One of the most important national products of Greece, Spain and Italy, a source of beneficial vitamins and acids for the body, the key ingredient in many Mediterranean dishes and Mediterranean diets — all this is olive oil.
Expert De cecco Mauro Moscardi told how to choose olive oil, and shared the recipe fettucine with porcini mushrooms and olive oil.
“The benefits of olive oil and its properties are largely dependent on the production technology,” explains Mauro. — The best product is the result of completely mechanical pressed olives, without heating.
It is this olive oil has the right to be called Extra virgin: it is very useful and has a bright taste and rich color. «
Another important difference of good olive oil is low acidity.
The acidity index increases with long-term storage of the crop or if the fruit of the olive has been damaged.
The standard of acidity in the world is 0.8%.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil must have an acidity not higher than this indicator — the reference product is, for example, olive oil De Cecco Extra Vergine di Oliva Classico (its acidity is 0.22-0.3%).
Olive oil has several varieties that have been identified by specialists from the European Olive Council International (IOC), located in Madrid. There are two main types of oil to pay attention to:
- Extra virgin olive oil — unrefined olive oil is obtained by the first cold pressing. In the production of unrefined oil, the fruits of the olive tree are processed without heat and chemical treatment, only using physical methods. Extra virgin olive oil is one of the best and most expensive and is considered the most useful. The acidity of this oil does not exceed 0.8% and is not used for frying, but it is ideal for salads, sauces, and baking.
- Olive oil Virgin olive oil slightly inferior Extra Virgin in flavor, color and taste properties, otherwise it possesses all the qualitative characteristics. The acidity of this oil does not exceed 2%.
The third kind, which must be said — cleared, refined olive oil (refined olive oil), that is, the oil of the second extraction, it is obtained by refining olive oil of the first extraction.
Refined olive oil is excellent for frying, because when heated, it does not oxidize so much and does not form carcinogens and does not have a pronounced taste.
Also, when choosing, it is worth paying attention to where the product was produced: the top three countries that can boast the best olive oil are Italy, Spain and Greece.
Why exactly their products deserve such attention?
One of the main reasons is the geographical and climatic features of the terrain of these countries.
The warm climate, the abundance of sun and fertile soil are ideal conditions in which olive trees grow strong and fertile, and the olives ripen well.
In turn, within each country there are specific regions, each of which provides olive oil with specific characteristics. They depend on the geography of the region in which olive trees grow.
Oil produced in a particular region from olives harvested here is considered an oil by geographic name.
So, in Italy there are four main regions that produce olive oil: Tuscany, Liguria, Umbria and, of course, the hot island of Sicily.
In other regions (especially in the south and in the central part of Italy) they also produce olive oil from local olives, although, of course, on a smaller scale.
“It seems that all olive oil is very similar,” laughs Mauro Moscardi, “However, Italian olive oils are very different.
The product from northern Liguria is translucent and has a light green color. Tuscan and Umbrian olive oils are slightly darker and have a very rich aroma — the reason for this is the hilly terrain of the regions and stony, dense soil.
The oil of Sicily is the most amazing: it is very thick, dark and even slightly unclear, but it has tremendously healthy properties and taste. ”
Respectively, geographical location of olive oil — this is not only the name of the country of origin on the package, but often the name of the region.
There are oil with protected denomination of origin or indicating the production area.
This is evidenced by the abbreviation indicated on the package.
- PDO/DOP(Denominazione di Origine Protetta) — on the bottle of oil such marking is put in the event that the entire production process from the cultivation of olives to bottling takes place in the same territory. That is, the combination of natural factors (raw materials, climate, place of production) and the human factor (production by traditional and craft methods) excludes the possibility of imitation or production of the same products in another place.
- Igp(Indicazione Geografica Protetta) — this abbreviation says that the oil was produced in a specific geographic region recognized by the European Union. It is important that in this region only one phase of the production process is carried out — either the production of raw materials or the processing of olives. Such a product is produced in compliance with all production regulations that describe the characteristics of products, geographical region, methods of cultivation and processing, olive varieties.
Another type of olive oil label — Bio, biological olive oil (biologico) — such an inscription indicates a complete environmental friendliness of the product, confirms that synthetic chemicals and genetically modified organisms were not used in its production, and the treatment of crops for preservation and protection from parasites, diseases, weeds and fertilization of soils occurred using organic substances and natural minerals.
Olive oil is widely used in medicine and in personal care, but most often in cooking.
In Italy, it seems, no dish can do without at least one drop of olive oil: it is added to salads, soups, desserts and is eaten just like that with fresh bread.
It is the use of olive oil and its taste qualities that make this product the main protagonist of the Mediterranean diet.
“We cannot live a day without olive oil,” confirms Mauro. — Extra virgin olive oil Italian housewives use for dressing salads, pasta dishes, cooking bruschetta and desserts.
Personally, I really like the tradition of starting dinner with a piece of fresh bread flavored with fragrant oil — this is very tasty! ”
It is hard to believe that olive oil can be an excellent base for almost any dish. Nevertheless, the Italians assure that this product is appropriate everywhere and always.
To dispel possible doubts, Mauro Moscardi shared Fettuccine recipe with porcini mushrooms based on olive oil.
This dish will appeal to even the most sophisticated gourmets, and, moreover, has an excellent taste!
What do you need:
- fettucine De cecco — 400 g
- chanterelles — 200 g
- olive oil De cecco il classico — 5 tbsp.
- garlic — 2 cloves.
What to do: see here.
Thanks for the help in preparing the material company. De cecco.