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EVOO 101

THE ART OF THE OLIVE

Olives come in a wide assortment of beautiful colors and shades dependent on variety and ripeness. From fresh, bright apple green to deep plum purple, and vibrant yellow-gold to mahogany red, olive pigmentations are wonderfully diverse. They can even be a combination of two or three different hues, creating a unique ombre effect.

The olive is a drupe, or a fruit with a single large pit inside. Compared to other stone fruits like peaches and cherries, olives have an incredibly low sugar content and an ultra high oil content that in average can vary from 18% to 30% depending on the variety, ripeness and geographical location.

There are hundreds of varieties of olive trees, and different trees yield different olives that vary in size, chemical characteristics, oil content, ripening time, taste profiles, and more. The oils, once extracted from the olives, are blended into unique flavors that are distinctive to Carapelli.

The list below reveals our favorite olive varietals, of which we select only the finest fruit from exceptional crops.

Arbequina – This olive has a sweet fruitiness, low levels of bitterness and spiciness, and is both delicate and fragrant.

Coratina – Gives off an amazing green aroma and a peppery exclamation for a finish.

Hojiblanca – Widely appreciated for its initial slightly sweet taste combined with the bitterness and pleasant peppery flavor of unripe fruits, ending with an almond aftertaste.

Koroneiki – Sweet and fruity, with hints of grassiness and a slightly peppery taste.

Picual – Bitter taste with a peppery kick. It has a strong green fig flavor.

THE ART OF TASTING

Similar to fine wine, extra virgin olive oils offer a range of flavors that vary based on olive types, harvest times, growing regions, climate and more. Selecting a flavorful oil is the ideal way to enhance your meal preparation. Below are some tips for arranging your own olive oil tasting. You can follow up by incorporating the flavor notes you discover into your favorite recipes.

THE ART OF GROWING

Olive trees thrive in a Mediterranean climate, where they have been grown and cultivated for thousands of years. In the present, olive trees are harvested in other fruitful parts of the world such as California and Australia; however, 90% of olives are still grown in fertile Mediterranean soil, carrying on the age-old tradition.

Most olive trees are self-pollinating and require only bees or wind to bear fruit. Their lifespan can stretch upwards to hundreds of years. The olive tree is an investment, as trees grow slowly and need meticulous cultivation. In exchange, their longevity rewards many generations with their bountiful fruit.

THE ART OF STORING

To keep your olive oil at its best, there are 3 things to avoid: air, heat and light. Extra virgin olive oils naturally lose their health benefits and desirable flavor over time. The best way to ensure longevity is to purchase the most recently bottled oil from your local store and keep it sealed in the original packaging. Store it in a cool, dark pantry away from heat and light.

THE ART OF HARVESTING

The harvesting process plays a key role in determining the olive’s ultimate flavor and quality. Olives are selected and harvested at just the right moment to ensure a desired taste profile. Those grown for oil are left on the tree until some color change occurs.

Each year brings its own set of circumstances to the olive. Creating the perfect crop conditions to produce the ideal crop lies in the hands of the farmer and Mother Nature. The climate, pests, soil conditions, harvesting time, and even the method of harvesting will determine the outcome of the growing season.

Once harvested, the carefully selected olives are cold pressed in a matter of hours to extract the precious oil and then quickly contained to preserve quality.