Exactly like grapes, olives come in different varietals. There are hundreds of olive cultivars in the World. Some cultivars may be preferred as table olives, others for olive oil production, and some cultivars are dual-purpose. Olive cultivars can influence the oil sensory characteristics, although we can not assess the quality of the oil based only on the cultivars.
Every Olive cutivar has its own characteristic. In our shop you can find Olive Oils made from four different Olive cultivars. The Olive Oils made in Andalusia, Spain are made from 100% Picual Olives. Our Olive Oils made from Manzanilla, Morisca and Carrasqueña Olives come from Extremadura, Spain. The above mentioned cultivars have different characteristic in terms of aromas and flavors. (All Pictures shown are for illustration purpose only.)
Our Selection of Olives
Olive oil made from the Arbequina variety is aromatic, sweet and fruity with a little bitterness. Typical aromas: green grass, tomato, apple, banana, ripe fruit. Usually, oils made from the Arbequina olives have a low oxidation resistance. Producers mix the Arbequina olive oil with other olive oils to increase the stability in terms of aroma, body and resistance to oxidation.
The oil extracted from the Picual varietal has medium aromatic profile with medium bitterness. Typical aromas: tomato leaf, floralnotes. Due to its high antioxidant composition this oil is excellent for cooking and frying.
Mosrisca variety has a long history in Spain. Around the 11th century, it was introduced during the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. The Morisca olive tree also well known of the large size of olives it produces. Olive Oil made from Morisca olives has medium-high fruitiness. It is slightly sweet and has a well balanced little bitterness and spiciness.
Olive Oil made from Carrasqueña olives has average intensity of fruity, with a combination of greens and characteristics of leaf and grass. There are also slight notes of almond and aromatic herbs. It is slightly bitter and spicy, which is well balanced with a hint of apple.
Hojiblanca is the third most popular variety in Spain in terms of corp area. The provinces of Andalusia play a key role in Hojoblnca olive cultivation. Hojiblanca olives are used both for the production of table olives and olive oil. Olive Oil made from the Hojiblanca variety has a pleasant aroma of cut grass, fresh fruit with hints of almond, tomato and apple. The Olive Oil made from the Hojiblanca variety has intense fruitiness, slightly bitter, sweet and spicy.
The Arróniz olive tree is mostly cultivated in the province of Navarra and Álava, as it adapts well to the cold and dry weather conditions of the area. The Olive Oil made from Arróniz olive has aromas of tomato and ripe fruits with a mild flavour and little bitterness. If it's harvested early in the season it presents higher levels of bitterness and spiciness. Olive Oil made from Arróniz olives is stable, so it is suitable for frying.
The Olive Oil made from empeltre olives is sweet with fruity aromas and it has a mild taste. The empltre olive tree adapts well to poor quality soil, but its yield is relatively high. Empeltre olives are mainly used for oil production.
The oil extracted from Cornicabra olives has a high content of Oleocanthal. Typical aromas: green leaves, tomato and almond. Early harvested Cornicabea oil is intense, spicy and bitter. If the olives are harvested later in the season the oil can be more forgiving, sweet with notes of exotic fruits just as avocado. As it is a stable oil it is suitable for cooking and frying.
The oil extracted from the Manzanilla Cacereña olives varietal has a medium aromatic profile, low bitterness and a medium pungency. Typical aromas: grass, straw and pepper. Due to its antioxidant composition, olive oil extracted from Manzanilla Cacereña olives has high stability.
Olive Oil Production and Grades
Olive Oil is a “fruit juice” obtained from olives and the freshness of the Olive Oil is one of the most important factors just like with every fruit juice. The goal of the Olive Oil production should be to create oil with a low level of free fatty acids (damaged fatty acids) and without undesirable aromasand flavours. In order to achieve this goal, all stages of production should be completed in no more than few hours, in the most immaculate sanitary conditions and with extreme care. The stages of the Olive Oil production are as follows: harvesting, defoliation, washing, crushing, malaxation (stirring and massaging the olivepaste), centrifugation, filtering, and racking (pouring the oil into cleantanks). If any of the mentioned stages are carried out without care, it can cause damaged oil with defected aromas and flavours.
In the World of Olive Oil the virgin word refers to the ‘purity’ of the oil. If you see the word virgin on a bottle of Olive Oil, it doesn’t mean the highest quality. The word we are looking for is Extra Virgin. The word Extra Virgin in terms of Olive Oil means the followings: oil produced by using only olives, extracted without excess heat or solvents and not refined or treated so as to neutralize defects. After production, the Olive Oil is not mixed with any other type of oil. When chemically analyzed, it has a free fattyacid content no more than 0.8 grams per 100 grams of oil.
