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EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

Extra virgin olive oil is essentially the juice of the olives. Therefore, its production is not a very complicated process. In fact, its complexity lies in preserving, as much as possible, the organoleptic, or sensory qualities of the harvested fruits.

The essence of any good extra virgin olive oil lies in the quality of the fruit from which it has been extracted and the time at which it is harvested.

Another key part of the process is in the treatment of the fruit from the tree to the bottle. Therefore, below we have given a brief outline of the different phases of development of an extra virgin olive oil summarising the key points that differentiate common oils from exceptional ones.

HARVEST

There are many methods of harvesting with massive plantations allowing continuous mechanical olive picking. This allows the time from harvesting to processing to be kept constant and to the minimum, which is essential to preserve all the properties of the fruit and obtain a top-quality oil.

Olive oil harvest

PRODUCTION PROCESS

It is important that only physical or mechanical methods are used for the crushing, malaxing and separation stages.

Cleaning

Once the olives are harvested, it is important that they enter the mill intact, clean and as soon as possible. Therefore, the care and promptness in transporting the olives to the mill is vital to extract only the essence of the olive at its best moment.

Cleaning process

Crushing

Once the olives have been thoroughly cleaned they are crushed in a mill, producing a paste, which will then be malaxed.

Malaxation

The paste from the mill is malaxed or ‘massaged’ slowly so that small oil droplets are released from their cells and join with each other. A temperature of below 27°C is maintained during this process so as not to lose the aromas; hence the term "cold extraction".

Separation

Next, by means of decanter centrifugation, the stone and pulp and vegetative liquid are separated from the oil.

Yields

As they are processed cold, the yield from the best extra virgin olive oils is only about 12-15%. Approximately 8kgs of olives are used to produce one litre of oil, whilst for a normal process about 4-5kgs of olives would suffice.