How To Identify A High Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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Why Morocco Gold Is Best Choice Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Updated 10th September 2021

Buying The Right Extra Virgin Oil
Our tastings at Fortnum & Mason are always an event

The benefits of olive oil are becoming more and more well known, but how do you make sure you are buying the best olive oil, high in health enhancing polyphenols? We explain why Morocco Gold is the best choice extra virgin olive oil.

Olive oil is one of the world’s most ancient foods and it’s one of the most common cooking ingredients. In fact, there’s probably a bottle sitting in your pantry right now. As well as tasting delicious, the best extra virgin olive oils are packed with heart-healthy polyphenols. With so many olive oils on the market buying the right extra virgin olive oil can be difficult.

However, this kitchen staple is often shrouded in confusion: regular vs. extra virgin olive oil: what’s the difference; what is the best brand of extra virgin olive oil to buy; what is the highest quality extra virgin olive oil; is it OK to cook with extra virgin olive oil?

“Extra virgin olive oil is so versatile because there are many flavours, notes, and colors,” says New York chef and food stylist Jennifer Ophir. “In that respect, it’s like wine.” And like wine, it can be intimidating. But don’t let intimidation stop you from enjoying this highly delicious and healthy ‘superfood’.

Think Of Extra Virgin Olive Oil As Olive Juice.

“Extra virgin olive oil is a fruit juice,” explains Nicholas Coleman, chief oleologist (fancy term for olive oil expert) at Eataly NY. And when fresh, that juice can be a bit intense. Similar to dark chocolate and craft beers, good, fresh extra virgin olive oil has notes of bitterness.

“Fresh oils can have a pungent, lingering black pepper finish that slowly trails off in the back of the throat,” says Coleman. The amazing and sometimes intense peppery sensation is a marker of high-quality extra virgin olive oil. It occurs because of the polyphenols found in high quality extra virgin olive oil that provide the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

What Makes Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil The Best Olive Oil?

Extra virgin olive oil, sunflower oil and canola oil are high in monounsaturated fat (the healthy-for-you kind of fat). So what would put extra virgin olive oil above the others if their fat make-up so similar? It’s not just about the kind of fat molecules that they are made up of, extra virgin olive oil has some extra magic. The biggest thing that makes extra virgin olive oil so healthy is its unique disease-fighting component, polyphenols. The amount of polyphenols found in extra virgin olive oil is truly amazing!

What Are Polyphenols?

Polyphenols are a group of over 500 phytochemicals, which are naturally occurring micronutrients in plants. These compounds give a plant its colour and can help to protect it from various dangers. When you eat plants with polyphenols, you reap the health benefits as well.

Polyphenols In Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Polyphenols are a key component in extra virgin olive oil and are considered to be one of the best health enhancing benefits within the oil. Polyphenols are a potent antioxidant – one that can decommission a nasty molecule in your body called free radicals. Free radicals can ricochet around inside your body and harm good cells. Antioxidants, such as the polyphenols found in extra virgin olive oil, work to neutralize free radicals, protecting the body from their harmful effects. It’s also thought that polyphenols contribute to keep the body being in an anti-inflammatory state. This is also associated with a lower risk of several chronic diseases. 

They also protect the olive oil from oxidative damage and contribute to its superior longevity and shelf life. They also affect the taste of extra virgin olive oil and give it its distinctive bitter flavour.

Polyphenols In Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The high polyphenol content of Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil is dependent on three factors. First is the variety of the olive, secondly the climate and terroire of the growing region and thirdly the actual time in the growing season that the crop is harvested.

Morocco Gold is pressed from the Picholine Marocaine, the only type of olive to go into Morocco Gold. Oil from this variety is renowned for it’s high polyphenol count, oxidative stability and longevity.

Our olives are grown in a valley that is about 2,000 feet above sea level. This helps to create the additional climatic challenges that encourage polyphenol uptake within the olive tree. It is also an area with naturally occurring high phenols in the soil itself.

Thirdly, our olives are picked when the fruit is young and green. As the olives age on the tree, the colour of the olive changes to red and then black, the size of the olive increases thus producing more oil, but the polyphenol level decreases. There is a great deal of expertise within the farming community where we source our oil to ensure that the harvest is collected at the optimum time to maximise the polyphenol level.

Types Of Polyphenols

There are a number of different types of polyphenols in Extra Virgin olive oil, including oleuropein, tyrosol, hydroxytyrosol, oleocanthal and oleacein.  Each are considered extremely strong antioxidants, and are linked to a number of different benefits, including:

  • Maintenance of normal blood pressure
  • Keeping the upper respiratory tract healthy
  • Protecting proteins in the brain that are involved in memory, learning and thinking
  • Helping to keep blood sugar under control
  • Treating the symptoms of and/or preventing type 2 diabetes
  • Protecting blood lipids from oxidative damage
  • Acting as an anti-inflamatory

For Extra Virgin Olive Oil Fresher Is Always Better.

“extra virgin olive oil is adversely affected by several factors including time passed since its pressing, heat, light, and air,” says Steven Jenkins, olive oil expert and author of The Food Life.

