Hi I’m Tom Tigani. I’ve been in the olive oil business for the past 20 years but my family has been involved for over 5 generations. during this time I have been involved in nursery, olive plantation, harvesting, processing, wholesaling and retailing olive oil. During this time I have escorted 10 olive study tours visiting Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Syria, Morocco, USA, Mexico, Chile and Argentina. I have also attended many trade fairs all over the world.
A Good olive oil consists of the following:
- first press
- cold press
- extra virgin
- mediterranean climate
- mediterranean varieties
- proper storage
First press means that the oil is extracted from olive on the first press only. You would be surprised to know that olive oil producers abroad can extract olive oil from a second press. Using the processed husk of the olive by drying and introducing hexane, up to an additional 5% olive oil can be achieved. The next process is to seperate the hexane from the olive oil using caustic soda. This olive oil along with many other oils, including rancid oils, can be filtered back to a colourless, tasteless, neutral oil using charcoal filters and then later infused with flavours, colouring and fragrance ready for consumption.
Cold press means that the olive paste temperature whilst malaxing in the frantoio process is less than 28 degrees.
Extra virgin simply means that the olive oil has less than 0.07% acidity. Acidity can rise when olives are left standing too long before processing.
Olives grown in a Mediterranean climate of 0 – 35 degrees and rainfall of 24 inches tend to produce high quality olive oil and with the correct storage can last up to two years. Olives that are grown in warmer areas and are watered constantly tend to produce oil of lesser quality and a lifespan of around 6 months. Mediterranean varieties such as Frantoio, Leccino, Pacchiol and koronaki are leaders in the top group of quality olive oil.
It is important to store olive oil at 20 degrees celsius and in a dark place away from light to ensure long life.
One must be wary of some imported olive oils as some companies have mastered the fabrication of chemical olive oil. You should always insist on first pressed olive oil as that is not fabricated.