Only lovers of true cuisine know how important it is to choose a quality extra virgin olive oil, which can help enhance the dishes and become the absolute protagonist of each preparation, but as long as it is good and certified.
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the most beneficial foods for our health. Regular use helps to reduce the amount of so-called “bad” cholesterol, while increasing the presence of “good” cholesterol. Another benefit of extra virgin olive oil is the reduction of blood pressure and, consequently, a slowdown in cell aging.
Preferring the cheapest bottle almost always means making the wrong choice. Be wary of low prices and instead check the cost per liter and, of course, the label.
Origin is the main mandatory information. If the harvesting and pressing of the olives both took place in a State or in a member Country of a geographical area, the origin indicated on the label may be, for example, “Italy” or “European Union”. In an oil obtained from Tunisian olives, however pressed in Italy, you will find this inscription: “Extra virgin olive oil obtained in Italy from olives harvested in Tunisia”.
Also due to the fact of being the only Country in the world where 500 varieties of olives are produced, which obviously give non-approved flavors, suitable for different dishes, Italy is at the forefront in the production of the best extra virgin olive oil, a pride of the made in Italy in the world.
But high quality also means the highest average price of production, approximately double that of other European oils such as Greek and Spanish, or non-European oils such as Tunisian. This makes fraud such as counterfeiting, alteration and falsification frequent and profitable.
In addition to the origin, other important information to look for on the label to choose the best extra virgin olive oil at the supermarket are: producer, classification and name of the oil, as well as the expiry date. Further information useful for making informed choices, such as harvest year and bottling date, are unfortunately optional. Finding them on the label is an indication of the manufacturer’s seriousness.
Continuing to talk about the best extra virgin olive oil, it is useful to know that, to ensure the highest quality, harvesting and pressing take place in a short time and, immediately after, the olives are cold-ground in the mills trusted by the producers. Finally, a good oil is stored in steel containers to better maintain the genuine flavor.
It can be called extra virgin olive oil only if obtained from the pressing of the olives by mechanical activity. Industrial processes or any form of heating are excluded.
There are several parameters taken into consideration to evaluate the best olive oil on the market, both chemical and physical, as well as organoleptic and commercial.
A European law establishes that an olive oil, to be extra virgin, therefore of a higher category, must be free from defects in aroma and flavor. Another legal requirement is the percentage of acidity. In the best extra virgin olive oil it must be 0.8 g for every 100 g of product, while in virgin oil it can stop at 2 g per 100 g of product.
Other chemical analyzes are conducted to verify that the oil has not been counterfeited, that is, mixed with different or refined oils and the presence of pesticides.
The analysis is completed by the organoleptic evaluation conducted by a group of expert tasters, to verify compliance with the characteristics of the extra virgin olive oil and its qualities and to detect its strengths and weaknesses from the point of view of smell and taste.
What are the best extra virgin olive oils in Italy, those of excellent quality? Here is the list.
De Cecco is an Italian food company that produces pasta, extra virgin olive oil, and tomato derivatives. Founded in 1886 by Filippo Giovanni De Cecco, for over a hundred years it boasts a vast range of products in the catalog and is one of the leading pasta producers in the world. De Cecco is in fact an Italian brand recognized and appreciated also abroad. De Cecco selects the best Italian and European oils to guarantee the consumer a unique, superior taste experience. Not surprisingly, De Cecco extra virgin olive oil is among the most requested by customers abroad, who also order in large quantities. De Cecco extra virgin olive oil is a green-colored oil with golden yellow reflections, characterized by the intense and persistent aroma of freshly cut grass. On the palate it has a strong bitter and spicy flavor perfectly balanced with the scent. Six fragrances are available: classic (best-selling), 100% Italian, fruity, delicate, unfiltered, exclusive. The black bottle with golden writings contains a precious oil, decisive and balanced at the same time.
