Extra virgin Olive Oil produced on the hills of Valpolicella
Oil is a food product obtained from the extraction and pressing of olives, the fruit of olive trees. It is an original product of the Mediterranean agri-food tradition, and is produced in regions with a Mediterranean climate. In Italy, production is mainly concentrated in the center-south. While the province of Verona is the northernmost area in the world, where it is possible to cultivate the olive tree for the production of olive oil.
In particular, in this territory, two different production areas certified D.O.P. (protected designation of origin): Garda-Orientale and Veneto-Valpolicella. In fact, Valpolicella enjoys a very favorable microclimate for the cultivation of olive trees and vines.
Oil: types and characteristics
There are various types of oil, each with its own characteristics and peculiarities. The commercial names are codified by the European Union (Directive 136/66 / EEC). Among these we remember Extra Virgin Olive Oil (also called EVO) and virgin olive oil.
Both are obtained by extraction with mechanical methods only.
Extra virgin olive oil, to be classified as such, must have an acidity that must never exceed 0.8%. The acidity of an oil represents the concentration of free fatty acids and is one of the fundamental parameters for evaluating the quality of an oil. In Italy an identity card for extra virgin olive oil has even been created.
Olive oil: production phases
There are two stages of extra virgin olive oil production:
- olive harvest
The olives are traditionally harvested by hand on nets, as is still the case, for example, for the Valpolicella Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The harvesting period runs from approximately mid-October to the end of December. Harvesting by hand is long and difficult, but it is absolutely essential to ensure the production of a fragrant extra virgin olive oil with no unpleasant odors.
Once harvested, the olives are stored in plastic bins and bags. They are stored away from heat sources and are pressed within 24-48 hours of collection. The “virgin oils” are obtained exclusively from an extraction based on mechanical processes. There are two different types of extraction:
There are five production phases within an oil mill:
- preliminary stages
- extraction of the oil must
- separation of oil from water
- storage, clarification and bottling.