Low Acidity And Health Enhancing Polyphenols Make This Year’s Harvest The Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil Around.
- Our New Harvest: Extra Virgin Olive Oil At Its Best
- What Makes Morocco Gold EVOO So Special?
- Harvesting The Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- What Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
- The Polyphenols In Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
- Recipes For Health & Wellness With Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/ Our New Harvest: Extra Virgin Olive Oil At Its Best
Many extra virgin olive oil lovers out there have been awaiting the arrival of our brand new harvest and, now that it’s here, we are delighted to tell you all about it! This year’s harvest is tasting as wonderful as we would expect and we can’t wait to deliver it to your store cupboards and summer feasts. Read on to find out what makes our newest harvest of the finest extra virgin olive oil so delicious and beneficial to your health.
If you are familiar with what to look for on the label of a quality extra virgin olive oil, these are the top two figures of interest for this year’s harvest.
We are pleased to say our latest harvest continues to provide a low acidity level of 0.28% and a high polyphenol count of 644mg/kg.
- Low acidity : 0.28%
- Total Polyphenols : 644mg/kg
But Why Are These Numbers Important?
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.
Low Acidity in extra virgin olive oil indicates a low amount of free fatty acids in the oil and when looking for nutritious choices, you must choose the ones that have a low acidity level. In addition to this, lower acidity also means that the fruit has undergone less damage, thus offering healthier qualities.
Heritage & Source
Nestled in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, a half-day’s drive outside of Marrakech, exists a unique, unspoiled valley with a terroir and microclimate that provides ideal conditions for growing the prized Picholine Marocaine cultivar, the only type of olive used to create Morocco Gold.
From branch to bottle, no shortcuts are taken, no steps are overlooked. Simply the best Picholine Marocaine olives, selected early in the season, handpicked and cold pressed within 24 hours of picking. These olives give Morocco Gold it’s distinctive green fruitiness, hints of sweet almonds, fresh turf and a hint of herbs. It has the distinctive ‘pepperiness’ of a fine extra virgin olive oil giving Morocco Gold a clean, well-balanced finish.
The end result is a ‘liquid gold’: an incredibly rare, extra virgin olive oil of exceptional quality, extraordinary health benefits and a taste like none other.
It is only recently that this undiscovered source has been appreciated, creating a large demand for this rare and highly sought-after extra virgin olive oil from this unique source from food lovers and culinary connoisseurs alike.
Morocco Gold exemplifies natural, sustainable agricultural methods. It combines centuries of local cultivation and harvesting knowledge, with our rigorous traceability and quality assurance procedures to bring what is locally considered a ‘noble food’ to international markets.
Morocco Gold is rigorously tested both in Morocco by ONSSA (Office National de Securite Sanitaire des Produits Alimentaires), and then further tested to the highest International Olive Council standards. Morocco Gold is fully traceable throughout its production to guarantee provenance, authenticity and extra virgin quality. Uniquely, the results of our annual harvest analysis are printed on each and every bottle of Morocco Gold.
Morocco Gold is leading the way in transforming the Moroccan olive oil sector and setting a new standard for the industry. We work closely with a local co-operative, largely consisting of women. As a country, Morocco’s agricultural sector employs approximately 40% of the nation’s workforce; women comprising nearly half of these employees.
Employment in agriculture has been shown to be at least twice as effective in reducing poverty as growth in other sectors. It is known to reduce poverty directly by raising farm incomes and generating employment.
Morocco Gold is proud to support the empowerment of Moroccan women through employment in the agricultural sector.
Health & Wellness
With extra virgin olive oil deemed the original ‘superfood’, Moroccan Gold is a heart-healthy addition to any regular diet and health-conscious lifestyle. Morocco Gold is teeming in polyphenols, the antioxidants that work to neutralize free radicals, thus protecting the body from cellular damage. Extensive research has shown that high quality extra virgin olive oil like Morocco Gold helps to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, aids in digestive health, and may even prevent diabetes and lessen the severity of osteoporosis.
