Your Guide To Italian Olive Oil

Olive oil in vintage bottles

Your Guide To Italian Olive Oil

Ever-loved olive oil has been an inseparable part of Mediterranean cuisine since the 7th century. The versatile golden liquid is a pressed juice of the fruit (and, yes, olives are fruits) from the plant Olea Europaea, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Olive oil’s characteristics depend on various metrics, such as the cultivation, climatic nuances, time of harvest, extraction process, and even the altitude of the crop. So, there’s a science behind oil-making, and, according to the statistics, Italy effortlessly excels!

Olive groves in ItalyIf you’re one of the connoisseurs, it’s guaranteed that speaking of olive oil makes you think of scenic, pleasantly scooped rows of olive groves in Italy. The country produces over 2 million tons of premium olive oil annually, securing its place on the list of top 5 producer countries. Unsurprisingly, Italy is loved for the highest grade - extra virgin olive oil, obtained by mechanically pressed fruits free from chemical additives. Italian extra virgin olive is charged with greater nutritional value (compared to virgin olive oil, regular olive oil, and olive pomace), and is a chef-approved staple worthy of your pantry, too. The olives are not processed beyond washing, decanting, centrifugation, and filtrating not to alter the natural aroma and flavor of the cultivar used. Making “liquid gold” is a time-consuming, strictly monitored process that calls for premium quality raw ingredients.

Describing Italian olive oil, or EVOO is nearly impossible when considering all the variables. With signature cultivars differing from region to region, the country is home to roughly 500 olive varieties, and these are just ones that have been recorded. Famous for the unmatched biodiversity in olives, Italian olive oil offers flavors for all palates. To get you acquainted with Italian olive oil and its greatness, let us take you through all the varieties, designation certifications, flavor profiles, and Italian olive oil brands you should know to stock up like a true connoisseur!

Types of Italian Olive Cultivars To Know

Unlike Spanish, Italian olive oils are loved for their herbal, almost grassy aroma with signature bitterness, packed with higher cycloartenol levels. Taking all the five variables (according to Italian folklore, sun, stone, drought, silence, and solitude all affect the final flavor mood of unique Italian cultivars differently), it’s impossible to sum the flavors and unique characteristics of hundreds of recorded cultivars. However, we’ve devised a list of some of the most sought-after & popular cultivars to look for when scrolling through our online selection of Italian olive oils!

Taggiasca - mainly grown in beautiful Liguria, these fruity small Italian olives are loved as the most versatile fruits, perfect for both: cooking and indulging on their own. They make up 98% of the oil produced in Liguria. The late-ripening Taggiasca olives have a yellow color with deep, burgundy hues and a low flesh-to-pit ratio. The sweet, fruity presence makes Taggiasca olive oil a favorite of all - beginners & connoisseurs equally enjoy it! To savor Italy’s favorite, try extra virgin olive oil by Olio Calvi!

olive fruits with green and red huesFrantoio - signature to sunny Tuscany, Frantoio is one of the principal raw materials for EVOO. It has a mildly fruity aroma and bold aftertaste. Frantoio fruits are loved for their looks, too; they usually have vibrant green colors with beautiful light red hues. The famous Italian cultivar yields aromatic yet light olive oil with ever-so-slight spiciness. It’s mainly used for dressing salads, bruschetta platters, and, of course, grilled meats. To savor its deliciousness, we made sure to include monocultivar Frantoio Italian olive oil by Monini in our online selection of Italian olive oils.

Nocellara - hailing from south-western Sicily, the area of Valle del Belice, Nocellara is deemed versatile, dual-purpose olive, enjoyed on its own or as oil. Also known as Castelvetrano, Nocellara olives are packed with Mediterranean goodness of various vitamins and minerals, such as A, D, K & more. They have a mild, buttery flavor and intense green color. The dense pulp, however, delivers a slightly fruity aroma. Italian extra virgin olive oil of Nocellara cultivar also has a vibrant green color with a fresh fruity aroma and light spicy sensations.

Biancolilla - thought to be an ancient cultivar, the Biancolilla variety hails from Agrigento but is widely cultivated throughout Sicily. The indigenous cultivar goes by various names and is exclusively used for oil-making. The monocultivar Biancolilla olive oil usually has a green color with enchanting golden hues and carries light fruity flavors with notes of nutty artichokes and fresh grass. To give it a taste, in our online selection of Italian olive oil, you will find monocultivar Biancolilla EVOO by Frankies 457 Spuntino, cold-pressed and packed in Sicily.

