We have always welcomed our direct contact with our customers. They are real extra virgin olive oil enthusiasts who want to find out more about Morocco Gold. They want to know where it comes from and why it so special.
With the ongoing worldwide challenges of COVID 19, we have not been able to directly meet our customers at our tasting events. So communication and questions via our various social media channels has taken on an additional priority.
We are delighted to summarise some of the main questions we have been asked about Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil.
We would also like to thank our customers for their kind comments / observations – please keep them coming.
What Is The Polyphenol Level In Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Regarding polyphenols. We know that depending on the variety of olive, the younger the fruit, the higher the polyphenol content. This can result in an oil with an ‘extra-peppery’ sensation. Morocco Gold combines the taste characteristics of a premium extra virgin olive oil, young and fruity. As well as including health enhancing polyphenols. Creating an extra virgin olive oil that is well balanced and non ‘aggressive’ when taken on its own.
The European Food Safety Agency has now approved health claims for extra virgin olive oils with polyphenol content of more than 250mg / kg. This equates to between 2-3 tablespoons per day. We require our Morocco Gold to have a polyphenol level to be greater than 250 mg / kg. Morocco Gold is normally well above this level. That is why we have included the polyphenol level information on our rear label. So our customers can see at a glance the quality of the extra virgin olive oil they are receiving. We currently state ‘above 250mg/kg – going forward we intend to include the actual polyphenol test results year-by-year. This year the polyphenol content was 362mg/kg.
What Determines The Level Of Polyphenols In Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
The polyphenol content of extra virgin olive oil is dependent on three factors. Firstly is the variety of the olive. Secondly, the climate and terroire of the growing region. Thirdly, the harvest time.
We press our olives from the Picholine Marocaine. This is the only type of olive to go into Morocco Gold. It has a high polyphenol count. As well as oxidative stability and longevity.
Our olives are grown in a valley within the foothills of the Atlas mountains. That is about 2,000 feet (600M) above sea level. That does have the additional climatic challenges that encourage polyphenol generation. It is also an area with naturally occurring high phenols in the soil itself. So all in all it is a pretty unique source.
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. In Morocco there is a great deal of expertise within the farming community. We pick our olives to maximise their polyphenol level.
What Is The Shelf Life Of Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
We take great care to ensure the longevity of our extra virgin olive oil. Including the selection, early harvesting of our olives, carefully controlled handling and pressing of our olives, and the specialist nature of our glass bottle. We designed the bottle with a darker tone of green and thicker glass wall to maximise protection from UV rays. This can interact with and alter foodstuffs. These factors mean that our extra virgin olive oil, if stored in cool conditions, will have an extended shelf life of up to 4 years. However it is unlikely that our delicious Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil will not be consumed well before this time!.
Does Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil Come From The Same Region As Dr. Grundy’s?
Whilst it would not really be appropriate for us to comment on another brand, what we can say is that we have a sole supply agreement in place with our own supplier who is based in the foothills of the high Atlas Mountains so it is unlikely that their oil will be from the same source.
It is certainly true that olives grown in ‘challenging’ conditions similar to those found in Morocco do produce more polyphenols. This aids the circulatory system within the olive tree itself. However if the conditions become ‘too challenging’ (insufficient rainfall / drought conditions), you won’t get any fruit at all!
What Is The Difference Between Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil And Oil From My Supermarket?
Whilst it would not really be appropriate for us to comment on any other specific brand, what we can say is this – The category Extra Virgin Olive Oil is clearly defined in legislation throughout the world. The UK and EU are our regulatators. There are other catagories of Olive Oil that are not classified as Extra Virgin and we always encourage customers to look closely at the back label as reputable producers will provide additional information for the customer to make an informed choice when selecting an extra virgin olive oil.
At Morocco Gold we keep a close eye on potential developments with regards to legislation. There are countries and US states that seek to reduce the key measure of the acidity of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. From the current statutory level of 0.8% to 0.5%. Morocco Gold’s quality is such that the acidity of each harvest has always been below 0.5%. This is what the customer will see printed on the back label.
Our Extra Virgin Oil
What we have done with Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil is to re-establish the fundamental principles of extra virgin olive oil. Morocco Gold is from a single estate source. Hand-picked and mechanically pressed within 24 hours at low temperatures. We aim to produce an extra virgin olive oil of low acidity as well as including on our labelling the other parameters that indicate an extra virgin oil of supreme quality.
We also set out to create an extra virgin olive oil that combines the taste characteristics of a premium extra virgin olive oil. That is young and fruity, with the health enhancing polyphenols. To create an extra virgin olive oil that is well balanced and not too ‘aggressive’ (peppery / bitter) when taken on its own. At the end of the day however, it is all a matter of taste.
Is Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil Organic?
Morocco Gold has commenced the process to become organic certified. There is a ‘conversion period’ of up to 3 years. During which time the certifying authority, for example the Soil Association, will carry out tests. These are that no chemical fertilizers, etc are present in the ground. This process applies, even if it were to virgin Amazon rain forest. There is then the Moroccan administrative process to grant organic certification – all in all a lengthy procedure.
Morocco Gold is produced using only natural methods. No chemical fertilizers or pesticides are used. However, we cannot at this stage label our oil as ‘organic’
In no way does this detract from the natural characteristics of the oil itself. We hand pick our olives and cold press the olives within 24 hours. We produce a very high-quality extra virgin olive oil.
Can You Deliver Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil To Australia?
We have recently agreed a working partnership with global logistics company DHL. Yes we can now ship Morocco Gold – worldwide.
Do You Include The Date Of Harvest On Your Label?
Yes – we include the date of harvest on our labels, along with the results of our harvest analysis. This provides our customers with the guarantee of extra virgin olive oil quality. In any given year dependent on the annual climate, harvesting can start as early as November and continue through to the January. It follows that there is only one harvest per season and similar to fine wines only one opportunity to collect and produce Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil in any given year. Once its gone it gone!
Where Morocco Gold Is Shipped From?
Our olives are grown in a relatively remote part of Morocco around a 4 hour drive to the north east of Marrakech. They are picked early in the harvesting season, normally in November and are taken to our modern local plant where they are pressed – hence the ‘cold pressed within 24 hours’. We then bulk ship the oil to the UK where it is bottled and packed under British Retail Consortium (BRC) AA standard conditions.
The oil is bottled and packed and sent to our fulfilment and distribution centres in Northampton for our UK and European customers, and to Ohio for our USA customers. Initially, all fulfilment and distribution was carried out at Northampton in the UK, however as the business in the US has grown and in order to improve delivery service, we now supply the US through our fulfilment and distribution facility in Ohio.
Robert T Watson B.Sc. M.Brew. D.B.A. (Durham University Business School)