09 June 2008, 13:10 PM
  • Stevi Moshogianni, co-director of Meditermania Ltd, explains how to choose top quality olive oil

“First, you have to begin with an extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic. This is the oil you get from the first cold pressing of the olives with no chemicals or hot water added during processing. Its acidity shouldn’t be more than 0.8%.

To appreciate excellent olive oil you start by looking at colour and consistency. It shouldn’t be too light coloured - that indicates that it has been refined and does not come from the first pressing. You have to look for something that ranges from golden yellow to green.

Smell the oil for different aromas. A Greek variety, for example, can taste of herbs, fruits and sometimes has peppery notes. If you cannot smell any of these things, the oil is considered flat.

Generally speaking, olives that are harvested earlier produce higher quality oil with a fuller taste. Ripe olives produce a more delicate flavour without many undertones.

However, taste can be a subjective variant. As a retailer and wholesaler, we choose our olive oil based on more technical information including: olive variety; health of the trees and fruit; climate and type of soil; method and time of harvesting; method of post-harvest storage; oil extraction system; period of oil storage prior to packing; and temperature –  to produce great quality, olive oil should never be made at temperatures in excess of 27° Celsius.”