Olive Oil: Tips for Consumers

26 Feb, 24 | Olive Oil Tasting,News


Olive Oil: Tips for Consumers

Olive oil, a cornerstone of Mediterranean cuisine, has gained global recognition for its health benefits and exquisite flavor. Yet, it remains relatively unknown, despite being one of the healthiest fats in the world.

Let's delve into the differences between Virgin and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Virgin Olive Oil vs. Extra Virgin: A Breakdown

Virgin Olive Oil

Virgin Olive Oil results from the extraction of olive juice using mechanical methods, without the use of chemicals or thermal treatments. However, it may have slight sensory defects, and its acidity can reach up to 2 degrees.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In contrast, Extra Virgin Olive Oil represents the pinnacle of excellence in olive oils. It is obtained in the same way as Virgin Olive Oil, through mechanical extraction without the use of chemicals or thermal treatments, and should not exhibit appreciable sensory defects. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, when smelled, should evoke scents of grass, fruit, or fig tree... essentially, aromas of nature. Its acidity should not exceed 0.8 degrees, indicating optimal quality.

The Challenge of Labeling


Regrettably, misleading labeling is a reality in the Virgin Olive Oil industry. Oils labeled as "extra virgin" do not always meet the rigorous standards to deserve this designation. The lack of strict regulations in some markets makes it crucial for consumers to equip themselves with knowledge on how to identify the authenticity of Virgin Olive Oil.

The Importance of Sensory Analysis Training

Tasting Virgin Olive Oil is a valuable skill that allows consumers to discern the sensory characteristics of different oils. Through this practice, one can identify scents and flavors like fruity, bitter, and pungent, as well as potential defects like rancidity or vinegary notes, among others.

Consumer Tips

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  1. Check the Harvest Date: More and more extra virgin oils are indicating the harvest date on their labels. Make sure the harvest is as close as possible to the current year.

  2. Trust the Source: Opt for trusted brands and producers known for their commitment to quality. You have at your disposal the official guide to high-quality extra virgin oils, both from cooperatives and individuals. This will facilitate your choice more accurately.

  3. Read the Labels: Scrutinize the label for indications like "extra virgin," quality certifications, and details about the production process.

  4. Look for the Best Before Date: Although virgin olive oil does not expire, it's interesting that the date is as close as possible to the current date. This way, you'll ensure its maximum qualities.

  5. Participate in Tastings: Attend olive oil tasting events and, as much as possible, educate yourself in olive oil tasting. You can also regularly purchase oils from the guide we mentioned, which will help you get accustomed to the quality of extra virgins and differentiate them from the rest.

  6. Disregard Color: The color does not influence the quality of virgin olive oil. Therefore, it's important not to be swayed by the greener hue. Some olive varieties yield paler colors, while others are defective and very green.

Discover the Excellence of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Distinguishing between virgin and Extra Virgin Olive Oil is essential to ensure we are getting the highest quality product.

Training in sensory analysis and getting accustomed to consuming high-quality extra virgin olive oils is a valuable tool for consumers on this journey of discovery.

By arming ourselves with knowledge and trusting reliable sources, we can fully enjoy the benefits and exceptional flavor of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a culinary treasure deserving of appreciation in its highest form.

Here's a video from the investigative television program on La Sexta, where the Technical Director of ESAO, Susana Romera, discusses labeling and virgin olive oil.

*The video is only available in Spanish, so that all those of you who want to familiarize yourselves with the technical language of olive oil can take advantage of it. 


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