Extra Virgin Olive Oil and how is it different from Virgin Olive Oil?

Definitely not. Virgin olive oil and extra virgin olive oil are not the same product. There are great differences between these two types of olive oil, and it is important to get to know them in order to choose the best quality product. 

On many occasions the industry itself has created confusing advertising campaigns to present a lower quality product on behalf of another, and this action harms the good work of so many farmers who work every day to present a premium extra virgin olive oil.

 

What do we mean when we talk about Virgin Olive Oil (VOO)?

Virgin Olive Oil (VOO) generally has a free acidity expressed in oleic acid that must be a maximum of 2%. At a sensory level, its fruitiness must be greater than 0 and it may have a defect that cannot exceed a score of 3.5 (out of 10) in a tasting panel.

 

What do we mean when we talk about Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)? 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) has a free acidity expressed in oleic acid of less than 0.8%, it has not been subjected to any refinement process and in the tasting panels it must provide a fruitiness greater than 0, and it cannot present any type of defect at an organoleptic level. In addition, for the extraction of extra virgin olive oil, only mechanical processes should have been used.

Their nutritional properties are not affected either, and they maintain all their benefits such as Omega 3, vitamin E or essential polyunsaturated fatty acids, among others. 

One of the main differences between VOO and EVOO is their organoleptic quality. In the case of virgin olive oil, the presence of some defects, imperceptible to the common consumer, are allowed. Extra virgin olive oil cannot afford to fail in terms of sensory quality, and the margin of defect has to be 0.

 

A good extra virgin olive oil begins with a key product: the olive

It all starts in the countryside: the land where the olive trees live and where their fruits grow must present the best possible conditions, and the work of the soil and the care of the trees must respect the cycles of nature. 

 

 

To obtain an optimal extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), we need to start with an excellent raw material. The characteristics, quality and typology of the olives will be decisive when producing a unique oil, and will have a direct impact on the final organoleptic properties of the product. 

For this reason, it is also important to bear in mind that the moment of harvesting the olives is key, since they must be at their ideal moment of maturation. Olives need to be carefully harvested and milled in the shortest time possible to avoid any problem that may lead to defects in the final result of the production.

How can we choose a good Extra Virgin Olive Oil? 

When choosing a good extra virgin olive oil of the highest quality, we can use its labeling as a guide. On its label we will try to find some reference words or main characteristics, such as the following: 

1. Early harvest: 

The early harvest is an upward trend, since it makes it easier for the olives to maintain a correct natural acidity and good freshness, characteristics that will greatly influence the final product. In the early harvest, the olives are prevented from being excessively overripe. 

2. Olive variety: 

There are oils made from a mixture of olive varieties, and there are oils whose production process has only used a specific variety. These monovarietals are easy to identify, and they are a clear commitment by the olive maker to better reflect all the character and flavor that a single variety can have. In both cases, it must be identified on the label.

3. Ecological/Biological Farming:

It is an indicator that the field and the olive trees have been treated with the least possible intervention and without adding chemicals or pesticides that can be harmful to health. More and more small farmers reduce the use of pesticides or prevent problems naturally, even if they do not get to certify the land and the crop.

The quality of an oil is conditioned by several factors: the land, the trees, the weather, the type of olives, sustainability in cultivation techniques and finally, the talent of the hands that make it. A good mill master can produce an excellent EVOO with any variety.

Respect for nature and traditional production methods are essential to understand what level of excellence can extra virgin olive reach. Knowledge of the product and its optimal harvesting and processing times are also key. 

If there is a good balance, we can have a great product as a result.

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Why use EVOO in the kitchen

Por qué utilizar AOVE en la cocina

Become a gourmet and take care of your health by adding EVOO in your dishes

One of the main advantages of using extra virgin olive oil in the kitchen is that this natural product not only helps to enhance the flavors in dishes, but also helps to take care of our health.

El AOVE  premium posee múltiples propiedades organolépticas y nutricionales que se ven muy potenciadas en aquellas dietas equilibradas en las que el producto de calidad es la gran estrella. 

Using EVOO in the kitchen is not only a pleasure, but also a good way to provide our body with a series of essential nutritional attributes for its proper physical and intellectual functioning. 

Liquid gold is much more beneficial than we can imagine, and it is not only a matter of taste, aroma or color: its consumption is part of a whole philosophy of life, more oriented towards connecting with the earth and to healthy eating habits. 

