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Know your olive oils

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

Behind many great recipes sits the leading lady of Italian cuisine: olive oil

So how can we best appreciate this green elixir and use it to its full potential?

There is not a "one size fits all" when it comes to olive oil

The way in which the olives are processed and refined can vary greatly. And if you've ever stepped foot inside an Italian grocery store you'll know that there is an endless selection to be had!

As a general rule of thumb, the less processed the final product, the better it will be for your health and the more it will retain its organic flavor and aroma.

Use the below chart as a guide when looking to buy your olive oil!

Here you can also find an extensive index of the 42 Extra Virgin Olive Oils that hold the DOP mark (Denominazione di Origine Protetta / Protected Denomination of Origin).

Five facts about olives you might not know

  1. There are over 538 varieties (known as "cultivars") of olive tree in Italy alone! These are responsible for 42% of worldwide cultivation

  2. Most olives cultivars are only good for olive oil production. Only a small number make it to your stuzzichino plate, these are known as table olives.

  3. The taste of each cultivar's oil will vary widely, and is also influenced by the weather conditions of the year - just like a wine vintage!

  4. A single olive tree will produce an average of 30-60kg (66-132lbs) of olives per year.

  5. Approximately 7kg (15lbs) of olives are needed to produce one litre of extra virgin olive oil.

Teresa's Top Tips

To make the most of your Italian olive oil experience, follow Teresa's top three tips:

  1. Don't waste EVOO: although you can of course fry in extra virgin olive oil, it is best savoured raw & as a seasoning

  2. Buy direct: buying from the producer ensures quality as well as affordability! Email me and I can hook you up!

  3. Taste EVOO at every opportunity: think of extra virgin olive oil as a fine wine, each vintage is unique. Travel and taste local!

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