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What Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil Anyway?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is pure olive juice passionately referred to over thousands of years as “liquid gold” and it is a healthy fat obtained from the olive, a traditional Mediterranean tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. EVOO is produced by pressing whole olives picked during an early harvest (first and second harvest) usually occurring around the first full moon in late November and/or early December into February depending on the annual climate leading up to the harvest period in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemispheric producing countries of Australia, Chile and Argentina this harvest would occur around July. EVOO is commonly used in the Mediterranean diet.
EVOO is extracted by first pressing semi-ripened olives of the flavorful, monounsaturated oil. The flavor, color and fragrance of olive oils can vary dramatically depending on distinctions such as the annual climate, the cultivar (varietal), growing region and the crop's condition. EVOO can range from a crystalline champagne color to greenish-golden to bright green. In general, the deeper the color, the more intense the olive flavor. EVOO is graded in accordance with the degree of acidity they contain. EVOO is cold-pressed at less than 86°F (30°C) by mechanical means, within a chemical-free process that involves only pressure and no solvents nor heat thus producing natural levels of low acidity. For the EVOO, the cold-pressed result of the first pressing of the olives is less than 0.8 grams acidity (oleic acid) per 100 grams or 0.80%. It is considered the finest and fruitiest of the olive oils and is therefore also the most expensive do to the nature of selected picking and processing. It should have no defects and the flavor of fresh olives.
After extra virgin, olive oils are classified in order of ascending acidity. Virgin olive oil is also a first-press oil; however, the olive fruit is picked later at maximum maturation for maximum yield providing a higher oil yield with a higher level of acidity not more than 2 grams per 100 grams or 2%.

The “extra virgin” designation will only apply once the olive oil undergoes an International Olive Council (IOC) recognized official chemical test in an approved laboratory and a sensory evaluation by an IOC recognized trained tasting panel. For olive oil to be designated as EVOO, it must be found to be free from defects while exhibiting tastes of bitterness, fruitiness and pungency which is the peppery sensation in the mouth and throat associated with EVOO. All Olivar Santamaria Picual EVOO is guaranteed “extra virgin” and all analytics are provided by an authorized laboratory of the Consejeria de Agricultura y Pesca of Spain.