Olive oil is the juice of the fruit obtained by mechanical means only (extra virgin category).
The olive as such is rarely eaten directly from the tree as you would do with an apple, it would be very bitter!
The olive becomes an eatable fruit after a fermentation process.
The fruit becomes an oil after the liquid is extracted by using only mechanical means (extra virgin category). If the oil obtained isn't qualified as extra virgin and requires additional steps to be eatable such as refining with chemical components is then called "olive oil or refined olive oil".
The olives are washed, clashed and then separated in a centrifuge machine all under 28 degrees Celsius to preserve its positive attributes of freshness, bitterness and pungency. It stays on decanters for about two weeks andt then bottled as per demand. While on stainless steel deposits the temperature and the light is still a key factor to obtain a good extra virgin olive oil.
Extra virgin is the top category, a panel of experts tastes samples from the farmers and evaluates its taste, freshness, bitterness and pungency and qualifies them.
There are chemical analysis undertaken to check how many free fatty acids are broken on the process, it should be less than 0.8% to be considered extra virgin by EU. Most of the artisan ones reach 0.3% maximum . In Spain many supermarket sell the range from 0.2% to 0.4% The less number of fatty acids broken on the process the better for our health.
An extra virgin olive oil can come from a monovarietal olive or from a blend of several olive varieties. You can frequently read in the labels from major supermarkets that olives come from EU origin or from several countries EU and non –EU . The big chains buy bulk quantities from mainly Mediterranean countries and package them in the UK as per demand saving thousands on logistics costs but not helping the farmers to obtain a fair price for their job as they mainly lead the markets down in value by trading it as a commodity.
The oils can be considered of mild, medium or high intensity in their bitterness taste.
Some people come to the market specifically requesting very bitter oils or very peppery, Ill offer them different choices to compare and buy.
Extra virgin olive oil can be very aromatic but not all have the same aromas: it can be from a tomato vine to herbs , dry fruits such as almonds or sometimes citrics such as kiwi or granada. These reminiscences don’t mean they have added a tomato on the oil, no way! They are the positive attributes of an extra virgin olive oil as the fruit is impacted by the soil, wind, sun and scarce rain plus the growing techniques used by each farmer family to maintain, harvest and extract the liquid gold.
The extract of the fruit is usually turned into oil in a quick process in an average of 4 to 8h to guarantee maximum quality.
This is the period where we can enjoy their freshness in our meals in an unique way.
There is not an expiry date on an olive oil, there’s a best before date depending on the variety some reach up to 18 months ( picual and corbella) and usually the average is 12 months. No vintage olive oils, just go for the freshest by reading the label or tasting the oil. It deteriorates with time loosing freshness, aromas and bitterness. If you cooked with an olive oil from 5 years ago it will take longer to fry and it will be mainly tasteless, a fat to warm but no taste.
I‘m glad I’ve received new stock and can offer you the best taste to dress all your Christmas meals with the best flavours for your family members!