Extra Virgin Olive Oil
To be qualified as extra virgin, an olive oil’s acidity must be under 0.8% and its peroxide value must be less than 20 meq/kg.
Fleur d’Huile is the high quality olive oil we produce at our traditional olive mill, using the least pressure possible.
First Cold Pressed
In order to be defined as First Cold Pressed, the method used to extract the oil from the olive paste must be a press.
The method of cold extraction uses a vertical decanter and centrifuge to extract the oil from the olive paste. No press is involved.
Olive oil decantation is the process by which the water present in an olive oil will be separated from it. Olive oil is lighter than water and thus rises to the top, while the water remains to the bottom of the recipient in which decantation is taking place.
The Protected Designation of Origin (P.D.O) is a geographical indication scheme set up by the European Union to promote and protect names of quality agricultural products. The legislation first came to exist in 1992. They are based upon the legal framework provided by the EU Regulation No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 November 2012. Only products genuinely originating in that region are allowed to be identified as such in commerce. The law aims to protect the reputation of regional foods, promote rural and agricultural activity, help producers obtain a premium price for their authentic products, and eliminate the unfair competition and misleading of consumers by non-genuine products, which could be of inferior quality or of different flavor.
The term comes from the ancient Greek word πολύς (polys, meaning "many, much") and the word phenol, which refers to a chemical structure. The word polyphenol appears to have been in use since 1894.
Polyphenols in olive oil are natural antioxidants. They contribute to a bitter taste, astringency, and resistance to oxidation. Beneficial effects which include, for example, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, contributing to a healthy heart, with a host of other positive contributions to our organisms.
Polyphenol content in olive oil is determined by many factors including:
- the olive variety: Koroneiki olives, for example have a very high level of polyphenols, (while the content of Arbequina olives is low).
- time of harvest: olive oil made from green olives has more polyphenols than oil made from ripe olives. The level of polyphenols increases with fruit growth. When the olives reach maturity, their polyphenol content begins to decrease.
- irrigation, temperatures, and cultivation practices
- method of extraction and extraction conditions (such as adding water or heating the paste) can enhance yield, but can also result in a loss of polyphenols.
- Storage: the type and length of storage are important factors in an oil’s phenolic compounds. A key factor is storing in cool conditions. As oil sits in storage tanks or in a bottle, the polyphenols will slowly be oxidized and disappear. Oils stored in stainless steel containers or dark glass bottles, are much better protected against oxidation than those bottled in clear glass.
- Peroxides are the main substances of oxidation of olive oil. Olive oil is oxidized when it comes into contact with oxygen. Oxidation has an unsavory flavor and odor and may negatively affect oil. The peroxide value increases when an oil is oxidized. High quality extra virgin olive oil usually has a peroxide value of less than 10meq/kg. In order to be extra virgin, olive oil must have less than 20 meq/kg.
Oil can be oxidized by:
- Auto-oxidation: it occurs in the absence of air. It is temporarily blocked by the natural antioxidants in the oil that absorb the free radicals. When the antioxidants are used up, the oil ages quickly.
- Photo-oxidation: it arises when the oil is exposed to natural or artificial light sources. It provokes serious deterioration of olive oil, as it can happen up to 30,000 times faster than auto-oxidation.
An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction involving the loss of electrons or an increase in oxidation state. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions. When the chain reaction occurs in a cell, it can cause damage or death to the cell. Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions by removing free radicals, and inhibit other oxidation reactions.