At Morocco Gold we take great care to ensure the longevity of our extra virgin olive oil. The selection, early harvesting of our olives, carefully controlled handling and pressing of our olives. As well as the specialist nature of our glass bottle. Designed with a darker green tone and thicker glass wall to maximise protection from UV rays that can interact with and alter foodstuffs. This means that our extra virgin olive oil, if stored in cool conditions, will have an extended shelf life.

To help extend the life of your extra virgin olive oil, be sure to store the bottle in a dark, cool place away from direct sunlight.

What Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil Good For?

“Olive oil adds depth and dimension to virtually any dish,” says Ophir. However, experts like Coleman have careers tasting and assessing the subtleties of olive oil. Hundreds of olive varieties are cultivated around the world, and dozens are valued for producing delicious oil. Different varieties absolutely have different flavour profiles and personalities. In conclusion the end result of the oil is determined by much more including the geography, method of harvesting and pressing.  Again, think wine!

If you’re at a store that allows you to taste extra virgin olive oil, take advantage! We love holding our tasting sessions for Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil at Fortnun & Mason in London and look forward to continuing these after ‘lockdown’.

Which Is The Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

Extra-virgin olive oil like Morocco Gold is the highest quality. It contains no more than 0.8 percent oleic acid (virgin olive oil contains up to 2 percent). Typically, our extra virgin olive oil has around 2% – 4% oleic acid. The acidity comes from free fatty acids and can be detected only in a laboratory. An expert panel of olive oil-tasters (yes, this is a job) must also discern that extra virgin olive oil is up to par and has no taste defects.

“Extra-virgin oil tastes good, smells good, looks good, is good for you, and brings out wonderful flavours you didn’t know existed in all of your favorite foods,” Jenkins says.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil For Cooking.

You can of course cook with extra-virgin olive, you’ll get a wonderful taste and plentiful health benefits. Olive oil is an incredible ingredient, and the cornerstone of the famous Mediterranean diet. Exquisite olive oil elevates everything it touches—salads, grilled veggies, meat and seafood, soups, stews, pasta, and risotto really do go from good to awesome when anointed with extra virgin olive oil like Morocco Gold. “It’s the perfect bridge between tradition and innovation. It can be utilized in a plethora of culinary applications with astounding results,” says Coleman.

Go ahead and pop some bottles of Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil.

Setting A New Standard For Authenticity And The Guarantee Of Extra Virgin Olive Oil Quality

The UK and other markets have experienced challenges due to olive oil supplies from Europe being affected by poor harvest and blight across a number of key olive growing regions.

In addition, research has found that a third of the olive oil being sold in the UK was either fake or in breach of quality standards. Practices include:

  • Falsely labelling poor quality oils as extra virgin olive oil or virgin olive oil
  • Mixing and marketing olive oils from different countries / origins
  • Mixing oils of dubious provenance
  • Use of vegetable oils disguised using artificial colouring and additives

These practices may well have been exacerbated by the impact of blight and adverse weather conditions in EU producer countries in attempts to recover lost volume and value. Our aim to re-establish consumer trust and confidence in extra virgin olive oil as ‘the original superfood’

through setting a new standard for authenticity, traceability and the guarantee of extra virgin olive oil quality with the information included on our labelling.

In particular, we include the results of our annual harvest analysis on each and every bottle of Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil so our customers can see at a glance the quality of our oil.

Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil Labelling Information

To help with buying the right oil our labelling information includes:

OLIVE OIL TESTING :  Our extra virgin olive oil is tested in Morocco by ONSSA (National Office for the Sanitary Protection of Food Products). We carry out further independent testing to IOC standards to re-confirm extra virgin quality. There are strict rules governing the requirements to qualify olive oils as extra virgin, these include:

ACIDITY:

PEROXIDE:

WAX CONTENT:

UV ABS K232:

K232:

Must be <= 0.8%

Must be <= 20 MEQ O2/kg

Must be <= 250 MG/KG

Must be <= 2.50

Must be <= 0.22

In addition, to quote health benefits, POLYPHENOL levels must be >= 250 MG/KG

PRODUCT ORIGIN : The origin of the olives used to make the oil, this information is required by European regulation and law.

DATE OF HARVEST : When the olives were picked and pressed.

MOROCCO GOLD LOT NO. : Unique harvest lot no. for traceability purposes

BEST BEFORE : The period of time in which the product is guaranteed to maintain original flavour and properties

LOCATION OF BOTTLING PLANT: Address / postcode of bottler

REFERENCE : Unique Morocco Gold bottling batch number for traceability purposes

MOROCCO GOLD REGISTRATION : Company identification

STORAGE INFORMATION : The best way to store the product in order to maintain its unique quality and flavour

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION : A breakdown of the dietary contents and properties of the oil, per 100ml

NET QUANTITY : The net amount of olive oil in the bottle (liters or milliliters)

e SYMBOL: Indicates can be sold throughout Europe

EAN-13: Short for European Article Number, this 13 digit product identification code is used on all globally traded goods: the first 9 digits refer to the product manufacturer, the following 3 digits refer to the specific item or product code – and the last digit is a checksum number used to confirm that the code has been generated properly

PRODUCTION CODE: A special number that links the product to its originating production batch

Our labelling enables our customers to make well informed choices about the extra virgin olive oil they prefer. The helps the customer when coming to buying the right oil.

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