Now that the oil is ready to be served, it’s important that certain “misconceptions” be debunked.
Contrary to popular belief, this is not the same type of acidity that we use to describe something sour, for example yoghurt. Rather this is a measurement that describes the percentage of free oleic acid present in the product.
It indicates an aspect of the health of the olives used to make the oil: the lower the value, the healthier were the olives.
BUT BE CAREFUL!
An oil with low acidity doesn’t always taste good enough to be classified EXTRA VIRGIN.
This is a common misconception, because almost all olive oils are obtained from the first and only pressing.
And regardless, a first pressing of low quality olives makes a “first pressed” oil… that is terrible.
This is a common misconception, because all extraction processes (traditional pressing or modern by centrifuge) are cold. The temperature at which the olive paste is processed according to traditional methods is approximately 18-22°C, while using a modern centrifuge it is approximately 25-28°C.
To simplify, if we were to “cold press” mediocre olives, we would get Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil, but it would be mediocre as well.
As we’ve seen, acidity is not something we can taste.
This spiciness is characteristic of fresh, young oils which have healthy substances like polyphenols and tocopherols (vitamin “E”, natural antioxidants), substances which according to modern medicine have fundamental anti-aging properties for our bodies’ cells.
This is a common misconception. Actually, a more flavourful oil makes foods taste better, which stimulates an increased production of stomach juices, making the foods easier to digest. Furthermore, if an oil has a more intense flavour, then less is needed – which means savings and greater taste satisfaction.
The green colour with more or less intense yellow highlights depends exclusively on the type of olives used, how mature they were, and the extraction process.
The colour of the oil indicates the quality only if there are reddish highlights, which indicate that the oil has gone bad because it was not stored in a dark place.
YES AND NO
In certain areas (Liguria, Umbria, Tuscany, Puglia, etc.), thanks to the specific cultivars and the climate, some of the “top” oils can be made. However, in the same areas, if the proper cultivation, harvesting, and processing techniques weren’t used, the oils obtained would be mediocre.
BUT BE CAREFUL
Following the “seven golden rules”, a perfect oil can be obtained anywhere in the world.
Ultimately, there are both excellent and terrible oils. The only thing that changes is the percentage of one or the other in various countries.