One part of this program among many that has been pretty cool and very informative has been the monothematic classes on Olive Oil with Renzo Ceccaci. We have tasted about 12 oils a session and have focused on finding flaws and positive qualities in the oil. We got into the science of olive oil, the growth, production, and storage. It is interesting to note that olive oil and breast milk have the same ratio of essential fatty acids, and that consumption of 30 grams of Olive Oil a day can help reduce the risks of many types of cancer. Our final for the class was to blindly smell and identify 4 of the majors flaws found in Olive Oils. During our tasting of 36 or more Olive oils during the class it is interesting to note that we found serious flaws in several of them. These were not “plants” by the teacher, but actually poor quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil bought at the store, and one that was entered into a contest at a food tradeshow. Buyer Beware!!! The four major flaws found in Olive Oil are:
1. Riscaldo – Heated – at some point during either transport – production the olives have been heated. The smell is of strong olives, but also a kind of rancid smell.
2. Avvinato –winey or vinegar aroma and taste – caused by bacteria
3. Muffa – mold – smells moldy and of paint-olives stored in wet or damp areas
4. Morchia – Marc-to long of contact with its marc or sediment. Smells really bad like smelly feet.
5. Rancido –Rancid – exposed to light, air, heat -smells of cardboard-rancid smell
The “inevitable evil” is the entire period of processing when the olives and its oil can become tainted.
Only use Extra Virgin Olive Oil, not Olive Oil, or Pomace Olive Oil. Products marketed as “Olive Oil” are almost tasteless and odorless and have a much lower content of all the substances (like polyphenols) that make extra virgin olive oil so tasty and nutritious. In olive oil production oil that has above 2% acidity and some of the above flaws will be classified as lamp oil and is unfit for human consumption. This oil can be sent to a refinery, deodorized, de-colored, de-acidified by chemical and physical processes and transformed into Refined Olive Oil. Then it can have an unspecified amount of Extra Virgin Olive Oil added and be retailed as Olive Oil. Only buy Extra Virgin Olive Oil!!!