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Breaking Down Olive Oil : A Guide to Olive Oil Grades and Types

When it comes to olive oil, the choices can be overwhelming. Walk into a grocery store, and you’ll encounter a vast array of options, each claiming to be the best. To make an informed choice, it’s essential to understand the different grades and types of olive oil. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of olive oil grades and types, helping you understand labels and helping you choose the right one for your culinary adventures.

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: The Gold Standard

Extra-virgin olive oil is the highest grade and most sought-after type of olive oil. It is known for its exceptional quality and flavor. To be classified as extra-virgin, the oil must meet specific criteria:

Cold Pressed: Extra-virgin olive oil is extracted without the use of heat or chemicals, preserving its natural flavors and aromas.

Low Acidity: It must have an acidity level below 0.8%, indicating the oil is made from high-quality, fresh olives.

Flavorful: Extra-virgin olive oil should have a well-balanced flavor profile, with fruity, slightly peppery, and often grassy or nutty notes.

At D’Olivo we source all our oils from Veronica Foods, who requires their oils meet an even more strict standard (there are over 54 parameters), earning all of our oils the designation of Ultra Premium extra virgin olive oil.

Purchasing a high-quality extra virgin olive oil is essential to making sure you can use your oil in any culinary adventure you might embark upon. High quality extra virgin olive oil has an extremely high smoke point making it great for cooking dishes, frying dishes, but it is also perfect for marinades, drizzling over salads or roasted vegetables, dipping bread, baking and more.

In addition, extra virgin olive oils, because of the method of production used, maintain all of the health benefits of the olives themselves. Check out these amazing benefits here https://dolivotastingbar.com/5-proven-health-benefits-olive-oil/

Virgin Olive Oil

Virgin olive oil is similar to extra-virgin but with slightly higher acidity levels, up to 2%. While it does not meet all the strict criteria of extra-virgin, it can offer excellent quality and flavor, making it a suitable choice for those looking for a less expensive option or for cooks who aren’t interested in all of the health benefits provided by the extra virgin standard.

Olive Oil

Often labeled as “pure” or “light” olive oil, this grade is a blend of refined and virgin olive oils. It has a milder flavor and lighter color compared to extra-virgin and virgin olive oils. The refining process removes impurities and flavors, resulting in a more neutral taste.

Refined Olive Oil

Refined olive oil is obtained from low-quality olives or olives that have defects. It undergoes a refining process to remove impurities and undesirable flavors. While it lacks the distinctive taste of extra-virgin olive oil, refined olive oil is commonly used in the food industry and can also be found in some household kitchens. Its main role is to provide a neutral base for other culinary creations.

Flavored and Infused Olive Oils

Flavored and infused olive oils can add an extra dimension to your kitchen creations. These are olive oils fused or infused with various ingredients like herbs, spices, citrus, or even chili peppers. They are perfect for drizzling over salads, marinating meats, or adding a burst of flavor to your dishes. At D’Olivo all of our flavored olive oils begin with an ultra-premium extra virgin olive oil base and we’re proud to offer over 28 varieties! Experiment with different flavors to find the perfect fit for each new dish.

Regional Varieties: A World of Taste

The world of olive oil extends far beyond just grades and types. Olive oil enthusiasts often explore the different regional varieties. Olive oil’s flavor, aroma, and quality are significantly influenced by the specific region where the olives are grown and the unique environmental conditions present there. Regions like Tuscany in Italy, Andalusia in Spain, and Chile in South America are known for producing distinct and exceptional olive oils.

Conclusion: Choose Your Olive Oil Wisely

Understanding the grades and types of olive oil empowers you to select the right oil for your culinary needs and or your overall health. Whether you’re looking to create a delicate vinaigrette, sear a juicy steak, or add a burst of flavor to your dishes, there’s an olive oil for every occasion.

Our recommendation is always to select the highest quality, most pure form to ensure you’re getting all the wonderful health benefits as well as the delicious flavor of extra virgin olive oil.