WHAT DOES THE INFORMATION ON THE LABEL TELLS ME?
First of all you should know that food products need to have a label that respects laws and regulations of the country where they are distributed and sold. This is to protect final consumers.
Therefore, what you find (or not find) on the extra virgin olive oil label is the result of the very strict regulations your country has (they may change from country to country) more than a Marketing advertisement.
Nevertheless, the meaning of “extra virgin olive oil” is the same everywhere. It means that it is a superior category olive oil obtained directly from olives and solely by mechanical means (so using a cold press).
However, as we see below, this is not guarantee that the EVOO keeps the same quality until it reaches the shelf or after you store it at home. You should only trust your nose!
10 RULES WHEN YOU BUY EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
- NEVER BUY EVOO in a clear bottle (so olive oil in this CNN picture is an example of what NOT to buy). Best way to store EVOO is in a stainless steel TIN, which is even better than a dark green glass bottle as the light does not go through.
- On the label always look for EXTRA VIRGIN olive oil. By definition and by law, “extra virgin” tells you that the olive oil was made by physical means and with a cold press.
- Never buy EVOO based on PRICE. A very expensive price is not a guarantee of higher quality. Viceversa below certain prices, it is impossible to get EVOO!
- Do not buy EVOO in big containers, unless you plan on pouring it into smaller tins. Otherwise, by the time you finish your EVOO, the big tin may get filled with OXYGEN, which changes the olive oil’s quality.
- NEVER look at the COLOR. The green color is NOT a guarantee of good quality. It may come from artificial colorants.
- NEVER buy EVOO which sits on a shelf with lots of LIGHT…or on a window in the sun.
- NEVER buy EVOO which is stored at a TEMPERATURE above 80F.
- If you know how to detect defects with your nose, ask the store manager if you can TASTE the EVOO. Use a glass to taste it (not food).
Look at the BEST BEFORE DATE, go backward 18 months and you will know more or less when the olive oil was made. You want the latest harvest. The best before date is not the expiry date. It only tells you when the product start losing all its organolectic qualities. For example the Stile Mediterraneo EVOO we currently sell has Best before date of August 2014. This means that it was made with olives from the latest 2012 harvest (which is very good!).
- WHAT TO DO AT HOME : NEVER store the EVOO in the FRIDGE where it freezes. Store it in the basement or in a dark room at constant temperature between 64F and 75F. When you use it, keep it far from the stove. If you leave the bottle/tin open for more than one or two months and you find out the olive oil has some defects, use it for cooking (do not through it away).
Please note that there is no guarantee that if you follow all these guidelines you get a perfect / extra virgin olive oil. Even if you buy EVOO in a tin, you don’t know about its quality until you open and taste it as you don’t know at which conditions (temperature, light etc) the EVOO was shipped and stored.
More importantly, you don’t know for how long the EVOO was kept at those conditions.
This is why the Stile Mediterraneo Extra Virgin Olive Oil does not get distributed through importers or distributors, but it is shipped directly from the producer to the customer within 7-10 business days (after it is put in 1-liter tins).
The only real way to know about quality is to taste a product and find out defects with the nose and qualities with the palate.
This is why at the Stile Mediterraneo School in Puglia we teach people how to become “conscious” and “responsible” consumers who know about quality, no matter what’s written on the label.
For information about the Stile Mediterraneo Extra Virgin Olive Oil please contact us at [email protected]