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 cultivar has its own characteristic in terms of aromas and taste.
Our Selection of Olives
Arbequina is a traditional Spanish variety. Arbequina is the second most popular variety in Spain in terms of corp area.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 Picual olives are one of themost cultivated varieties of Spain. The olive oil extracted from Picual olives has a medium aromatic profile with pleasant notes of tomato, fig tree, olive leaf, and freshly cut grass. Its oil is also well known for its strong bitter- and spiciness. It is often mixed with other oil to soften its bitterness and enhance its fruity flavor. Thanks to its stability the olive oil extracted from Picual olive has a long shelf life and makes it stable for cooking or frying.
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 Cornicabra 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.
Morisca 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 is also well known for 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 with little bitterness and spiciness.
Moraiolo is an Italian variety and originates from the Tuscany region. It is well known for its quality of oil it produces. The Moraiolo Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a distinctively fruity oil with high intensity of bitter- and spiciness. Olive Oil made from the Moraiolo variety has pleasant aromas of fresh grass, green almond and artichoke.
Itrana olives are a native variety in Lazio, Italy. It is mostly used as a table olive as its flesh can easily be removed from the pulp. Its oil has remarkable fruity notes with medium bitter- and spiciness. The Itrana Extra Virgin Olive Oil has an outstanding aroma of fresh-cut grass, artichoke, tomato and green almond.
Leccino is one of the rustic Italian varieties, mainly cultivated in Umbria and Tuscany. Although nowadays it is expanding to regions in Lazio, Puglia, Abruzzo, Campania and Marche. You can find Leccino olive trees all around the world, thanks to their good adaptability and high productivity. Furthermore, it is also a well-appreciated olive oil due to its delicate flavour. The oil made from Leccino olives is sweet with balanced spicy and bitterness. Typical aromas: escarole, artichoke, almond and black pepper.
Frantoio is an Italian olive variety originally from the Tuscany region. Frantoio olives have excellent organoleptic characteristics therefore its EVOO is highly appreciated all around the World. The olive oil made from Frantoio olives has a very high stability, which makes it suitable even for frying. Its oil has a fruity flavour with mild spicy and bitter notes. Typical aromas are fresh herb, tomato, lettuce, artichoke, apple, grain, rosemary, celery and almond.
The Koroneiki is the most popular olive variety in Greece. More than 60% of the olives grown in Greece are Koroneiki variety, partly because the fruit of this hardy tree tends to yield high-quality oil. The Koroneiki variety is popular in countries other than Greece due to its great adaptation to growing in super high-densities. The olive oil made from Koroieniki olives has high stability and good organoleptic characteristics. It has medium to high intensity aromas such as apple, almond, banana and green grass. The Koroneiki olive oil also has a high content of oleic acid (76-80%).
Nevadillo Blanco is a traditional Spanish variety mostly cultivated in Andalusia, Jaén. This variety is a ‘sub-variety’ of Picual olives. People often refer to it as Picual olives but it's different genetically from the Picual olive tree. It is also a dual-purpose olive, suitable for table olives as well as for making olive oil. Its fruit has a high content of Polyphenols, therefore, is an extremely stable oil that makes it perfect for cooking, and also has a long shelf life. Its oil has a fruity flavor with medium spicy and bitter notes. Typical aromas are green herbs, tomato, fig tree, leaf olive, and freshly cut grass.
Manzanilla olives and their oil have a tangy, slightly bitter flavor with aromatic notes of herbs, grass, and fruitiness. The oil is versatile, used as a finishing touch for salads, grilled vegetables, and pasta, and adds depth to marinades, dressings, sautéing, and pan-frying. Manzanilla olives are cultivated in various regions, with a significant percentage of cultivation in Mediterranean countries such as Spain, Greece, and Italy.
Amfissas, or Amfissa olives, are a variety of olives that are primarily cultivated in the region of Amfissa, Greece. Amfissas are renowned for their rich, fruity flavour and meaty texture. Amfissas are often used for both table olives and olive oil production. When harvested at the green stage, they are commonly processed into table olives. The oil extracted from Amfissas olives exudes a captivating aroma that is reminiscent of fresh green grass, ripe tomatoes, and a subtle peppery undertone, creating a harmonious blend of fruity and herbal fragrances with a mild, pleasant bitterness.
The Cobrançosa olive variety, originating from Portugal, offers a distinctive aromatic profile rooted in its Mediterranean heritage. Cultivated in regions like Alentejo and Trás-os-Montes, its olive oil captures a robust fruity essence with notes of green grass and artichoke. This harmonious blend is complemented by a balanced bitterness and a peppery finish, creating a memorable and sought-after culinary experience.
The Madural olive variety originates in Portugal, thriving in regions like Ribatejo and Alentejo. Its olive oil offers a unique aromatic profile with a distinct fruity essence, complemented by hints of ripe tomato and almond. The oil's mild bitterness and delicate peppery finish contribute to its refined and versatile appeal, making Madural a sought-after choice for discerning palates.
The Verdeal olive variety, originating in Portugal, flourishes in regions like Trás-os-Montes and Alentejo. Its olive oil presents a unique aromatic profile with a pronounced green fruitiness, accompanied by notes of green apple and herbs. The oil's balanced bitterness and mild peppery finish make it a versatile and cherished addition to various culinary creations.
The Cordovil olive variety, originating in Portugal and thriving in regions like Alentejo and Ribatejo, produces olive oil with a distinct aromatic profile. This oil is characterized by pronounced fruitiness with notes of green banana and almond, accompanied by a delicate balance of bitterness and pungency. Cordovil olive oil's multi-layered flavors make it a valuable addition to diverse culinary applications, embodying the richness of Portuguese olive traditions.
Buga, an indigenous variety originating from Slovenian Istria, is distinguished by a moderately sized tree adorned with a luxuriant crown. The oil content within its fruits is comparatively modest, falling below that of the Leccino and Frantoio varieties. Renowned for its nuanced and refined flavor profile, Buga olive oil presents a harmonious blend of spiciness and bitterness. Notably, its nutritional value is heightened by an elevated concentration of polyphenols, rendering Buga olive oil a judicious and health-conscious selection.
(All pictures shown are for illustration purpose only.)
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.
Categorizing Olive Oil by Intensity
When it comes to Extra Virgin Olive Oils (EVOO), we have three flavor intensities: mild, medium, and robust.
- Mild: Subtle and gentle taste, perfect for enhancing other flavors.
- Medium: Pronounced fruitiness with a slight peppery kick, versatile for various dishes.
- Robust: Bold and intense flavor, adds a distinctive taste to your dishes.
Find your favorite by trying different EVOOs, and consider the overall flavor when using them in your recipes. Enjoy exploring the delicious world of EVOO!
Early Harvest/Premium EVOO vs. Conventional EVOO
When it comes to olive oil, premium/early harvest EVOO is the cream of the crop. It's made from carefully selected olives, usually from the first harvest of the season, which are rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, making the oil of higher quality. These olives are processed quickly after harvesting to preserve their freshness and goodness. If you want the best in terms of taste and health benefits, go for premium/early harvest EVOO. It's the result of careful selection, prompt processing, and an extra focus on maintaining the oil's purity and natural goodness.
On the other hand, conventional EVOO is still a good choice, especially for everyday cooking, as its lower price still offers good quality, making it a practical option for your daily culinary needs. Although it may not meet the same stringent criteria as premium/early harvest EVOO, it's suitable for various cooking purposes and provides a mild flavor profile that works well in a wide range of dishes.
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.