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 Italian landscape or waves the Italian flag; these signals don’t necessarily mean that the olive oil is exclusively from Italy.
Do some research, go into your kitchen and inspect your olive oil that your purchase at any supermarket, et voila! Your olive oil is “packaged” in Italy, but the olives are from Spain, Greece, and Tunisia.
Yet most major brands continue to put “imported from Italy” on the front label in large letters and other origins on the back in very small print. “In fact, olive oil labeled ‘Italian’ often comes from Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, Spain, and Greece.” This makes it unclear what percentage of the olive oil is really of Italian origin.
Extra virgin is the highest quality and most expensive olive oil classification. It should have no defects and a flavor of fresh olives.
It must be produced entirely selected olives and by mechanical means without the use of any solvents, and under temperatures that will not degrade the oil.
It’s not easy to produce extra virgin olive oil. A producer must use fresh olives in good condition and monitor every step of the process with great care.
Extra virgin olive oil doesn’t stay that way: Even in perfect storage conditions, the oil will degrade over time, so it’s important to enjoy it within its two-year shelf life.