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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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