed by Parliament last summer has canceled this limit in compliance with European legislation. It is now at the discretion of the manufacturer to indicate how long the maintenance of the organoleptic properties and the quality of the oil are guaranteed.
12) The price:
Be conscious of an oil with a very low cost. A quality extra virgin olive oil, according to "Coldiretti", the Italian National Farmers Association, should not cost less than 8 euros per litre (after transportation to the UK and customs clearance processes following Brexit rules, this reference price may increase significantly).