What Makes an Olive Oil Extra Virgin

With so much in the news lately about the authenticity of extra virgin olive oils, it’s no wonder so many people are confused about what oil to buy and which ones are pure and truly extra virgin.

A recent study at the University of California found that 69% of all store-bought extra virgin olive oils in the United States do not, in fact, meet the standards to be labeled “extra virgin.”

True “extra virgin” olive oils are first cold pressed, meaning the olives didn’t undergo any industrial process that is used to make “refined” oils such as canola or sunflower oils. Extra virgin olive oils also have less than 1% free olecic acid.

There are several tests you can try at home to tell if your oil is truly extra virgin. However not all these tests are unreliable. For instance, extra virgin oil will solidify when cold, but oils that are cut with low-grade oils from other plants may still thicken when put in the refrigerator. Also, extra virgin oil is flammable and should keep a wick lit without producing a lot of smoke. Unfortunately other oils can also keep a wick lit, so this is not a guaranteed way of determining that your oil is extra virgin.

The best way to feel confident that an oil truly is extra virgin is to buy it from a reliable source. At Healthy Italia – La Buona Cucina, our customers are always invited to taste our extra virgin olive oils and experience the variety of olive flavors that come from different regions of Italy.

With every bottle of extra virgin olive oil, Healthy Italia provides a card that gives information about the area of origin and the producer, the type of olives and how they are cultivated, as well as the unique characteristics of the oil and what foods that particular oil enhances best.

Healthy Italia currently offers six extra virgin olive oils from several regions of Italy. Our Frantoio Valtenesi Garda from Lombardy holds DOP and IGP designations, which are the highest marks of quality attributed to an agricultural product. The Ardito Felice Org.Olio from Apulia is certified organic and our oils from Sicily and Tuscany are delightful oils that are velvety on the palate and delicious with a variety of dishes.

Healthy Italia also carries a variety of flavored extra virgin olive oils, including basil, hot pepper, lemon, and herbs.

Stop by and let us tell you more about our oils and taste the best Italy has to offer!

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