Ten Things You Wouldn’t Know About Olive Oil
Posted by Ruth (25/03/2016)
As well as its world class wines, Tuscany is also famous for the olive oil it produces. Tuscany is considered to be a classic olive oil region in Italy, and somewhere where you can buy some of the finest olive oil in the country. As soon as you set foot in this part of Italy, you will notice the pretty olive groves that line the countryside.
Bread and olive oil are essential components of the Tuscan diet. As well as being used as a dressing and in cooking, olive oil can be made into beauty products and soaps. Make sure you try some on your trip to Tuscany, you can’t visit this region without tucking into some bread soaked in locally made olive oil. Love olive oil? Here’s some interesting and helpful facts about olive oil that you may not know.
1 - Just like wine, olive oils are awarded different labels and grades depending on their taste, production methods, origin and chemistry.
2 - Olive oils are classified by taste through a blind taste test, which is carried out by a panel of professional tasters.
3 - When you buy ‘Extra Virgin’ olive oil, this means it is produced without the use of any chemicals, contains no more than 0.8% acidity and is judged to have a superior taste. Virgin olive oil is also produced solely by the use of physical means and its acidity is less than 2%, with a good taste.
4 - Research suggests that eating around 2tbsp of (virgin or extra virgin) olive oil a day can improve cholesterol regulation, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and it has even been linked to prevention of cancer. This is because it is packed with anti-oxidants and has a high content of mono-saturated fatty acids.
5 - Olive oil is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed freshly pressed from the fruit, without the use of solvents.
6 - Some of the world’s best extra virgin olive oil comes from the Chianti region of Tuscany where single estate bottled oils are the most sought after and expensive of all. For a first-hand experience, it is possible to stay in a villa in Tuscany where this type of oil is produced from olive trees on the grounds.
7 - The olive harvest needs to be timed perfectly to ensure the acidity levels are just right for it to be graded as extra virgin.
8 - Cold pressed olive oil means the olive pulp created during the olive production process is pressed below 27 degrees to ensure the minimum flavour is lost. It is of better quality than olive oil that has not been cold pressed.
9 - Light, heat and air reduce the quality of olive oil, so it is best kept in a sealed, tinted glass bottle and stored in a cool place.
10 - Unlike wine, olive oil does not get better with age. Good quality olive oil should be used within a year. Lower grade oils only have a shelf life of a few months.