Ask our expert, Cesar Colliga Martinez – International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) Tasting Panel Chief
Our expert Olive Oil Taster, Cesar Colliga Martinez, answers some of the most popular questions regarding olive oils. If the answer to your question cannot be found here, please feel free to email us and maybe your question will appear in this section in the future.
- What is the proper way to store olive oil?
- It is always best to keep extra-virgin olive oil in a dark place so as to not cause photo oxidation (degradation of the oil due to exposure to light), in places away from high temperatures (which will also accelerate the degradation of the olive oil), in moisture-free spaces (so that water does not affect its composition), and away from any strong odors that may be absorbed by the olive oil. These are simple steps that can help preserve your olive oils in the most optimal conditions for your future enjoyment. A cabinet in your kitchen or a shelf in your pantry is an ideal place for storage.
- What are the different grades of olive oil?
- Extra virgin olive oil: virgin olive oil which has a free acidity, expressed as oleic acid, of not more than 0.8 grams per 100 grams, and the other characteristics of which correspond to those fixed for this category in this standard.
Virgin olive oil: virgin olive oil which has a free acidity, expressed as oleic acid, of not more than 2 grams per 100 grams and the other characteristics of which correspond to those fixed for this category in this standard.
Pure olive oil / light olive oil / olive oil: These are all olive oils that have been refined by various methods such as acids, alkalis, and steam heat to extract as much oil as possible after the first pressing. These processes take most of the flavor from the olive oil and eliminate many of the olive oil’s natural antioxidants as well. “Light” does not mean lower in calories, but rather refers to the oils lightness in color and flavor.
- What does first cold pressed mean?
- First cold pressed olive oil is from the first round of extraction from fresh, intact olives. It has not been heated during processing and therefore retains its full nutritional value.
- Are there olive oils you recommend for cooking and others for dipping or eating raw?
- From a viewpoint of thermal oxidation, refined olive oils and extra-virgin virgin olive oils are similar. The difference between refined olive oil and extra-virgin olive oil is that the latter has a concentration of antioxidants, vitamins, flavors and aromas not found in refined olive oils. My advice is to always use extra-virgin olive oils for cooking and for consumption. From a health standpoint, extra-virgin olive oils provide antioxidants and vitamins to our body. From a culinary standpoint, extra- virgin olive oils add flavor to anything we make or eat in the kitchen.
- What does the color of an extra-virgin olive oil indicate?
- From a standpoint of quality, the color of an extra-virgin olive oil is not an important factor. The color of olive oil is different for each of the different varieties of olives grown worldwide and range from a brownish-green color to a clear-yellow color. The color of an olive oil does not indicate anything in particular, but each variety of olive does have, after pressing, a distinctive color. The color of a particular olive oil will be different depending on the time of year the olives were picked. Thus, extra-virgin olive oil pressed from olives harvested early in the season will have greenish hues while extra-virgin olive oil pressed from olives harvested later in the season will produce an oil that has more yellowish hues.
- What is your favorite olive oil?
- My favorite olive oil is one that intense and complex. I always choose an olive oil with a strong presence that can be blended in an exciting way with the rest of the flavors and aromas in a dish. It is important to pair the sensory profile of each extra-virgin olive oil with the individual dishes you create. With the vast range of olive oils available from Carter & Cavero, you will find many different varieties, each with a time and place for bringing out the most amazing, sensorial characteristics in your dishes.