What To Look For To Get The Best Olive Oil
Updated October 2nd 2020
Not all olive oil is the same. There are different grades of olive oil according to its level of acidity, or level of free oleic acid that will determine which is the best olive oil. The amount of free oleic acid in olive oil indicates the extent to which fat has broken down into fatty acids.
Olive oil also falls into two distinct categories: refined and unrefined. The best olive oil is unrefined, pure and untreated. Refined oil is treated to remove naturally occurring nutrients from the oil.
In summary there are five different types of olive oil:
1/ The Best Quality : Extra Virgin Olive Oil
To be the best olive oil, the definition of extra virgin olive oil is very precise regards production methods, taste and chemical composition. To be certified as extra virgin, an olive oil must:
- Come from a single source, it is not mixed / blended with other olive oils, even if they are of extra virgin quality
- Come from the first pressing of fresh, young olives, normally within 24 hours of harvesting
- Be extracted purely by mechanical means at temperatures specifically below 28C.
- Have free fatty acid or acidity level (normally measured as oleic acid) of less than 0.8%.
- Be defect free and have a perfect taste and aroma.
Extra virgin olive oil is the highest grade and is the best olive oil. The organoleptic (taste) characteristics of a high-quality extra virgin olive oil are typically:
- It has pleasant spicy, fruity flavours characteristic of fresh ripe or green olives. Fruitiness varies with the variety of olive. Green fruit yields olive oils that are grassy and herbaceous.
- More mature, ripe fruit yields olive oils that are milder, aromatic, buttery and floral.
- Creating a pleasant acrid flavour or sensation on the tongue
- Creating a peppery sensation in the mouth and throat.
High quality extra virgin olive oils also contain the antioxidants and polyphenols that give the health enhancing qualities associated with olive oil.
2/ Virgin Olive Oil
Next in quality, as categorized by the standards of the International Olive Council, is virgin olive oil. It’s made using a similar process as extra-virgin olive oil and is also an unrefined oil, meaning chemicals or heat are not used to extract oil from the fruit. Virgin olive oil also maintains the purity and taste of the olive, though production standards are not as rigid.
According to the standards of the International Olive Council, virgin olive oil has a slightly higher level of oleic acid of up to 2%. It also has a slightly less intense flavour than extra-virgin olive oil. Virgin oil is rarely found, if ever, however, in grocery stores; usually your choice will be between extra-virgin, regular, and light olive oils.
3/ Refined Olive Oil
For instance, these are olive oils that have been refined by using agents such as acids, alkalis and heat to extract as much oil as possible from the olive pulp that remains after the first pressing. The result is a fattier and more acidic oil which lacks taste, aroma and natural antioxidants found in extra virgin olive oil.
Producers then need to add unrefined extra virgin or virgin olive oil to give refined olive oil some flavour, colour and aroma into the blend. Terms such as “pure” or “100% pure” or “Light” are made up terms used by large producers and supermarkets. If the label states “pure” or “100% pure” or “Light” then the olive oil is a refined oil lacking the taste, aroma and quality of extra virgin olive oil.
4/ Olive Pomace Oil
The lowest grade of olive oil made from the by-products of extra virgin olive oil production. Olive skins, seeds and pulp are heated and the remaining oil is extracted using solvent. The result, pomace oil, is then put through a refining process, similar to pure or light olive oil.
However, Pomace olive oil is bland and extremely low in antioxidants.
5/ Lampante Oil
Lastly, lampante oil comes from bad fruit or poor processing practices and has severe taste defects. It is not fit for human consumption until it has been refined.
About Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Above all for the health conscious, discerning food lovers Morocco Gold is a natural, unfiltered, ultra premium, polyphenol rich extra virgin olive oil. Our 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.
In conclusion we include the results of our chemical analysis for acidity, peroxide and ultra violet testing on each-and-every bottle of Morocco Gold so that our customers can see at a glance the guarantee of extra virgin olive oil quality.