There are more than 500 varities (cultivars) of Olive trees in Italy: cellina, ogliarola, leccino, casaliva, pisciottana, coratina, moraiolo biancolilla, frantoio, taggiasca, moresca, carolea, ecc. ecc.; all with different characteristics which vary from region to region, but more precisely, from place to place. This is different from Argentina and Spain where you can count cultivars on your hands. The average olive field size in Italy is 2.5 hectars. This is due to the well known Italian passion for small " piccolo è bello ". Every owner has therefore treated its olive field has a baby, thus genereting a huge biodiversity.
Classification of olive oil in Italy
Vegetable oils are classified in chemical-physical and organoleptic characteristics. The chemical-physical classification of olive oils is to be found in the EC Regulation n. 1513/01 dated 23-7-01, L201 (see ONAOO table). The second issue of the United States Standards for Grades of Olive Oil published by USDA in the FEDERAL REGISTER on April 28, 2010 (75 FR 22363) accepts the EC grades and adds some quality criteria in the oil purity area. Italy is defining a new Standard of Grade which is superior quality and it includes additional criteria such as bio-phenols than Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. It will be named "Alta Qualità". The future of olive oil is in quality. This is why we have defined the Olivotto Olive Oil Quality Criteria presented in the Product section of this website
The organoleptic analysis is based on a panel of tasters that characterizes the sensorial profile based on negative and positive aspects:
A) The three positive attributes of olive oil are: Bitterly, Peppery and Grassy the last one is measured in terms of Median of Fruity (Mf)
B) The negative flavor and odor attributes are:
The process of transforming olives into oil is magic: from a mechanical and natural milling process (frantoio), after about one hour you get the best food on Earth from crops that you cannot eat directly. This is totally different from all other fruits such as: lemon, oranges....
In italy there are 4700 frantoi. This huge number significantly contributes to the quality of olive oil. Every frantoio produces in average less than one fifth of olive oil produced by an equivalent one in Spain (boutique approach to quality). All our guests visiting us have all requested a guided tour to a milling farm, therefore we have developed a complete guide on how a olive mil operates. It is downloadable from here:
Olive Mil at work
To see how an olive mil operates click below