Why Buy New Harvest Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
For us at Morocco Gold, providing the freshest extra virgin olive oil to our customers is vital. Freshness is key to the wonderful intensity and richness of flavour, also to providing the health enhancing polyphenols within Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil.
That is why as a matter of policy, we only sell extra virgin olive oil on our website that is from the latest year’s harvest. By doing this we are guaranteeing the freshest extra virgin olive oil we have available.
2/ What Makes Morocco Gold EVOO So Special?
The Morocco Gold olive growing area is 280 kms and about 4-hour drive northeast of Marrakesh. It is situated in a raised valley in the foothills of the magnificent Atlas Mountains in the Azilal Province which is part of the Beni Mellal region. The area rarely sees many tourists or outsiders.
This raised valley is between two 1400m Atlas ranges with altitude varying between 700m and 900m along its 40kms. This creates its own micro-climate with temperatures generally 2c below the coastal plain in the daytime and 5c at night-time. These differences, combined with the naturally occurring nutrients in the soil, create uniquely high-quality olive growing conditions for the Picholine Marocaine, the only type of olive used in Morocco Gold.
The Picholine Marocaine
The Picholine Marocaine is the only variety of olive used in the production of Morocco Gold. Oil from the Picholine Marocaine is also recognized for its longevity and high levels of polyphenols. This makes it particularly attractive to health-conscious food lovers – worldwide.
The Importance Of Polyphenols
Extra virgin olive oil is probably the most extensively researched foodstuff on the planet, and the health benefits are evidence based. Thanks to the recent spotlight on the Mediterranean Diet, extensive research has been done on the phytonutrient composition of olive oil. What has been discovered is an extensive list of phytonutrients; one of the most praised is its polyphenols. The number of polyphenols found in extra virgin olive oil is truly amazing!
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 and so protecting the body from their harmful effects.
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 terroir 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 its 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.
3/ Harvesting The Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil
If you’re a farmer, the word harvest elicits myriad emotions. Feelings range from stress to anxiety to relief and to hope and joy. And if you are fortunate enough to allow yourself a few spare moments during this exhausting season, you might just find yourself overwhelmed with a feeling of contentment and satisfaction rarely found in our modern world.
Determining when to harvest is not an exact science. It is an amalgam of a number of factors such as the desired olive oil yield, intended level of antioxidants, and, of course, the desired flavour profile.
It is important to strike the right balance for Morocco Gold customers. Our aim is to combine the taste characteristics of a premium extra virgin olive oil, young and fruity, with the health enhancing polyphenols to create an extra virgin olive oil that is well balanced and not too ‘aggressive’ when taken on its own.
Our olives are picked slightly earlier in the season to maximise the polyphenol content of our oil. This does however mean that the yield – the quantity of oil delivered during pressing is considerably less, although of a higher quality. (see ripening graph)
A key to achieving this balance is the generations of experience of our olive growers, the care and attention the pay to their crop throughout the whole growing season and the dedication and attention to detail paid during the harvesting of Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil olives.
Harvesting requires a lot of preparation and planning including having the team of ‘sisters’ ready and eager, the harvesting equipment in working order, transportation arranged to carry our olives to the mill, are just a few of the preparations that need to be in place. Morocco Gold olives are harvested by hand using flexible combs. Nets and tarpaulins are placed on the ground to avoid contact between the olives and the ground.
When you see those first mounds of olives accumulating in the harvest trays, it’s a magical moment. The thing that have been working for all year is finally coming to fruition. Incidentally, the word itself derives from the Latin frui (“to use, enjoy”) and fruit (sense of “act or state of bearing fruit”). When the fruit is finally being plucked off the trees and collected into trays for milling, it is truly a joyous occasion. There’s a sense of excitement around your hopes for a solid yield with superior flavour.
