The olive oil's flavor is definitely what characterizes its quality. The fresh and intense flavor of the olives, the more or less intense spicy and bitter sensations are the first characteristics that are perceived in a quality oil.
Cold pressing guarantees that the temperature during the oil extraction process does not go beyond 27° C
Being a natural product, oil can have different characteristics every year due to the many aspects that take part in the olives' growth on the tree. For example, a rainy year or a dry summer greatly influence the oil's flavor. Our experience allows us to choose the best oils, trying to respect and repeat the organoleptic characteristics of a product every year so that the consumer finds the same flavor.
All oils that come from fresh, healthy olives, or quality olives, can have various levels of spiciness or bitterness. This is caused by the polyphenols (natural antioxidants) that can also be useful in preventing the lipoproteins from oxidizing and also in reacting to free radicals, eliminating them; there are also positive biomedical effects regarding the cardiovascular system.
Moreover, the bite we feel in our throats is typical of fresh, recently harvested olives. The fact that some people refer this bite to acidity is a mistake; in fact acidity cannot be detected from the flavor, but only through chemical analysis. A spicy olive oil has normally low acidity.
The acidity indicates the percentage of oleic acid there is in oil and it is one of the primary indicators of quality. The higher its value, the lower the quality of the oil. Acidity is in no way verifiable from the oil's flavor, it can only be defined through laboratory analysis. It must not be confused with the little bite you taste which indicates low acidity and recent pressing.
Of course. The cloudiness that you sometimes see in bottles of olive oil shows that it had been stored at a low temperature and it froze. This does not affect the quality of the oil; once the oil returns to room temperature the cloudiness disappears and the oil is once again fluid.
The sediment is a natural process in non-filtered oil. The crude oil's opaqueness is due to the humidity and microparticles in the olive pulp which slowly settle to the bottom of the bottle, creating a natural filtering process often hastened by the temperature (too cold or too hot).
The right temperature for frying with olive oil is 180°C. This temperature is higher than what's used for other types of cooking and has an effect on the crunchiness that doesn't allow the oil to be absorbed. Your fried food will turn out crunchy and dry with this method. Also, olive oil can be used longer. Other fats like regular oilseed or butter or margarine break down at this temperature and quickly let out harmful substances.
Nothing. When talking about olive oil, there is no expiration date but a minimum shelf life; by saying "best by", it suggests that by using the oil by that date, it will have maintained its organoleptic characteristics, its freshness and its aromas.
There are certainly differences between Italian olive oils and foreign olive oils but these differences mainly concern the taste characteristics rather than the nutrients. In all countries there are good oils and poor oils. The quality of the final product depends more on good agronomic practices, transformation and bottling processes than on the origin itself.