Coratina - with small fruit and a small pit, Coratina olive is packed with all the goodness of the Apulian region. However, cultivation has already spread to Basilicata and Calabria. Due to its higher polyphenols content, Coratina olive has an intense aroma, not suited for untrained palates. It carries a concoction of grassy, nutty flavors with notes of green tomatoes and white peppers, and you can taste it with Monini’s organic Coratina extra virgin olive oil!

Italian Olive Oil Certifications

To ensure the origins of the Italian olive oil you’re committing to; the European Union has established various designation certifications, such as PDO & PGI. The products with DOP/PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) certification are guaranteed to be grown, produced, and bottled in the designated area. However, DOP-certified products also have to meet the required production methods and overall quality standards, too. In our online assortment of Italian olive oils, you will find premium EVOO from Dauno Gargano, Umbria, Liguria & more.

As for IGP/PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) denomination, the certification is awarded to the products with at least one production process carried out in the specified geographical area. You can find IGP-certified Italian olive oils from Tuscany, Sicily & more in our online assortment!

olive oil in vintage bottlesHow About Infused Olive Oil From Italy?

If you’re a frequent user of olive oil, you might be familiar with an EVOO rut. However, we think it's effortless to liven up your marinades, grilled meats, risotto, or any of your favorite dishes with infused olive oil from Italy. At Yummy Bazaar, we’ve curated an extensive selection of Italian EVOO, including a variety of infused olive oils to freshen up your pantry with unique flavors. With us, you will be able to buy all-favorite garlic-infused olive oil from premium Italian brands, including Monini, Villa Manodori, Zucchi & more. For livelier zing for your dishes, give Italian lemon-infused olive oil a try. While lemon and garlic-infused olive oils remain two of the sought-after condiments, we also have included unique renditions of rosemary, black pepper & Ligurian herbs infused olive oil for your convenience! Our online assortment is bound to check all requirements on your list for the best infused olive oils.

Italian Olive Oil Brands For Connoisseurs

Italy is responsible for nearly 20% of the world's extra virgin olive oil production. With 2.5 million acres of land of olive tree groves, the country boasts thousands of producers. To help you guide through various names, we’ve decided to devise a shortlist of some of the top Italian olive oil brands at every price range, varying with regional cultivars and designation certifications!

Olio Calvi - the beloved Italian olive oil company was founded a century ago by Giuseppe Calvi. The brand is famous for its cold-pressed, 100% Italian olives with low acidity, including Taggiasca olive oils. Armored with certified laboratories & HACCP self-control monitoring center, Olio Calvi’s olive oils have become a favorite of many, including professional chefs. In our online assortment of Italian olive oils, we’ve included some of the most aromatic infused olive oils by Olio Calvi, along with the classic pantry-staple EVOO at prices to love.Olio Calvi extra virgin olive oilSource: Olio Calvi

Zucchi - started as a small family business in 1810 near Lodi, Zucchi has become one of the trusted Italian olive oil brands, beloved for its unmatched dedication to maintaining premium quality. The Italian brand is known for Italy's largest temperature-controlled storage facility, perfect for preserving all the unique characteristics of classic Sicilian, Tuscan, pesto, garlic, chili, and more flavored olive oils! Luckily for you, you can find them in our online selection of the best Italian olives oils.

Frantoio Galantino - is a family-owned brand famous for award-winning extra virgin olive oil produced in beautiful Puglia! Founded by Vito Galantino, the brand operates in a 19th-century mill, adding to the traditional characteristics of its products. Only using carefully selected, hand-harvested ripe fruits, Frantoio Galantino’s olive oils carry almost a century of expertise and flawless flavor. You can find Italian olive oil from Frantoio Galantino in handmade painted ceramic jugs infused with bergamot, basil & more in our online assortment at the most convenient prices.

Colavita - a worldwide renowned Italian extra virgin olive oil brand, was founded in the Molise region of Italy in 1938 by Giovanni and Felice Colavita. The company is a member of the NAOOA (The North American Olive Oil Association), and a bearer of the quality seal, so authentic Italian olive oil is guaranteed to prettify your pantry. In our online assortment of Italian olive oils, we sell everyday favorites and unique renditions of Colavita’s olive oils infused with everything from white truffle and chili pepper!

Colavita extra virgin olive oil bottleSource: Colavita

Now you can scroll through our online selection of Italian olive oils proudly, not shying away at the sight of DOP, IGP certifications - you know exactly what they mean. We tried our best to give you a quick rundown on a few prized Italian varieties, too, and what you should expect from them. However, whichever you decide to try, you’re guaranteed to broaden your horizons - what can be more fun than that?!

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