You can also find Virgin Olive Oils on the market as you can find it in our selection as well. The Virgin Olive Oils have slight organoleptic defects as well as some good flavour. We recommend using Virgin Olive Oil or Conventional Extra Virgin Olive Oil for cooking as its price is lower than the Premium Extra Virgin’s. There are many other categories for example Olive Oil and Refined Olive Oils. These oils mostly blended with another oil or refined virgin oils in order to remove defective flavours.
There is only one effective way for consumers to be sure they are buying Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Virgin Olive Oils is to taste the oil, looking for undesirable aromas and flavors. There are many defects as you can smell or taste such as: stale, moldy or fusty smell and a sour, metallic taste.
As we can’t taste the Olive Oil when we are at the shop,it isn’t easy to pick the right one for our taste. Although there are some indicators such as labelling, certifications, price which can help us to choose.
Look at the bottle. In order to preserve quality, Olive Oil is bottled in dark glass.
Certifications and seals of approval. There are many organizations which provide official certifications for Olive Oils. If your oil has one, it can be an indicator for good quality.
The price of the Olive Oil as quality Olive Oil is generally priced higher.
Look for the harvesting date. Many of manufacturers put the harvesting time of the olives on the label.
Another indicator that can also be a good sign of carefully produced Olive Oil would be the Cultivar and Designation. If the manufacturer puts the geographical designation and the cultivars on the label, the consumer can assess the main characteristic of the oil.
Colour of the Olive Oil has no significance. The colour of the Olive Oil can be from yellow to dark green. The colour of the Olive Oil has nothing to do with its quality.
Storing the Olive Oils
The correct storage conditions are important factors in order to preserve the quality of olive oil. Olive oil must be stored properly to guarantee the shelf life and taste. Extra Virgin Olive Oil can be stored longer than the other oils thanks to the high content of phenols. The phenols job is to prevent oxidation in the Olive Oil.
At storing we have to protect the oil from: light, air, heat. Direct exposure to light, air and heat is leading to oxidation, rancidity and loss of fresh and vibrant taste of the oil.
Keep the bottle away from light. The best is if you can keep the oil in a dark place. The cork or cap has to be held tightly. Don’t expose the bottle or can to heat. Do not keep the bottle beside the hob/oven, this is the worst thing you can do with your oil. The best storage condition for the olive oil in terms of temperature is between 15 C and 18 C degrees. Never store the olive oil in the refrigerator. It won't help to prolong the shelflife of the oil. If the olive oil bottle has been opened, it should be consumed within 8 to 12 weeks (unopened bottles within 1 to 2 years).
The more you expose oxygen to the oil the more likely the process of oxidation is hastened. The same rules apply to the olive oils held in cans. Keep in mind once you opened the bottle/can the oxidation begins so treat your oil carefully.
Another important piece of information; if you bought 3 or 5 L cans and you wish to decant some oil to a smaller pourer or dispenser, make sure that you have washed and sterilized the pourer/dispenser properly. If your pour the olive oil in a container that has not been properly cleaned bottle the old oxidized olive oil will contaminate the fresh olive oil.
How to sterilise a bottle? Simply put the cleaned bottle in the oven for 10 minutes on a 180 C degree. You can also put the bottles in boiling water, but we recommend the oven method as it takes more time to dry the bottles inside. If you store your olive oil incorrectly even the best quality olive oil will perish.
Olive Oil in the Kitchen
There is a misconception out there that you should only use Olive Oil raw to dress your salads or finishing your cooked food. Based on our experience Olive Oil is perfect for cooking. People may say it is too expensive or it has a low smoke point, this is not true. We think the best thing what you can do with your food is to cook in a quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It has a considerably high smoke point (180 C), which makes quality Olive Oil perfect even for deep frying. You can also use Olive Oil to sauté or stewas well as to roast. Olive Oil is perfect in every recipe; in fact, you can even use Olive Oil to bake. We always say give it a try and you will see that you opened a door for a different dimension of cooking. Every dish and every oil has its own personality. You pick a recipe and you pick the right oil for it and it will transfer you to another dimension of tastes. It will take time to find your favourite oil but if you are ready to take on this experience you are never going to regret it. Olive Oil tastes good independently of the dish you cook with it. Does your conventional frying and cooking oil taste good? You will find the recommendation of usage beside every product in our shop.
First of all your eyes will tell you nothing about the Olive Oil. There is nothing about the colour. It doesn’t matter if it is yellow or green. It can be that your, sunny yellow Olive Oil tastes amazing and your grass green Olive Oil tastes horribly wrong. One thing for sure, taste as many Olive Oil as you can to learn about the different oils in terms of cultivars,terroir, and harvest time. Important information, always taste the oil on its own. Don’t taste it with tomato or bread, you can’t feel the real taste of the Olive Oil if you do so.
The first step of tasting is to smell the oil then you can taste the oil itself. After you swallowed the oil you can feel the complexity of it. Below you can find a step by step guideline how to taste the Olive Oil.