Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Health aspects

Today extra-virgin olive-oil is considered a foodstuff to all effects by nutritionists, food sector operators and restaurateurs. The idea of olive oil as just a dressing has long been superseded. Extra-virgin olive oil consists of more than 98% Triglycerides, which is to say Lipids (the saponifiable part) while the rest (non-saponifiable) is made up of more than 200 highly important chemical substances such as Hydrocarbons, Liposoluble Vitamins and Phenols... These are the nutritional components of the oil. Extra-virgin olive oil is very rich in Vitamin E, which further strengthens our immunity system and, combating the radical liberals, protects us from cell aging..

Do not imagine that there are “lean” and “fatty” olive oils. From this point of view it makes no difference at all whether an oil is sweet, spicy or bitter. Moreover, olive oil contains 9 Kcal per gram, the same as all other fats.

A bit of advice

Differences in colour, perfume and taste are given solely by the various substances present in the oil as a result of different kinds of olive trees, different types of ripening, the kind of extraction employed and the type of soil.

  • In general an oil from the new harvest will certainly have a livelier, fresher and pleasanter perfume, colour and taste than an old oil.
  • New oil should always be preferred to old, both for its lower acidity (whose most direct consequence is greater digestibility) and for its content of organoleptic substances which are lost with time, especially the polyphenols.
  • The acidity of an extra-virgin oil should never exceed 0.8% (0.5% for Garda D.O.P. extra-virgin oil).

It should be kept in mind that without the aid of laboratory analyses nobody can establish whether an extra-virgin olive oil is acid or not. Often acidity is confused with bitterness, which is the sensation perceived on the palate when tasting an oil that is usually young and tends to come from not fully ripened olives. A good extra-virgin olive oil, when tasted, should always close on a bitter and spicy note, even if light and gentle as in the case of Garda oils.

Even the least experienced person can perceive the most evident subtleties, be they positive (attributes) or negative (defects). By its very nature extra-virgin olive oil is natural and healthy. The statements required by law on the label clearly affirm this: extra-virgin olive oil is a superior category of olive oil obtained directly from the olives and only by mechanical procedures. Refinement is therefore absolutely precluded.


All extra-virgin oils today are obtained by cold extraction, which is to say at a controlled temperature which by law must be below 28°C. The care and attention employed in production also applies to preservation.

  • Correct storage is in the dark in steel barrels.
  • The discipline for the production of Garda DOP extra-virgin olive oil will shortly envisage the obligation to store – in the absence of oxygen, thanks to the use of nitrogen for foodstuffs – at an optimal temperature of 13-15°C.
  • The sale of oil in dark coloured glass bottles is a sign of the company’s professionalism.

Though it may generally guarantee the quality and origins of an oil, merely reading the label can often be simply an end in itself. Direct purchase from the producer, where you can taste the oil, is therefore the best way to buy.