INFORMATION AND ORDERS
Here you can see a video filmed by one of our US customers when they visited our mill.
Reaching 1.600.000 tons in harvest 2011/12, Spanish production of olive oil is three times higher than the second world producer of olive oil, which is Italy with an average annual production around 450.000 Tons. Nevertheless, until a few years ago, Spanish olive oil was relatively unknown since almost all of it was sold by bulk (in trucks) and packaged outside the country, mainly in Italy. Italy still buys Spanish olive oil and packages it in Italy. European law requires that origin of the olive oil must be mentioned in the label, but it is allowed to write European Union as origin, so many consumers think its origin is Italy, not Spain. Today, gradually, Spanish oil producers, and especially those producing the best quality oil, are packaging and placing their own names on the bottles.
|WORLD PRODUCTION OF OLIVE OIL, TONS|
|Total world production||2.669.000||2.900.000||2.948.000||3.361.500|
Extra virgin and virgin olive oils are obtained directly from the fruit and solely by mechanical means, crushing the olives. Any other category of olive oil (such as the one labelled as "olive oil") and almost any other vegetable and seed oils are obtained by chemical refining process (using phosphoric acid and caustic sosa). They are not naturally produced.
Let´s try to explain in easy words the differences between the four categories of olive oil. When you harvest and mill the olives, if all steps have been done properly and very carefully (cultivation, harvest, transport and handling of olives to the mill, milling and centrifugation) you obtain extra virgin olive oil, the superior category of olive oil, of very good taste and acidity below 0.8%. It is directly good for consumption, so goes to the bottles. Natural mechanical produced. No more process is required.
If you do all the process right, but not so carefully, you obtain virgin olive oil. It is also natural and edible, but it has higher acidity (over 0.80% and below 2º) and some organoleptic defects. Nowadays it is not very common to find bottles of virgin olive oil in the market, because most virgin olive oils with taste defects and acidity over 0.8% are unfortunately labeled and sold as extra virgin olive oils.
The third category is the one called "olive oil" and it is not produced by natural mechanical means, but by chemical means and it comes from a lampante oil that originally was not apt for consumption. If any step of the production process is done incorrectly, for example the olives are not healthy, or are damaged in the handling, or the milling and centrifugation are badly done (dirty, very hot temperatures, oxidation…etc), what you obtain after pressing the olives is not extra virgin olive oil, but an oil called Lampante. Lampante is not edible, it is bad for consumption, has a very high acidity (over 2º) and very bad taste. It has to be refined in order to reduce the acidity (to below 1º) and eliminate the bad taste. Refinery is a chemical process where phosphoric acid, caustic Sosa, clays and very high temperatures are used. After the refining process, you obtain tasteless and colourless oil that needs to be blended with at least a little bit of extra virgin olive oil to make it edible and give it some taste and colour. This blend of a lot of refined lampante oil and a little of extra virgin is what is known as "olive oil". It is an inferior category of olive oil. In the past it was called "pure olive oil". There are companies that make two kinds of "olive oil": mild taste and intense taste. Mild taste has only 5% of extra virgin olive oil and intense taste has between 5 and 20%.
Pomace olive oil is a different category, it is the lowest quality category of olive oil. It is not made of the liquid fatty component of olives, but of the water component and solid components (stones, skin…etc) present in the olives. When you mill and centrifugate the olives you get oil on one side (extra virgin or lampante) and pomace on the other side. This paste also needs to undergone chemical extraction (via hexane and heptane), later is refined and blended with a little of virgin olive oil in order to make it edible.
The International Olive Oil Council states that extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point between 400 and 365ºF (204 and 185ºC), so well above the ideal temperature for frying food (270-350 ºF / 150º-170ºC)). The smoke point of oil varies with its quality, high quality extra virgin olive oils (with low free fatty acids) have higher smoke point than low quality olive oils. You can definitely deep-fry in EVOO. There may be other more cost effective alternatives for frying, but for health, quality and taste, frying with EVOO is the best option. Try yourself and make a simple test: just fry fresh natural potatoes and two eggs with extra virgin olive oil.
When heated, olive oil is the most stable fat. When frying with EVOO a natural thin layer is formed protecting the food, which avoids fat gets into the food. The digestibility of olive oil is not affected when it is heated, even when it is re-used several times for frying. Extra Virgin olive oil may be reused several times (we recommend 4 or 5), even if it will loose some of its aroma, flavour and polyphenols (as any other fat).
Traditionally, fried foods were associated with vegetable and seed oils (marketing strategy?), whereas olive oil, and especially extra virgin, was reserved for raw consumption. At present good chefs and consumers concerned about quality and health use EVOO for dressing, frying and cooking. Our EVOO has been selected by chefs and hotels worldwide that use it either raw and for cooking and frying with exceptional results.
LOW ACIDITY = HIGH QUALITY HIGH ACIDITY = LOW QUALITY HIGH ACIDITY ≠ MORE INTENSE TASTE
In olive oil, acidity is a chemical parameter; it is not a description of taste. An olive oil never tastes acid. The "acidity" in olive oil is the result of the breakdown of the triglycerides, that are transformed into free fatty acids. Oil extracted carelessly and/or from poor quality fruit suffers from a significant generation of free fatty acids. The free fatty acidity is thus a direct measure of the quality of the oil, and reflects the care taken right from blossoming and fruit set to the sale of the oil. Freshly pressed oil, made carefully, without the use of excessive heat, from healthy, freshly picked olives, has a low acidity. Low acidity means quality, and of course, quality means good taste, so we can see a relation. An olive oil with high acidity will probably have some defect in taste (or will have it soon), generated by the careless harvest or production process.
Limit of acidity allowed for Extra virgin olive oil by European regulation is 0,80%. Above that acidity, the oil cannot be considered Extra virgin but only virgin (acidity 0.80-2º) and above that limit the oil is Lampante (that needs to be chemical refined).
While best wines are usually the oldest ones, aged for years in the cellars, the best olive oils are the oils recently produced and recently bottled. We bottle only on request, to guarantee freshness and best quality, and we introduce nitrogen when filling to avoid oxygen between oil and cap. This way, Soler Romero olive oil leaves our facility in the best possible conditions. Both we and our distributors strive to achieve that our products arrive at your home as soon as possible since it was bottled.
Heat, light and air can affect the taste of olive oil and its health-promoting nutrients. Olive oil must be stored in a dark, room-temperature cupboard, ideal temperature is 18ºC. If for some reason, your olive oil is exposed to very low temperatures, their components will start to get frozen, this is natural (as in most liquids) and does not affect quality, you just have to leave the olive oil at warm temperature again.
The fats and healthy components in olive oil, as well as the taste and aroma slowly degrade over time, so we recommend to use it within a year from bottling if you want to obtain the highest level of aroma, taste and healthy attributes. However, it will remain in good conditions for two years from bottling date if package and storage are appropriated. Olive oil claims "best by date", not an expiration date. After the recommended best before date, olive oil is still edible and can be consumed.