Desantis was born in Puglia, in the land of Bari, and is a market leader both in Italy and abroad. In fact, it is in great demand by customers in northern Europe and the Balkan area. The history of the Desantis oil company dates back to the 1950s when Giovanni Desantis started his production activity in the family oil mill. In the 60s and 70s, the company began packaging olive oil. With the advent of the European Market, the company has opened up to significant growth, while continuing to move in the wake of continuity between past and present and fidelity to the traditions of peasant culture, to guarantee the future of olive oil. Today “Olearia Desantis S.p.A.” covers an area of 20,000 square meters, of which 6,000 are covered and is confirmed as one of the major local realities in its sector and among the most significant at the national level. 100% Italian Desantis extra virgin olive oil is the ideal solution to combine quality and price. Another excellent product is the “Terra di Bari”, a superior extra virgin olive oil obtained from the most typical and qualitatively best olives in the Bari area.
Founded in Montevarchi in 1893, in Tuscany, this Italian food company, specializing in the olive oil sector, has the merit of bringing its more than centenary experience to the tables of Italians every day, passionately promoting the culture of taste and of quality. The company’s headquarters are in Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, in the province of Florence. More than 125 years of history have made Carapelli one of the most popular extra virgin olive oil brands in Italy and in the world. A success achieved with commitment, through the careful selection of the best Italian and European oils; a constant look at the future and innovation, without forgetting tradition; attention to new trends, tastes and preferences of the consumer. In the wide assortment of Carapelli, “Oro Verde” is a 100% Italian extra virgin olive oil with a unique taste. Lively, intense, fruity, it is ideal to be tasted raw. The bottle, in dark green glass to protect from UV radiation, guarantees the best preservation of color, flavor and perfume.
Clemente is one of the largest companies in the Italian oil supply chain. Clemente is not simply an oil producer, but a reality that gives value to its product and to the land in which it was born, Puglia. Today Clemente is a leading company in the olive sector and a major player on the Italian and international markets. The Clemente oil company gives value to its product by directly managing all stages of the production process, from the care of the immense expanses of olive groves to the management of modern and certified processing and bottling plants. Nothing escapes the rigorous checks carried out by the company within the company itself. Origin and quality have always been guaranteed by directly supervising all stages of the production chain, from harvesting to milling, from storage to bottling, and from quality control to transport to tables. A careful and rigorous traceability system allows for identifying and tracing every production batch. In particular, Clemente Organic Premium is a strong and pungent extra virgin olive oil, which enhances the flavors and enhances any accompaniment. Beautiful the bottle, precious the content. With an equally surprising price.
Monini was founded in 1920 in Spoleto, in the province of Perugia, on the initiative of two partners, Pietro Gualfucci and Zefferino Monini, who set up a company for the marketing of olive oils. The Spoleto area, thanks to the hills full of olive groves from which an oil with an intense but balanced taste is obtained, is suited to the production of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. In the 2000s, Monini, whose management had passed from the end of the eighties to the brother’s Maria Flora and Zefferino Monini, started a commercial expansion abroad with the creation of distribution branches. A state-of-the-art company in terms of structures, technology and quality control, Monini is now able to renew tradition through a responsible business management model, both from an environmental, social and ethical point of view. Monini has in fact embarked on an important “eco-sustainable” path. In 2011, Monini was the second reference brand, after Carapelli, in the extra virgin olive oil sector on the national market, the first in the GDO in 13 Italian regions. Its “Classico” Extra Virgin Oil, the best-selling in Italy.
Founded in Lucca in 1865, the Bertolli spouses’ small oil shop soon conquered the Tuscan market, eventually expanding and gaining fame abroad, especially among the communities of Italian emigrants to America. Today the company, without ever forgetting its artisan imprint, exports its products to 45 Countries. Bertolli is the best-selling olive oil in the world. In 150 years, Bertolli has been able to transform the love for good food and genuine ingredients into a globally successful company. The olive trees that offer olives for oil cultivation in Italy are too few to meet the world’s extra virgin olive oil consumption. Bertolli, in order to guarantee the same quality standards, must also buy olives abroad and in particular in the Mediterranean basin. This in no way means lowering the quality of the product since a company like Bertolli is subjected to continuous and important checks by Italian, European, and world bodies. The assortment includes four different fragrances: original, robust, gentle and fragrant. Bertolli oil, although of the highest quality, is not 100% Italian but comes from the best olives grown in Europe.
