What Is the Difference Between Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Olive Oil?

Posted by Jonathan Stitzinger on

Olive oil falls into two distinct categories: refined and unrefined. While unrefined oils are pure and untreated, refined oil is treated to remove flaws from the oil, making it more sellable.  Refined oils have little or no olive aroma, flavor, or color (what they have gets there via blending in few percent of an extra-virgin oil). They also have no bitterness.

Extra-virgin olive oil is unrefined oil and the highest-quality olive oil you can buy.  There are very specific standards oil has to meet to receive the label "extra-virgin." Because of the way extra-virgin olive oil is made, it retains more true olive taste, and has a lower level of oleic acid than other olive oil varieties.  It also contains more of the natural vitamins and minerals found in olives.

Extra-virgin olive oil is considered an unrefined oil since it's not treated with chemicals or altered by temperature.  What sets it apart is the low level of oleic acid and the absence of sensory flaws.  It contains no more than 1% oleic acid and typically has a golden-green color, with a distinct flavor and a light peppery finish.

Ok, so I can buy high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil made in Italy at my local supermarket, right?

Italian olive oil, especially "extra virgin," is a common, and essential household item in nearly any kitchen.  But don't be fooled by the olive oil bottle that sports a scenic Tuscan landscape or waves the Italian flag; these signals don't necessarily mean that the olive oil is exclusively from Italy.

At Maggio Olive Oil Company, we purchase the oil directly from olive growers, bottle it ourselves, and bring it to you. The olive oil industry is wrought with fraud and poor quality oil, and so we choose our growers for their organic practices and integrity of their business to ensure we are bringing you the best there is to offer.  We are certified professionals in the IOOS (International Olive Oil Masters) and take our products’ quality very seriously.

We would love to meet you in person if you are in the Arundel Mills Mall (Maryland) area.  Come visit our store at 7000 Arundel Mills Circle, Hanover, MD 21076, or call us at 202.618.0734 with any questions.  If you just can’t make it to the store, you can order online from our website.  With many extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars to choose from, you’re sure to find a product to your liking!