Choosing The Right Olive Oil
When all the oils appear to be the same and have limited information on their labels, how do you select the right one? It is difficult to compare taste unless you have the opportunity to open several containers of oil at the same time, not something a consumer usually does. Because of this, the way olive is being sold and marketed is changing to meet consumer pressure for an educated choice, and the opportunity now exists at Splash of Olive for you to taste a range extra virgin olive oils, know the crush date and learn about the complete chemistry. All these factors will influence your choice.
Oil season begins in early October and extends to late February in the Northern Hemisphere and begins during April in the Southern Hemisphere extending to June in The very broad geographic region known as the Mediterranean basin is where over ninety-five percent of the production takes place. The area extends from Syria in the east to Spain and Morocco in the west. Spain is by far the world’s largest producer of olives and olive oil. No two seasons in any area are identical and each producing country has different producing regions, varieties, and preferences for harvest time and style.
Many varieties alternate in productivity; a year of high productivity is often followed by a year of rest. There are as many different olive oil flavor profiles as there are olive groves with layers of variables superimposed on layers of sub-variable and any one or combination can have a profound effect on the flavor and overall characteristics of the oil. Olive oil has a highly perishable nature. It begins to soften the day it is produced and heads steadily down in intensity and brightness.
This can only be slowed by rapid harvest to milling onto storage. This makes the production of uniform, consistent, readily available, high-quality olive oil very difficult. Each producing country has a dominant variety or cultivar historically suited to its terrain, and is representative of the general “style” of the country. A somewhat experienced taster can determine the dominant variety or cultivar of the major producing countries. Spain’s dominant cultivars are the Picual, Hojiblanca, and Arbequina. For Italty it is the Coratina, in Tunisia the Chemlali, for Greece the Koroneiki, and Turkey favors the Ayvalik. When selecting an oil, search for oils by region, country and variety. Small regional mills are increasingly producing high quality oils. There is no substitute for a personal tasting experience. We encourage our customers to try as many extra virgin olive oils as they can; quality oils represent a unique taste experience impossible to duplicate in the traditional supermarket brands.