 

Nutritional Properties of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Virgin olive oil provides essential vitamins and acids for the proper functioning of our body. Omega 3, Vitamin E, monounsaturated fatty acids, polyphenols or antioxidants are some of the nutritional properties that we need to include in our diet to maintain optimal health, and EVOO is a good source to incorporate all these elements. 

 

Omega 3

Omega 3 belongs to the polyunsaturated fats that our body does not produce naturally, therefore, it is essential to find a good source that provides us with its properties in the right measure. 

 

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a great source of natural antioxidants that help our immune system stay healthy. It is also a powerful anti-inflammatory that helps keep defenses strong, and contributes positively to skin and hair care. 

 

Polyphenols

Polyphenols act as a protective barrier against the effects produced by free radicals on our body, and in turn, help prevent cardiovascular diseases. 

Health benefits

How does the intake of these properties translate into our health? EVOO provides us with a good supply of these essential fatty elements of plant origin, as well as essential vitamins in our diet. 

Another benefit of extra virgin olive oil is that it helps us to make digestion easier, preventing and reducing reflux or constipation problems that generally complicate intestinal transit.  

EVOO is also antifungal and anti-inflammatory, and can help prevent the onset of cardiovascular problems.

 

What kind of dishes benefit from cooking with extra virgin olive oil?

Whether we are about to prepare a light dish or if we want to cook a much more forceful traditional dish, EVOO will help us to make the flavors and aromas conquer the stomach of our guests. 

Whether we are about to prepare a light dish or if we want to cook a much more forceful traditional dish, EVOO will help us to make the flavors and aromas conquer the stomach of our guests. 

Raw EVOO is excellent in:

 

  • Preparations of dressings or sauces such as allioli
  • Salads
  • Cold soups (gazpacho, salmorejo,…) or hot (a cream of vegetables on top,…)
  • Boiled (cauliflower, broccoli, green beans,…) 
  • Preserves: candied foods, pickled or prepared with oil as the main natural preservative. 
  • On top of any grilled meat or fish
  • Carpaccios

 

EVOO at temperature is excellent in:

  • Sauteed various foods such as vegetables and meats 
  • Baked dishes or stews
  • Preparation of biscuits.
  • Rice
  • Simpler dishes like fried eggs

 

We invite you to experiment, if you have several EVOO at home you can try and add a different one each time, for example on a good piece of red meat or chicken, on grilled fish loins, in the salad or on top of a piece of roasted pepper, grilled octopus, vegetable cream. EVOO can be equally convenient to add to vegetable stews.

 

And what about the fried dishes? 

El AOVE se adhiere menos a las frituras y a los rebozados que otros tipos de aceite, y les proporciona una textura crujiente y fresca. Los sabores también se ven claramente potenciados, ya que el aceite de oliva virgen extra proporciona a los alimentos unos aromas y sabores particulares únicos.  Cabe destacar que no todas las variedades son óptimas para ser utilizados en fritura: no es recomendable usar las variedades arbequina y hojiblanca, por ejemplo.

 

EVOO and heat: what temperature can it resist?

Extra virgin olive oil can withstand high temperatures, although everything has a limit. If we see that the oil begins to smoke, we must quickly remove it from the heat, since from that moment on the oil will begin to deteriorate.

Important: extra virgin olive oil must not burn! Burnt oil completely loses its nutritional and organoleptic properties and, although it can withstand a temperature of up to 210º C, it is advisable not to bring it to the smoking point.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil contributes beneficially to our health and our diet, and also fills our dishes with colour and flavour. Any food can be pleasantly transformed thanks to the organoleptic properties of EVOO, becoming a way of enjoying gastronomy while taking care of our body.

 

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What are ancient olive trees? Discover its interesting history

Ancient olive trees are some of the first trees domesticated by civilization. These majestic trees have been spread for more than a thousand years among the 27 municipalities that comprise the areas of Castellón, Tarragona and Teruel mainly, where the population of olive trees has more than 6000 specimens. 

Olive trees are one of the longest-lived trees found in nature, partly due to the great resistance they show against adverse weather conditions such as droughts. Their fruit has marked and conditioned Mediterranean culture and gastronomy over years. 

