THE DIFFERENT QUALITIES OF OLIVE OIL

Olive Oil is a precious and delicate natural product obtained thanks to humanís hard and skilled work. Different categories are distinguished according to its color, taste, smell and flavor.

Acidity, also, is an important factor in the oil quality. It must be not higher than 1% in the extra-virgin and than 2% in virgin olive oil.

Olive oil is classified into four categories: virgin, refined, olive and olive-pomace. Virgin olive oil is classified into further subgroups according to organoleptic tests and acidity level: extravirgin, virgin, ordinary and lampante. Refined olive oil is obtained from virgin olive oil by refining methods that do not modify the original glyceridic structure.††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††

Olive oil is produced by blending refined and olive oil. Olive-Pomace oil is obtained by treating olive pomace with solvents, and is sub-classified into crude, refined and olive-pomace oil.

In Sicilian extra-virgin oils, characteristics and flavors of the area of origin are entwined with those typical of the whole Island. Cultivars are strongly affected by environmental factors and features of the plantations.

Numerous Sicilian oils have the Protected Designation of Origin, that is granted to products whose manufacturing process is related to a defined geographic area according to European Unionís standards. Among DOP (Italian for PDO) Sicilian oils are: the oil from Hyblean Mountains, from provinces of Siracusa, Ragusa and Catania, that is a medium fruity fragrant and slightly spicy oil; the oil from the Demone Valley, in the Messina area, that is a medium fruity and sweet oil; the oil from Trapaniís valleys, a full-bodied oil with a spicy-fruity flavor; the oil from Etna Volcano, that appears to have intermediate characteristics between Messina and Hyblean oils; the oil from the Belice Valley, characterized by intense fruity aromas; the oil from the Mazara Valley, with a delicate fruity flavor and an intense grassy aroma.