The sense of anticipation grow as the olives are delivered to the processing plant, unloaded into receiving the hoppers, passed through strippers to removes any impurities and then washed and drained before processing. They are then crushed, turned in malaxers, and spun in high-speed centrifuges to separate out the olive oil.
At last, the ‘liquid gold’ begins to pour into the final vessel. It is at this point that a tasting cup is eased into the stream for the first sample of the season’s olive appreciated oil.
As the cup is lifted there is a pause whilst the fresh aroma that wafts through the air is appreciated. This gives the first indication of the level of fruitiness. The olive oil is then sipped, coat the inside of the palates with viscous oil to assess the taste – is it bitter or mild? The greater the bitterness, the higher the level of polyphenol antioxidants. When swallowed, is there the characteristic ‘bite’ or pepperiness in the back of the throat, an indication of the oil’s pungency, also level of antioxidant polyphenols.
The time between harvest and pulping does not exceed 24 hours. Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil is unfiltered to retain all of its natural properties and goodness. Nothing is added or taken away so that it is the result of the soil, the sun and the rain only.
Every aspect of olive production ultimately affects the oil itself: the growing region (climate, altitude, soil character), methods of growing, harvesting and transporting the fruit, as well as extraction and storage methods. The care that is taken in each of these steps not only affects the taste and quality of the olive oil but its cost, yield, and shelf life.
4/ What Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Extra virgin olive oil is a wholly natural, unrefined oil and the highest quality olive oil you can buy. Genuine extra virgin olive oil is rare and as a result is slightly more expensive. The definition of extra virgin olive oil is very precise regards production methods, taste and chemical composition.
To qualify as extra virgin olive oil, it is an olive oil of less than 0.8% acidity and has no taste defects. In practice, the very best extra virgin olive oils have acidity levels much lower. Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil is consistently below 0.5%, normally around 0.25% to 0.3% depending on the weather conditions throughout the growing season.
Extra virgin olive oil is completely natural. It is not treated with chemicals or altered by temperature. It is typically has a golden-green colour, with a distinctive fresh, green flavour and a light peppery finish.
How the fruit was grown, harvested and transported, how it was pressed into oil, and how the oil was packaged and bottled all contribute to ensure extra virgin olive oil like Morocco Gold is the best quality olive oil you can buy.
Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil Taste:
The taste characteristics of best extra virgin olive oils are:
Fruity: having pleasant fruit flavours characteristic of fresh ripe or green olives
Bitter: with a mostly pleasant acrid flavour sensation on the tongue
Pungent: giving a distinctive peppery sensation in the mouth and throat. This is a sign of abundant nutrients in good, fresh extra virgin olive oil.
Tasting extra virgin olive oil is similar to wine tasting. You want to pour a small amount of the olive oil into a glass and place the bottom of the glass in the palm of your hand to warm up the oil. Gently swirl the glass to release the extra virgin olive oil aromas. Then sniff the olive oil and note the aromas – does it smell like grass or fruit?
Next, take a small slurp and suck the extra virgin olive oil to the back of your throat – this spreads the olive oil throughout your palate and helps release the flavours. Lastly, swallow your extra virgin olive oil and take note of the flavours and any bitterness or pungency. A good extra virgin olive oil will give you a slight burn after you swallow. This indicates the olive oil is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols. Bitterness at the back of your tongue tells you it’s pure.
Bitter, pungent and fruity are positive flavour attributes of extra virgin olive oil. You don’t want your olive oil to taste mouldy, yeasty or muddy. If it smells like crayons or stale nuts, it’s likely old and the oil has gone rancid.
