Reading our EVOO label

by Laura Gray on February 6, 2018

Extra Virgin Olive Oil : Oil produced by only physical (mechanical) means is called Virgin Oil. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is olive oil that satisfies specific high chemical and organoleptic criteria. It must have less than 0.8% acidity, present no taste defects and be “fruttato“. Extra Virgin Olive Oils are the most rich in monounsaturated facts and polyphenol antioxidants. The acidity is determined by the level of FFA (free fatty acids) which increase in relation to the saturated and unsaturated fats the more the oil is “abused” and/or manipulated. The shelf-life of the oil is prolonged by a lower acidity.

 “solely by mechanical means” : This means is that only physical means (as opposed to chemical) are used to extract the oil: the olives are just pressed. This is actually an obligatory criterion for both Virgin and Extra Virgin olive oil.  Not to be confused with the fact that we only hand-pick our olives. Harvesting olives by mechanical methods would mean that the olives are allowed to over-ripen in order to increase yield at the risk of quality. It goes without saying thatwe do not do this at Il Palazzone! It can take over a day to harvest the crop from one tree, basket at the waist and rastrello in hand but we pick each tree when it is ready. Timing is everything: the taste of the olive oil is influenced by the soil that the olive trees grow on, but also by the moment when the olives have been harvested and ground. Green olives produce bitter oil and overripe olives produce defective oil so we are extremely careful to only pick when the olives are perfectly ripened and to deliver them to the press on the same day that we pick.

Frantoio Franci : Frantoio means oil press. It is exceedingly rare for olive oil producers to have their own press and nearly everyone relies on an external frantoio. We chose this family-run business to press our olives. Each evening during harvest we deliver them our olives. Frantoio Franci, twice-awarded “Best Producer in the World,” is just 20 minutes from Il Palazzone so our precious harvest does not suffer in transit.

First cold press? : “First cold press” is a commercial wording suggests that the oil in bottles is the first oil that came from the first press of the olives and that no heat is used. By law in Europe cold pressed actually means under 27°C. and there is never a “second” press of virgin oil, so the term “first press” is relatively meaningless. Technically it is always a balance between the time of extraction which exposes the olives and oil to oxidation and the temperature, which while damaging, accelerates the extraction.

Any questions, my friends?

And if you want/need some of our tiny production of 1.224 bottles, please contact jenny@ilpalazzone.com for the US and laura@ilpalazzone.com for any other country.

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