Are you a bit lost when buying your olive oil (EVOO)?
If this is the case I am going to give you a few tips to help you make your decision. They will apply especially to choosing finishing oils. It means EVOO that we use raw oil for dipping with bread, toast bread, salads, soups, etc …:
- Buying your olive oil from the last harvest. In the north hemisphere it begins in September / October and finishes around the end of February. The current harvest is 2015/16, but very soon the new oils from 2016 will be in the market. Remember that Extra Virgin Olive Oil unlike wine it degrades with time.
- Buying your oil from producers who possess the olive trees, grind and bottle the oil themselves.Avoid to buy your olive oil (EVOO) from brands of big bottling companies. Doing this will reduce the risk of buying an oil that is incorrectly categorised. (eg Extra virgin olive oil that is really only virgin or even lampante).
- Choosing oils that give information on the variety of olive used. Then you will learn which is the variety that you like the most in term of fruitiness, bitterness or pungency (peppery sensation). In Spain we have more than 260 varieties, the most common are: arbequina, picual, hojiblanca and cornicabra.
- Buying your olive oil from providers that protect the oils. Remember that transparent packaging protects the oil less. Which means that if they are exposed to the sun or electrical light for a long time they deteriorate sooner. (For example on the upper shelf in the supermarkets who they are exposed to light in some cases for 24 hours, or in shops where the oils are in the showroom sunbathing!).
- If it is possible try before buying them. If not, buy from a supplier that knows the oils they are marketing very well. It would be great if you can get some advise depending on your tastes.
In my opinion if we pay more money for the EVOO, I would also expect more:
- The oil should have more aroma and flavour.
- I would ask the producer or mill more information on the bottle of oil, for example the variety and which harvest the oil is from.
- I would expect the seller to have greater knowledge, so that they store the oils in suitable way and that they should be able to advise me at the time of purchase.
Now the choice is yours!!