Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is made simply by crushing olives and extracting the juice and therefore made without the use of chemicals and industrial refining.
Extra virgin olive oil must have no taste “defects.” It needs to have a nice flavour of fresh olives and achieve higher scores in lab tests for its chemical composition than other grades.
Since Extra virgin olive oil is simply fruit juice without any additives, its quality and taste are influenced by the varieties of olives, the area in which they were grown, and the countless decisions and production practices of a dedicated producer.

Extra-virgin olive oil comes from virgin oil production only, and is of higher quality: among other things, it contains no more than 0.8% free acidity, and is judged to have a superior taste, having some fruitiness and no defined sensory defects. Extra-virgin olive oil accounts for less than 10% of oil in many producing countries; the percentage is far higher in the Mediterranean countries (Greece: 80%, Italy: 65%, Spain 30%).

Different names for olive oil indicate the degree of processing the oil has undergone as well as the quality of the oil. Extra-virgin olive oil is the highest grade available, followed by virgin olive oil. The word “virgin” indicates that the olives have been pressed to extract the oil; no heat or chemicals have been used during the extraction process, and the oil is pure and unrefined. Virgin olive oils contain the highest levels of polyphenols, antioxidants that have been linked with better health.

Extra virgin olive oil is mostly used as a salad dressing or as an ingredient in salad dressings. It is also used with foods to be eaten cold. If uncompromised by heat, the flavour is stronger.
The higher the temperature to which the olive oil is heated, the higher the risk of compromising its taste. When extra virgin olive oil is heated above 210–216 °C (410–421 °F), depending on its free fatty acid content, the unrefined particles within the oil are burned, this can form tiny carcinogens which leads to deteriorated taste.