About Olive Oil

Our Extra Virgin Olive Oils – Fresh is Best!

Rich, fragrant and full of flavor, extra virgin olive oil is much like wine — taste is a matter of personal preference. The many variables that go into the production of olive oil yield dramatic differences in color, aroma, and flavor, including:

  • Variety of olive used.
  • Location and soil conditions where the olives were grown.
  • Environmental factors and weather during the growing season.
  • Olive ripeness.
  • Timing of the harvest.
  • Harvesting method.
  • Length of time between the harvest and pressing.
  • Pressing technique.
  • Packaging and storage methods.

Bella Oliva Taproom’s premium, single varietal extra virgin olive oils are sourced from all over the world. Each of our EVOOs has aroma and flavor characteristics that vary depending on the country of origin and the variety of olive, but are consistent in meeting the highest quality standards. Our oils are hand-selected from small, award winning olive estates that must meet exacting standards for production. We receive two harvests of olive oil a year—one from the Northern Hemisphere (California, Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal) in the winter and one from the Southern Hemisphere (Chile, Argentina and Australia) in the summer. This allows us to provide our customers with the freshest, highest quality oils available.

Comparing Bella Oliva’s Extra Virgin Olive Oils to Other “Olive Oils”

All of Bella Oliva’s premium Extra Virgin Olive Oils are first cold pressed – a chemical-free process using only mechanical pressure, producing a higher quality of olive oil which is naturally lower in acidity. Extra Virgin Olive Oil must meet certain chemistry standards and must exhibit superior taste, color and aroma in order to be classified as extra virgin olive oils. Extra virgin olive oils are not processed or refined.

Much of the supermarket olive oil, labeled as “extra virgin olive oil,” is unrefined but is of poor quality as a result of lax processing standards, age, UV light exposure, and poor handling. Many of the ordinary “olive oils” found at the supermarket are actually a blended oil product. Olive oil producers start with low quality virgin olive oils. These oils are refined using mechanical, thermal and/or chemical processes. The resulting “refined olive oil” is largely colorless and tasteless. Before the resulting product is sold as “olive oil,” a percentage of quality virgin olive oil is added to provide color and taste.

The Chemistry of Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is fresh pressed from the fruit of the olive tree, leaving the color, taste, vitamins & nutrients intact. However, EVOO decreases in flavor and health benefits over time. Fresh crushed olive oil is like fresh squeezed fruit juice in that it contains the most flavor and nutrients. Old, poorly made and improperly stored extra virgin olive oil yields few, if any, health benefits and less desirable flavor. Becoming intimately familiar with a particular extra virgin olive oil’s flavor characteristics and chemistry (e.g. antioxidant content, oleic acid, FFA, and crush date) will help you make an educated decision about which olive oil is right for you.

Our single varietal extra virgin olive oils are independently tested for chemistry. When you buy Bella Oliva oils you know you are getting fresh, premium, high quality extra virgin olive oils that deliver beneficial antioxidants! Our EVOOs are tested for the following crucial chemistry properties:

Oleic Acid, Polyphenol Count, FFA and Peroxide Value.

For more information on these properties as well as the testing methods (DAGs Test/Score and PPP Test/score) of olive oil, click here.

CHOOSING OLIVE OIL BASED ON INTENSITY

Bella Oliva Taproom offers three distinct styles of Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Mild Intensity, Medium Intensity and Robust Intensity

Mild

The term “mild” does not mean lacking flavor! These oils exhibit a fruity, buttery, sometimes nutty taste with little to no bitterness. They are perfect with poached fish, vegetable soups, delicate sauces, steamed or sautéed vegetables, chicken and mild cheeses. They are also wonderful in cakes and muffins.

Medium

This category offers a flavor profile with pronounced ripe and green fruit flavors such as: grassy, herbaceous, nutty, and exhibiting flavors from tropical fruit, apples or bananas. These oils compliment grilled meats and vegetables, bruschetta, pasta, sauces and cheeses.

Robust

Often, these oils are described as spicy or peppery, exhibiting predominately green fruit flavors with distinct pleasant bitterness and pungency. This flavor profile perfectly compliments traditional “rustic” dishes such as hearty winter soups and stews, bruschetta, pasta and greens.

Classifications of Olive Oils

Olive oils are graded by production method, acidity content, and flavor. The International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) sets quality standards that most olive-oil-producing countries use, but the United States does not legally recognize these benchmarks. Instead, the U.S. Department of Agriculture uses a different system that was set up before the IOOC existed. However, American olive growers and oil importers are encouraging the USDA to adopt standards similar to those of the IOOC.

When buying olive oil you will want to obtain the highest possible quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Some of the more common types or classifications of olive oil and their meanings include the following:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 
: Extra virgin is the highest quality and most flavorful olive oil classification. This is the oil that comes from the first “pressing” of the olive and must be extracted solely by mechanical or other physical means, without using heat (a cold press) or chemicals. The oil must not be altered in any way. The only production methods allowed are: washing, decanting, centrifuging and filtering. Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains no more than 0.8% acidity (0.8 grams per 100 grams, expressed as oleic acid), and is judged to have a superior taste, with no flavor or aroma faults. The less the olive oil is handled, and the closer it is to its natural state, the better the oil.

Virgin Olive Oil: Virgin Olive Oil which has a free acidity of not more than 2.0% (2 grams per 100 grams expressed as oleic acid), as well as the other characteristics of extra virgin olive oil listed above. Virgin olive oil may still be fine for frying or where flavor is not wanted or needed.

Pure Olive Oil or Refined Olive Oil: Oils labeled as Pure Olive Oil or Olive Oil are usually a blend of refined and virgin production oils. This is obtained by refining virgin Olive Oils that have a high acidity level and/or organoleptic defects that are eliminated after refining. No solvents have been used to extract the oil but it has been refined with the use of charcoal and other chemical and physical filters

Olive Oil :This is a blend of virgin and refined olive oil, of no more than 1.0% acidity (1 gram per 100 grams expressed as oleic acid). It commonly lacks a strong flavor. Cheap refined oil is mixed with flavorful virgin olive 0il.

Light Olive Oil: 
”Light” olive oil is a marketing concept and not a true classification of olive oil grades. It is not a regulated designation so there are no real parameters for what its content should be. It is a refined oil, and is sometimes blended with other vegetable oils. It is important to note that this designation refers to flavor only, not caloric content, as all types of olive oil have the same number of calories. This oil is often flavorless and of low quality.

Lampante Oil :This is olive oil that not fit for human consumption as it is. It will have a free acidity, expressed as oleic acid, of more than 3.3 grams per 100 grams (3.3%). Used for many years in oil-burning lamps.

Pomace Oil: Pomace is the ground flesh and pits after pressing. It has a free acidity of not more than 1.0% (1 gram per 100 grams). It is considered an inferior grade and is used for soap making or industrial purposes.