There is no doubt if we affirm that olive oil is one of the greatest delicacies. This product, which has been part of Mediterranean gastronomy for centuries, is known as “liquid gold” for a reason. However, within it we find a few varieties that we must know, either to identify the type of olive or the level of quality. With this objective in mind, we have set out to explain to you in this article the differences that exist between gourmet-type olive oil with respect to others.
We can already tell you that gourmet oil is the highest quality and has a singular purity. This is influenced by factors such as the level of maturation of the olive, the type of harvest or the accessories that are part of the process of extraction and preparation of the final product. Let’s take a closer look at these circumstances.
What does gourmet olive oil consist of?
As you already know, the term “gourmet” distinguishes the highest quality gastronomic products from the rest. In the case of gourmet olive oil, its differences make it one of the main ingredients in haute cuisine, especially in the framework of the countries located in the Mediterranean Sea, where olive cultivation is majority and represents one of the greatest agricultural incentives. To achieve its original characteristics, you have to take care of these elements:
- The time of harvesting, which is located in autumn within the northern hemisphere. The exact date, which will determine the ripening of the olive, directly influences the level of acidity, being minimal in the case at hand.
- The collection type. This is one of the main differences of gourmet EVOO, since its olives must be picked directly from the tree and not from the ground. Although this circumstance seems strange to you at first, it has its logic. When the product is collected from the ground, it has come into contact with earth or stones that affect your skin. For this reason, a manual harvest is recommended that also avoids rubbing against the branches and olives in better condition can be selected. Without a doubt, it is one more example that quality products need a meticulous procedure.
- The elaboration. Another key is that the extraction of the liquid takes place a few hours after harvesting, through a system of artisanal grinding where no machinery is involved. We must also take care of the temperature, since the fruit must be cold to preserve its beneficial properties.
How to differentiate it when purchasing and trying it?
Once we have the final product, you yourself can find the differences in taste and appearance that characterize gourmet olive oil compared to others:
- The flavor of gourmet olive oil is much more intense and fruity than refined ones.
- The intensity of the ingredient is noticeable by leaving a small tingle on the tongue and palate.
- Regarding the appearance of the product, this type of EVOO stands out for its bright yellow/greenish color, very different from what we usually see in standard ones.
- The packaging also influences when identifying a gourmet oil. Not only because it is much more elaborate and has special designs as a marketing strategy, but also because the packaging must be opaque to preserve the organoleptic and chemical qualities, in order to avoid oxidation due to exposure to light.
The differences for the production of La Matilla gourmet oil
In Aceites La Matilla, within the conditions to obtain olive oil of the best quality, we have a own system that guarantees a unique product. To begin with, we grow and extract the oil on the land of our farm, with the idea that it goes directly to your table. We tell you the process step by step:
- We have 40 hectares of olive trees where we manually select and harvest the best olives.
- The harvest time is fixed at the beginning of autumn, between the end of September and the beginning of October. This information is key, since harvesting during the early maturation stage will give it a unique flavor among all EVOOs. As for the time of day, the ideal is for it to take place at dawn or in the early hours of the morning, so that the fruit is cold.
- By the time of pressing in the oil mill, six hours must not have passed since the harvest. The system used, following the traditional techniques that have been used for centuries, is pressing using baskets.
- The packaging, of course, is also done manually. Only through this meticulous process will we achieve excellence in the final product.
Regarding the type of olive, our farm has a majority presence of the Arbequina, although we also work with the Picual, Hojiblanca and Arbosana varieties. If you want to check the flavor and qualities of each of them, we invite you to discover it in our online gourmet olive oil store.