Extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil or (classic) olive oil? What is their difference, and which should we choose?
Let’s see in detail:
Extra virgin olive oil: Olive oil produced directly from olives, using only natural and mechanical means. It has excellent organoleptic characteristics (color, appearance, aroma and characteristic taste). Its acidity does not exceed 0.8 g. per 100 gr. (0.8%). The lower the acidity is than 0.8%, the better its quality.
Virgin olive oil: Olive oil produced directly from olives, using only natural and mechanical means, with a free acidity no more than 2.0%. It is produced in the same way as extra virgin olive oil and has quite good organoleptic characteristics. It is of lower quality than extra virgin olive oil, due to the higher acidity.
Olive oil: It is a mixture of refined olive oil and edible virgin olive oil with an acidity of no more than 1%. This is a lower quality olive oil, as in its preparation, in addition to virgin olive oil (not extra virgin), refined olive oil (which is known as lampante) is also used. Lampante olive oil, in its original form, is not intended for consumption (due to its very high acidity, exceeding 3.3% and/or its unacceptable organoleptic characteristics), but only for industrial uses. However, through special chemical processing (refining) it can be consumed by humans.
The only categories of olive oil available on the market without further chemical treatment (refining) are extra virgin olive oil and virgin olive oil. The remaining quality categories of oils, such as olive oil (with no other indication), undergo chemical processes that contribute to the improvement of the initial organoleptic characteristics (color, taste, aroma) and the reduction of the initial acidity to low levels.
Extra virgin olive oil is justifiably more expensive than the rest of the olive oil sold on the market. It is the highest quality category of olive oil. It is a nutritional treasure. A pure natural olive oil, without industrial processing. It has a strong fruity taste and aroma of freshly cut olive fruit.