Used for centuries as a culinary ingredient, Olive Oil has now been “rediscovered” and is a standard product for any modern and healthy kitchen. Its consumption is not confined to regions where it is produced and now is used in countries as far away as Japan or Australia.
Olive Oil gives flavour, aroma and colour, integrating all the ingredients making a dish unique.
When choosing an Olive Oil you should forget these myths:
The acidity of an Olive Oil has no direct relationship with the flavour. The acidity is related to the fitosanitary state of the olives, while the flavour, colour and smell of the olive oil is given by a small amount of compounds called minor compounds.
The colour of the Olive Oil is not a sign of its quality. Greener olive oils are made from greener olives whereas yellow olive oils are indicative of mature olives.
But remember that:
Olive oil begins to deteriorate right from the moment of extraction, so it should not be stored for long periods of time.
With such a wide range of Olive Oils available on the market today you need to think about what its use will be and what your preference is.
The types available are:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Olive Oil of superior quality with intense flavours and aromas of healthy olives. It does not present any organoleptic defects. Acidity equal or less than 0,8%. Can be consumed directly and is ideal for seasoning on its own. Extra virgin olive oils with smooth flavours are ideal for seasoning salads and foods with smooth flavours as well as sweet foods. Extra virgin olive oils with intense flavours will be better with foods that have a stronger flavour and can be used in some sauces.
Virgin Olive Oil Olive oil of good quality with the flavour and aroma of healthy olives. Acidity is equal or less than 2%. Good uncooked and can be used for roasts, soups, stews or marinades.
Olive Oil Composed of Refined Olive Oils and Virgin Olive Oils It is a refined olive oil enriched with virgin olive oil, aromatic and fruity with acidity equal to or less than 1,0%. It is ideal for frying due to its resistance to high temperatures. It is cheaper, maintains the nutritious characteristics of olive oil and has a very high smoking point allowing to be re-used many more times. It also forms a crust on the surface of the food which prevents olive oil seeping into the it. Using olive oil for frying results in crispier and more appetising food
Of the olive oils found on the market you can still find “Olive Oils with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), “Organically Grown Olive Oil” and “ Monovarietal Olive Oils”.
“Protected Designation of Origin Olive Oils“ Originate from a specific geographic location, with certain soils and climate and are made exclusively from olives of specific varieties.
These factors, together with the region know-how, give these oils the typical characteristics that distinguish them from others.
Portugal has six Protected Designation of Origin:
“Olive Oil of Moura”,
“Olive Oil of Trás-os-Montes”
“Olive Oil of Beira Interior (Beira Baixa and Beira Alta)”
“Olive Oil of Norte Alentejano”
“Olive Oil of Ribatejo”
“Olive Oil of Alentejo Interior”
“Organically Farmed Olive Oils” are from olive orchards which adhere to organic production rules, as laid out in the European Regulations. This method of production requires that diverse conditions to be met. Namely, maintenance of soil fertilisation, the use of adequate rotations and the respect of strict fitosanitary and fertilisation norms. The use of practically all synthetic chemical products is banned.
The “Monovarietal Olive Oils” are obtained from only one variety of olive.