Olive oil is one of the finest Italian products. Nevertheless, one can find low quality olive oils in Italy and abroad.
How can you recognize the best Italian olive oil from imitations and budget ones?
This is the season of olive harvest and pressing. Follow me and I’ll take you to discover the secrets of this precious Italian food!
In ancient times olive oil was known as the “golden liquid”. Athletes used to massage their bodies with olive oil, which was used as a medicine and even a magical potion. Olive trees were a symbol of abundance and peace. It has always been an important ingredient of Mediterranean cuisine. The first evidence of the olive oil production dates back to the 4000 BC and the most important written document which regulated the commerce of this precious product is the Hammurabi code (2.500 BC). The Romans planted olive trees in all territories of the empire and established that taxes had to be paid with olive oil. They also classified olive oil according to the different types of pressing. After the fall of the Roman empire and until the IX century the olive trees farms were abandoned because of the barbarian invasions. Lateron the plantations were reintroduced by the benedectin monks. In the XIV century Italy became the major olive oil producer in the world with the greatest variety of different olive tree species.
Today Italy boasts 360 cultivars and 41 PDO certified olive oils. Unfortunately, there are many forgeries and frauds. I wish to share with you a short guide to distinguish the best and authentic olive oil:
Quality olive oil is expensive. Don’t buy low cost olive oil and read carefully the label. PDO certified olive oil must show the special seal and indication of olives provenience, area of production, bottles produced and expiring date.
- Extra virgin olive oil
It’s the finest one. It has only 1% of acidity. Extra virgin olive oil comes from the first or second cold pressing at a temperature of maximum 27C which keeps the organoleptic characteristics.
- Organic olive oil
It’s the purest one since producers can’t use pesticides. The production is limited.
Olive oil is a great and fundamental ingredient of the Mediterranean diet. It is versatile, it can be used raw or cooked, well digestible and recommended for low fats diets.
My favorite local olive oil is the Nobildrupa produced in Brisighella, one of the most charming and best preserved medieval villages. It is produced from 100% Ghiacciola olives. These particular olives are the latest ones. The harvest usually starts at the end of November before the cold. This oil whose production is very limited, boasts a very low acidity, it is rich in vitamins and it’s characterized by a slightly bitter flavor.
If you are visiting Italy in September you have the great opportunity to see the olives harvest, the olives pressing and taste the new oil!
Choose our Dozza & Brisighella: Wine & Olive Oil Tour for an amazing experience off-the-beaten paths!