5/ The Polyphenols In Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
There are a number of different types of polyphenols in Morocco Gold 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
We are delighted to say that this year’s harvest continues to provide a low acidity level of 0.28% together with the continuing highest level of polyphenols seen in our extra virgin olive oil. To find out more about these the polyphenols in our extra virgin olive oil and their related health benefits – follow the links below.
|3,4 DHPEA-EDA||85 mg/kg|
|Ligstroside aglycone (p, HPEA-EA)||20 mg/kg|
|Oleuropein aglycone (3,4 DHPEA-EA)||71 mg/kg|
|Oleocanthal p, HPEA-EDA||65 mg/kg|
|Polyphenols Total||644 mg/kg|
The European Food Safety Authority regulation states that extra virgin olive oil with a polyphenol level of 250mg / kg can make health claims. However it is also very specific about which polyphenols this applies to. It specifically states that this must include hydroxytyrosol and its derivites, (oleuropein and tyrosol). So long as these polyphenols are present, the beneficial effects can be obtained with a daily intake of 20gms of olive oil. One tablespoon (US) equates to 13.3gms, so this is around 2 tablespoons per day.
A study, titled Olive Oil Consumption and Cardiovascular Risk in U.S. Adults, monitored the food intake of nearly 100,000 men and women who were free of cancer, heart disease, and stroke at baseline over a 24 year period.
After adjusting for major diet and lifestyle factors, compared with non-consumers, those with an olive oil intake over 1/2 tablespoon per day in place of other fats such as butter had had a 15% lower risk of any kind of cardiovascular disease and a 21% lower risk of coronary artery disease.
The study showed that small dietary changes can have a measurable impact on health. Replacing as little as 5 grams day (1/3 of a tablespoon or 1/2 a pat of butter) of saturated fats with the equivalent amount of olive oil was associated with 5-7% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. Higher olive oil intake was also associated with lower levels of circulating inflammatory biomarkers and a better lipid profile.
The findings, presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions, are similar to those of the 2013 PREDIMED study which found that people who followed a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil for five years had a 30% lower risk of heart attack or stroke and a slower rate of cognitive decline.
To find out more about the health benefits of Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil, follow the link below.
6/ Recipes For Health & Wellness With Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Looking for fresh ideas for at-home meals to boost your health as we emerge from lockdown? Then look no further than the best extra virgin olive oil for health and taste in your lockdown lunch.
With our new 2022 Morocco Gold harvest now available, it’s the perfect excuse to start planning your disease-fighting, polyphenol packed lunches for the month ahead.
The whole Morocco Gold team have worked harder than ever to ensure the perfect balance of polyphenols to deliver a fresh, fruity flavour while maximising the powerful health benefits. This is great news for our health and our taste buds, so we wanted to share some fresh ideas on how to how to use extra virgin olive oil in your home or office menu!
High quality extra virgin olive oils like Morocco Gold are also like fine wines. They are the product of the type of olive, the soil conditions in which the olives grow, the climate and the time the olives are harvested and pressed. This means there are a whole range of flavour profiles.
The particular characteristics of Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil, with its distinctive green fruitiness, hints of almond and herbs, fresh turf and the peppery aftertaste, gives a vibrant, well-balanced finish. For health conscious, discerning food lovers across all cultures and culinary backgrounds, Morocco Gold is a natural, unfiltered, ultra-premium, polyphenol rich extra virgin olive oil, whose exquisite taste and health enhancing qualities are guaranteed by our rigorous testing, provenance and authenticity, and strict adherence to single estate sourcing, with no blending or mixing.
And it couldn’t be easier to order your premium extra virgin olive oil from our wonderful new harvest by heading over to our Morocco Gold Shop page today.
Is It OK To Cook With Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Although we are more used to using extra virgin olive oil as a dressing or a dip, it can also be used as a cooking ingredient. The smoke point of an oil is the temperature at which it starts to degrade and produce visible smoke. When cooking with extra virgin olive oil, it’s smoke point is somewhere around 374–405°F (190–207°C). This makes it a good choice for most cooking methods.
As explained in full in this article from Healthline, extra virgin olive oil holds up well during heating due to its high antioxidant and low polyunsaturated fat content.
Enjoy some more recipe ideas with Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil here…