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Quality extra virgin olive oil: a quick guide to recognize it

Villa Campestri oil cellar with quality oil

There is a lot of talk about the qualities that an extra virgin olive oil must have but often the information is partial and not complete. Here is a quick guide to recognize extra virgin olive oil!

When the olive oil can be defined as superior quality?

Extra virgin olive oil is defined as the oil obtained from the first pressing of olives through mechanical processes, therefore without recourse to processes or chemical substances.

It is produced under conditions that do not cause alteration of the oil and whose free acidity, expressed in oleic acid, is not higher. 0.8%.

The fresh olives of first quality, picked and squeezed, do not undergo other treatment in addition to washing, separation from twigs and leaves, centrifugation and filtration.

With this production system the oil maintains both the lipid content and the “minor components”, in particular antioxidants, which are so important from a “nutraceutical” point of view.

In all other types of oils, during the refining process, they are almost completely halved and lost.

The benefits of extra virgin olive oil

The benefits that extra virgin olive oil brings to health have been demonstrated in many scientific researches.

Despite being a caloric food (9kcal/g) it has been shown that the populations that consume 60g daily of olive oil gain enormous health benefits from this food.

Below we have reported some of the most important beneficial effects of extra virgin olive oil on health:

  • Circulatory system: prevents arteriosclerosis, heart attack and renal failure;
  • Skin: thanks to vitamin E it has an antioxidant action reducing the signs of aging;
  • Digestive system: improves gastric, intestinal and hepatic function.

How to get a high quality extra-virgin olive oil

If the olive harvest must be done carefully to avoid damage of the fruit, the more delicate process to obtain a quality extra-virgin olive oil is definitely working in the mill.

Villa Campestri Olive Oil Resort has its own a mill that manages the entire process of production of our Tuscan extra-virgin olive oil ensuring the best quality product. Olives are harvested in our olive grove, arrive to the mill within 24 hours from collection: to minimize the risk of degradation of the quality of the olives, it is important to process quickly the olives after harvesting.

After defoliation and washing, olive are immediately crushed to get a paste that is mixed in the “gramola”. After about 40 minutes, the paste is then passed into the decanter, which allows to separate the oil from the rest.

At this point the oil is stored in stainless steel containers and placed under nitrogen for a perfect preservation. Bottling will take place only at the moment of the order.

Years ago we also installed a chemical analysis laboratory, which allows us to immediately check the quality parameters of our oil: acidity, peroxide, polyphenols, and K270.

The regulation for the quality in olive oil production

The EEC Regulation 2568 of 1991 is the most important legal text regarding the characteristics of olive oils and pomace oils and for the methods of determining the related chemical parameters.

The text is the reference point for the whole olive oil sector to define the various types of oil in an unambiguous way and the methods for checking the conformity of an oil sample to the declared category.

Among the compliance parameters covered by the legislation in this sector are acidity, peroxides, waxes and ultraviolet analysis.

Acidity is a very important parameter that gives us information on the quality of the olives. Attacks of fly, poor conservation and other defects on the fruit affect this parameter. The extra virgin must have an acidity lower than 0.8% but oils of excellent quality has values under 0.1-0.2%.

Peroxides, on the other hand, are an important parameter in the conservation phase of the product and are influenced by light, temperature and the presence of oxygen.

The waxes are generally low, but they are much higher on an oil obtained with solvents, such as a pomace oil. So it is a main “anti-fraud” parameter.

The ultraviolet analysis has a dual value both in terms of quality and conformity.

The Classification of Olive Oil

Olive oil, due to its balanced composition, has a certain protective effect on the arteries, on the stomach, on the liver, while allowing, for its organoleptic characteristics, a gratification of the palate.

According to the regulation for the quality in the production of olive oil, it can be classified into:

  • Extra virgin olive oil;
  • Virgin olive oils;
  • Refined olive oil;
  • Olive oil;
  • Raw sansa oil;
  • Refined sansa oil;
  • Olive pomace oil.

An experience at the Oleoteca of Villa Campestri

Villa Campestri is the first Olive Oil Resort in the world.

In the heart of Mugello, immersed in the beauty of this ancient Renaissance Villa, you can experience the absolute pleasure of immersing yourself in the extraordinary world of the oil of excellence.

Our oil comes from an ancient olive grove, from olives processed in the company’s oil mill and then savored in the prestigious ampoules during the tasting courses in our Oleoteca.

At the Villa Campestri’s Oleoteca you can experience a sensory journey that recovers the traces of an ancient culture, unfortunately nowadays largely lost all over the world.

Thanks to the passion and the studies of Paolo Pasquali, owner of the Olive Oil Resort, we will learn the technique of smelling, tasting, observing and exciting ourselves to discover the incredible taste notes of the oils of excellence.

We will learn the true meaning of the word “extra virgin” and how to describe it using correctly the terms “fruity”, “bitter” and “spicy”.

We will discover how to recognize a good oil from a defective one and how to correctly combine the Oils with your creations in the kitchen, transforming a common dish into something extraordinary.

A trip to Tuscany can not be called complete without a sensory experience that will allow you to savor, learn and taste the best extra virgin olive oils produced in this wonderful land. An experience that allows you to combine taste with ancient Tuscan traditions.

OliveToLive: learn how to recognize a quality oil

Some people may seem like just a motto, but for us, “Olive to Live” is a philosophy of life.

In fact we chose the name “Olive Oil Resort” to witness our passion for this product.

We are promoting a re-discovery of the oil that along with wine, can be considered the most typical product of Tuscany. But while we know everything about wine from the type of grape to the importance of different vintages, with regard to the oil often consumers tend to consider all the same, loosing a universe of flavours and very different characteristics.

The re-discovery starts from our olive grove: 5 hectored of plants, some of them centuries old, planted and cared with an ideal setting, surrounded by green forests. From these plants, we obtain the organic olive oil of superior quality that we extract in our mill with new methods.

This is the olive oil that we serve to our guests at “L’Olivaia”, our restaurant and that our Chef uses for dishes: an intact olive oil in its properties, thanks to OliveToLive, a patented system to prevent decay.

“Olive Oil is a delicate product and tends to loose its characteristics in a short time mainly due to oxygen – says Paolo Pasquali, owner of Villa Campestri – OliveToLive is a machine that keeps olive oil under nitrogen in absence of oxygen. OliveToLive maintain the organoleptic characteristics over a long period of time.”

Discover a true love for olive oil

OliveToLive has attracted the interest of the Culinary Institute of America, the American Institute for high-profile chef: in April 2010 we opened the Oleoteca®Villa Campestri thanks to its OlivetoLive.

We are waiting for you at the Villa Campestri Oleoteca to live this unmissable sensorial experience in the world of extra virgin olive oil!

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