The “P. Sasso e Figli” company was born in Oneglia, the port of the Ligurian oil industry, in 1860. In a short time, thanks to strong values such as tradition, competence and passion for quality, Sasso became the main producer of branded oil in a market hitherto characterized by artisanal production. Engaged in the purchase of olives and oil in Liguria and throughout Italy, in the selection of qualities and in the control of the manufacturing process to ensure consistency of flavor and delicacy of taste, the company quickly established itself on the market as an agricultural reality, industrial and commercial. The first great successes of the company are due to the pioneering spirit of the Novaro family: from success all over the world, to modern innovations for production, sales and communication. Always driven by great attention to the tastes of the most demanding consumers, the Sasso brand is aware of the need to respect and constantly renew the centuries-old tradition of research, selection of raw materials and rigorous controls, to guarantee a product of excellence.
The history of Dante oil begins in 1849, when Andrea Costa – founder of the Genoese family of the same name – began marketing olive oil and textiles from Sardinia to Liguria, and then specialized in the purchase of crude olive oil in the Mediterranean Countries. Giacomo Costa, son of Andrea, has a very ambitious vision: to bring a piece of Italy to kitchens all over the world. As early as 1898, the first bottles of oil were shipped to North America, Argentina and even Australia under the Dante brand, a symbol of Italian spirit and poetry. In the meantime, the need to transport products quickly leads Giacomo Costa to first procure used cargo ships and then have them built directly, giving life to what will become the Costa Cruises fleet. Already in those years, Olio Dante became the protagonist of various advertising campaigns. The first complaints on the pages of the historic magazine of the Italian Touring Club date back to 1933. In 1959 Olio Dante made its debut on TV on RAI channels. In 1985 the Anglo-Dutch multinational Unilever took over Olio Dante and then sold it in 2008 to the Spanish group SOS-Cuetara. In April 2009 the brand finally returned to Italian thanks to its acquisition by the Oleifici Mataluni of Montesarchio (in the province of Benevento, in Campania), where its production is still established today.
In 1939 Coricelli extra virgin olive oil made its debut on Italian tables, in Spoleto, in the heart of Umbria. From generation to generation it has been able to pass on a passion for the most genuine flavors; family members are involved, side by side, in the management of the company. Today Coricelli is among the largest oil companies in Europe and exports to over 110 Countries around the world, thus representing one of the most distributed Italian brands globally. For over 70 years Coricelli has been committed to bringing all the safety and quality of its products to your table thanks to an uninterrupted tradition, made up of intense aromas and flavors, but also of great competence and technology. They have always been careful to ensure the excellence of their processes, products and services, adopting the most important quality standards applicable to food companies. In addition, to safeguard the territory, together with traditions, they operate in respect of the environment and the community and with a view to sustainable growth. In fact, they are the first Italian oil company to have implemented a social and environmental responsibility project since 2010 aimed at reducing CO2 emissions in its factories. Within the Coricelli company it is possible to witness the entire production cycle of extra virgin olive oil where technology, competence, respect for tradition and passion for quality are inextricably linked.
Since 1780 the Farchioni family has been selecting raw materials to transform them into products of excellence, always at the right price. Oil, wine, beer, and flour: from the heart of Umbria, Farchioni products have reached tables all over the world. Controlled supply chain, innovation, and environmental and social sustainability values are its characteristics. From the very beginning, the Farchioni family has put together with their olive groves the passion for their work, respect for the land, and love for the family tradition in growing olives that offer the best and most authentic that exists. in nature, oil. Today Farchioni Oil has reached very important competitive levels in the global market, boasting among its customers all the best groups of large-scale distribution thanks to the wide range of products offered. All Farchioni products are born from the experience and care of the family that for over ten generations has personally taken care of the quality and selection in the best production areas. Farchioni extra virgin olive oil; Delicate extra virgin olive oil; Fruity extra virgin olive oil; 100% Italian extra virgin olive oil; Organic extra virgin olive oil; Novello extra virgin olive oil; Olive Oil: the entire complete line of Farchioni oils that has determined the success of this company, thanks to the family tradition and respect for nature, strongly believing in the need to find a constant balance among man, the earth and its fruits.