Established in 1993, Casa Italia Gourmet Food & Wines is a leading importer and distributor of Italian food and wine.

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Eight helpful tips when selecting ‘top quality’ Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil!

The New York times has recently stated that “Much of the oil sold as Italian olive oil does not come from Italy but from countries like Spain, Morocco and Tunisia”. From these finding Itay Magazine has come up with some useful tips to follow when selecting Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

  1. Look for the name of the producers on-line and check out their profile.
    Small to medium size producers of top quality extra virgin olive oil usually welcome visitors to their olive grove, have won prizes in their sector, and have no problem answering your questions. Some even have webcams in the olive press or have a scheme in place to let you ‘adopt’ a tree. 

  2. Read the small print on the back of the label.
    Most U.S. or E.U. regulations state that the real origin of the products must be shown on the label so as not to mislead the consumer. Yet most major brands continue to write “made in Italy” or “imported from Italy” on the front label in large letters and other origins on the back in very small print. So be careful.
  3. Green colour does not automatically means top quality.
    The most emphasized organoleptic characteristics of extra virgin olive oil is the colour that should range  between green and yellow. However, a deep green colour does not automatically indicates a better quality oil. As a matter of fact, professional olive oil tasters use blue- or green-coloured tasting glasses to not let the colour of the oil influence their final judgment. Focus on taste and acidity levels rather than colour when buying extra virgin olive oil.
  4. In modern production, olives are pressed only once.
    Remember that quite often the label “first press” is only a marketing tool and does not really mean that there were two different pressing phases.
  5. Extra virgin olive oil  must be produced entirely by mechanical means without the use of any solvents, and under temperatures that will not degrade the oil (less than 86°F, 30°C). If it was not cold pressed, it cannot be extra virgin olive oil. 
  6. Remember that oxygen, light and heat are indeed among extra virgin olive oil’s worst enemies.
    Therefore, extra virgin olive oil should be stored at cool temperatures, away from light and without exposure to oxygen. Make sure the shop you are getting your oil from has kept the product in proper conditions, prefer dark bottles to clear glass ones, close the bottle as soon as you finish using it.
  7. Extra virgin olive oil does not age well.
    Check the date on the bottle and make sure you are getting oil produced during the last harvest.  Buy only the quantity you might need for the year to make sure you are not stuck with old olive oil when the new, fresh one is out on the shelves.
  8. Finally, if you have the chance to come to Italy, do not miss the opportunity to visit a producer and try their oil at the grove. An invaluable chance to educate your palate even further.

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