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Answers to few of the Frequently Asked Questions

What does "E.V.O.O." means?

It means: "Extra-Virgin Olive Oil", for a very interesting article on the various difference between various commercial grades of olive oil you can read this article on wikipedia. We invite you as well to take a look at our "What is olive oil?" page.

What is extra-virgin, and does it really matter?

It means that the acidity level, which is an indication of the "purity" of the oil, and of the fact that has not spoiled (more in the following) is below 0.8% in volume, as indicated by E.C. law, and that it has been extracted only by "physical means", meaning by squashing the olive cherries. By contrast, many producers extract olive oil using chemical solvent, high temperature and obtaining a very "acidic" oil, that it will be then be refined by other chemical means to obtain a final product which acidity level is still well below 0.8%, usually also below 0.3%, but whose taste and organoleptic properties are tremendously inferior to those of an "extra-virgin", that's why it is so important to have the statement: "produced uniquely through mechanical means" is so important, as it is important that its truthfulness is throughly controlled. So it matters the MOST that an oil is extra-virgin, everything else in fact is just a source of cheap oily fat that has no real meaning, except to make money cheaply for its producers, in which case they are better to be replaced by other kind of excellent inexpensive oils like the sunflower or the flaxseeds, canola oil, etc. Truly interesting is this episode of the KvV about olive oil (in Dutch) and this one of "Report" about the same subject (in Italian). All our oils are truly and only E.V.O.O.

What does it means "Prima spremitura a freddo" or "First cold press" or simply "Cold pressed"?

As we were mentioning earlier, the oil is obtain by pressing the cherries to obtain their oil's content. The pressing and subsequent phases temperature determine the amount and the quality of the final product: the higher the temperature, the more the oil, but the lower the quality. Therefore the conundrum for the producers: more oil, or more quality? Our producers are quite small ones which have dedicated their efforts to produce the best possible oils, they will never make more than 10-20.000 bottles per season. According to the European regulation, the terms relating to the "cold pressing" of the olives are only applicable when the process has been done with a temperature of the paste not exceeding 27 C. In some cases, like late harvesting in Liguria, the producer might be even heating the paste to something closer to that limit, being the external temperature though in the 10-15 C range! All in all, the "First Cold Press" or "Cold Pressed" is a generic indication of quality, but it is always better than nothing! Obviously , all our oils are cold pressed.

What does "D.O.P." mean?

Similarly to the V.Q.P.R.D. denomination for the French wines, the "D.O.P." means "Denominazione di Origine Protetta", or "Protected Denomination of Origin" and it is the Italian wording for an European Community indication (please see also this article on wikipedia) which rules the denominations of specific products which are traditionally from well-known area, in order to protect their trademark origin name in international trade. The most famous cases are the Parmigiano Reggiano and the Prosciutto di Parma, both of which are produced in the Italian region of the Emilia-Romagna (to be specific, in the "Emilian" part) and have been "duplicated" all over the world in "Parma ham" and "Parmesan cheese" which often have very little to do with the original product.

In order to avoid this kind of speculation, the E.C. have set the rule that a product from a very well-known denominated area can apply for the DOP-PGS status and certify the set of rules, indicated by the producers, strictly to be followed in order to obtain the original local product. Many of our oils are D.O.P., which means that they come from a very specific area and cherries' type natives of the area, and only of the area. This is to prevent the ambiguity of the "100% Italian oil" in the label which truly means next to nothing, as nothing will mean: "Cheese from Holland", and frauds in the sector are quite diffused, unfortunately, as per this article, among others. Obviously frauds are still possible under the D.O.P.-P.G.S. regulation, but risks are much higher, and the regulation much stricter. Famous D.O.P. can be found in our "L'Extravergine 2009", truly a great source of information in this and many other regards. A few of our olive oils are D.O.P., and our greatest D.O.P. is certainly the "Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena", one of the first products to obtain this status.

Why does it cost so much?

You should truly be asking: "How can the other olive oils be so cheap?". Because a good olive oil starts from hand-picking the olives, and a skilled persons doing this for 8-10 hours will cost 80 euros or more, depending on the place, but truly no less unless you are not talking about some form of "modern slavery". At the end of the day, the collection of such a person will amount to no more than 100 kg (and that's a lot!). The average gain, when squeezing quality olives, is around 15%, therefore you might be able to get 15 liters of oil at the end of the day, that you have paid, for the collection only, 80 euros or 5.30 euros/liter. Add squeezing, bottling, labeling, distribution, marketing, etc etc ETC and you will well understand that it is truly hard to get anything seriously decent at 4-5 euros per bottle...

Do you ship abroad?

We don't, unfortunately. We believe that the advantages of having such great product available locally are compensated by the price they sell for, but further re-shipping will make its price truly not justifiable, in our opinion. It's like the wine or ice cream from Australia or New Zealand: it is good, indeed, but I cannot stop thinking that it had to travel 20,000 km to get to me. And it's wine!

Where do you get your olive oil from?

At the moment from Italy only, but stay tuned for BIG surprises!

Why don't you have bigger bottles?

Because olive oil spoils fast, therefore unless you are not like Carlo (ehm) which, litterally, have a shot of oil almost every morning, plus the enhanced consumption of the Italian gourmand, we do recommend to buy the 500 ml bottle of the most special ones, and the 750 ml for those you will use also for cooking.

What does "A.B.T.M." mean?

It means "Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena", or "Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena", and there is a lot in the name, if you want to know more, just check our dedicated section!

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