Ancient olive trees' importance as a unique World Heritage Site is so relevant that two years ago UNESCO marked a special date on the calendar to honour these incredible trees: November 26th has become World Olive Tree Day. These mitic plants are considered not only as a source of a highly beneficial product for health but also as a fundamental part of our diet and the engine of the economy of many people.

 

RadixNostra Oliveres 03Oliv

 

Ancient olive trees: history and characteristics

The cultivation of olive trees is a Mediterranean tradition that began with the Phoenicians and that has been maintained over time thanks to a solid cultural tradition that has been passed from generation to generation until today. These trees can narrate great stories for the simple fact of existing. 

The Maestrazgo area has witnessed the cultural tradition of planting olive trees since back to Roman times. The area has managed to make tradition and modernity begin to understand each other and respect each other for a common good: the conservation of ancient olive trees.

The oldest olive tree in Spain is considered to have been planted 1702 years ago, and it is located in the area of ​​Ulldecona, Tarragona. It is an olive tree of the Farga variety, which results in an aromatic extra virgin olive oil that is pleasant to the senses. 

The ancient olive tree is a born fighter: conditioned to surviving in poor and very dry soils for long seasonal periods. Its incredible resistance allows it to grow in these circumstances without the quality of its products being minimally affected.

One of its strengths in creating one of the greatest resistance in the plant kingdom lies in its base structure: the diameter of its trunk grows spiral and becomes thicker and thicker over the years, providing great stability to the tree.

However, and despite the sizes that the trees can reach (10 metres diameter of the trunk and up to 30 metres in height of the crown), the production of olives they give is quite small. Its fruits ripen throughout the summer and until the beginning of December, although the trend in the sector is to harvest the rather green olives to guarantee that the subsequent extra virgin olive oil has the appropriate acidity and bitterness. 

 

RadixNostra Oliveres 02

 

The gold of the Mediterranean: Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Extra virgin olive oil is one of the most representative products of the Mediterranean diet, recognized both nationally and internationally as a unique product with a prominent role in the preparation of all kinds of dishes.

Olive trees were one of the first plants domesticated by people, and the production of extra virgin olive oil is a business that has supported hundreds of generations economically, and whose business has been on the rise in recent decades.

Currently, Spain is the largest producer of extra virgin olive oil in the European Union, according to the latest data provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and the main exporter worldwide. This data is not only the trend of recent years but the foresee of an increase in the future.

 

Present and future of ancient olive trees

Given that the demand for extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is increasing worldwide, the cultivation of olive trees has spread beyond the Mediterranean borders, and it is already common to find olive trees in latitudes between 30º and 40º, which aspire to have, at some point, ancient olive trees capable of producing high-quality oils with similar characteristics to those from their original area.

Although the ancient olive trees are a symbol of affection for the tradition of agriculture and the patience that respect for nature entails, there is also a dark side linked to mere economic speculation. 

As it is a low production plant, many farmers do not see the possibility of maintaining a profitable business from its fruits and decide that it is more lucrative to sell these trees than to preserve them as part of the heritage of Humanity and as a legacy for the future generations. 

Millenary olive trees can reach prices of up to 50,000 euros in the luxury market. Among its main buyers are countries from Northern Europe and the East countries, which generally look for these trees as ornamental elements for gardens, golf courses, luxury hotels, among other areas inside and outside cities.

The sale of ancient olive trees is a lucrative business on the rise that, however, leaves a very slight profit to its owners, since these exorbitant sales are usually carried out by private companies specialised in the luxury market. The farmer receives a minimum income from the sale, and the cultural loss is immense since by selling the territory a part of History is lost and the legacy of future generations is truncated. The ancient olive trees have been the reference for many generations, and their value goes far beyond the purely economic value.

Saving the ancient olive trees is a collective responsibility, and requires citizen and institutional involvement. A farmer deserves to be able to live from his fields, but without adequate support, it is difficult for this sector to maintain a tradition that cannot guarantee them a minimum subsistence. 

It is in our hands to be able to preserve the ancient olive trees from extinction and maintain the place they deserve as part of our history. The work of the associations or the law approved by the Parliament of Catalonia to save these trees from plundering might be some of the first good steps towards conserving a fairer landscape. 

 

Fotograma El Olivo , Iziar Bollaín

Link to the trailer for the film “El Olivo”, by Iciar Bollarín https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KC6qSUFMTEo

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