Oil is the “result” of Mediterranean civilizations’ centuries-old traditions. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVO), the healthy oil, is its evolution.
Talking about EVO, it must be remembered, is very different from talking about the common olive oil.
The denomination “olive oil” means oils made by olives, not by perfectly preserved olives. Fruits that arrive at the oil mill in the worst conditions (damaged, too ripe, with grubs) are consequently transformed into oil that will be lacking in nutritional properties and classified as “inedible”. This kind of oil is called “lampante”. This term identifies, by law, a “too acid” kind of oil, that at the organoleptic test, has a very unpleasant taste. Its only destination is the refinery.
Once at the refinery, lampante oil is chemically treated, until it becomes odourless, flavourless and colourless, and with a very lower acidity level. The so treated oil is introduced again in the die, with the name “refined oil”. Refined oil constitutes more than 90% of volume of oil bottles commercialized with the caption “olive oil”.
On the contrary, EVO is obtained through the machining of perfectly preserved fruits and is the only oil identifiable as healthy condiment.
The EVO typicalities derive from soil, microclimate, cultivation and processing techniques but, above all, from cultivars (cultivated variety). Cultivar is the botanical term used to identify cultivated olive species. The cultivars are predominantly autochthonous, regional, and of ancient acclimatization.
It is estimated that more than 2,000 cultivars exist.
Environment, cultivation systems evolution, and the change of agronomical requirements and dietary habits, led the selection of existing cultivar.
There are more than 600 varieties in the prosperous Italian areas. This richness is due to the different environmental conditions that characterize our olive-growing. These conditions produce fruits, in botany drupes, suited for a variety of purposes from oil to green or black table olives.
Cultivars for oil production usually have medium sized drupes and just one destination: the oil mill.
These olives constitute the basis for valuable Extra Virgin Olive Oil birth.
To obtain a valuable Extra Virgin Olive Oil, it is necessary to care for each and every cultivation phase:
• harvest and washing
• crushing with millstones
• gramolatura (the paste is mixed for a fixed amount of time)
• oil extraction
• centrifugal treatment (to separate oil and vegetation water)
• decantation and/or filtration
• storage and packaging
It is further necessary to take account of many other variables that establish the final product quality, so it is important to remember these basic rules:
• has to be done early, not when the fruit reaches maturity but when it changes colour (from light green to purplish red);
• has to be made using suitable means, to guarantee the fruits’ integrity;
• has to be made using rigid well-aired plastic crates and palletable;
• fruits do not have to be amassed in bags;
• has to happen in fresh, dry, ventilated and hygienic places;
• fruits have to be pressed promptly, if possible within 24 hours;
How to preserve oil:
• use suitable containers: stainless steel and/or glass, resistant and easily washable;
• store at room temperature, around 14°C;
• save it from sudden filtrations;
• provide two pouring off;
• bottle it only after a careful decantation.
Producing a high quality EVO requires deep knowledge from tradition and technical expertises, but first of all, like mentioned before, it requires an ideal environmental and microclimatic situation.
The olive tree favors dry, stony, preferably calcareous, hilly and climatically mild grounds: it is important to remember that the olive originally comes from Middle East.
Moreover, producing a high quality EVO requires a good cultivar and a clever farmer, able to bring the cultivation in every phase (pruning, ground grooming, fertilizing and pesticidal treatments).
This is a difficult combination to obtain, and that is exactly why we are so proud of our Extra Virgin Olive Oil.