My story begins with the tree. Native to Monemvassia, my roots unfold deeply and wildly clutching the ancient Laconian land, where heroes walked. Native to the South, every twist of my bark, every little leaf, carries the blessed climate of the southern lands regions. Almost certainly, I am the offspring of the Sun and Mother Earth.
My story continues with the fruit, so deeply venerated by my people. My fruit sustains families, communities and economies. People cultivate it with affection and over the ages have accumulated experience worthy of a gem.
The story continues with the olive oil, the final product and the essence of it all; before it finally turns into a myth, an elixir of life of almost magical proportions, the juice that comes out of the pressing, is the culmination of all materials earth can produce. It cures life. Once upon a time this story would have been passed on told by the stone pressing mills that were abundantly scattered throughout the countryside, but now it’s a new era, an era of machines.
If one really wished to get to the bottom of this story, it is a story about families and friends coming together for the harvest. The hard but yet gentle raking of the branches that makes your body muscles ache and your necks crane painfully. Above all it is a festivity, a joyful break under the shade of my leaves, to taste my fruit, dip a piece of bread half dipped in my pure juice. My people see me, touch me, help me grow, taste me, live on me, respect me, love me…
The story of the olive tree is our story too, the story behind our products, and we invite you to take part in it.
The factors that affecting the quality of the olive oil:
Olive oil categories
The quality classification of olive oil follows a particular methodology and complies with international standards implemented by the International Olive Council (http://www.internationaloliveoil.org/) which has been set up to protect the quality of olive oil, consumers and producers. A Quality Assurance System has been designed to guarantee the quality of olive oil which is based on distinct and specific procedures. Quality has been defined as “the sum of attributes of a service or product which satisfy expressed or implied needs”.
Oils which have been obtained by the olive fruit only through mechanical methods or other natural processes, under conditions which do not cause oil alteration. These oils have not gone through any other processing besides washing, decantation, centrifugation and filtration. Oils which have been obtained with solvents, with auxiliary substances having a chemical or biochemical action, or by means of re-esterification or blending with oils of other kind, have been excluded.
These oils are classified and categorized in detail under the following designations:
a) Extra virgin oil.
Oil in which the content of free fatty acids does not exceed 0.8 g per 100 g (0.8%).
b) Virgin oil.
Olive oil whose acidity does not exceed 2,0%
c) Lampante oil.
Olive oil whose acidity is more than 2.0%
Olive oil which has been obtained by refining virgin olive oils, with an acidity which does not exceed 0,3%.
The oil obtained by blending refined and virgin olive oil other than lampante olive oils, with an acidity which does not exceed 1,0%.
The oil obtained from the olive kernels, after treatment with solvents or by natural means, or the oil corresponding to (apart from certain specific characteristics) lampante olive oil.
Oil obtained by refining crude olive pomace oil; the acidity of which does not exceed 0.3%.
Olive obtained by blending refined olive pomace and virgin oils, apart from lampante oils, and the acidity of which does not exceed 1.0%.
Maximum acidity for qualitative categories of olive oil is as follows:
• Extra virgin oil: max 0.8% in oleic acid
• Virgin oil: max 2.0% in oleic acid
• Olive oil consisting of refined and virgin olive oils: max 1.0% in oleic acid
• Pomace oil: Max. 1.0% in oleic acid
Organoleptic assessment is a scientific method used to induce, measure, analyze, and interpret sensory reactions to particular food aspects. The organoleptic properties are not associated with the assessors and must be separately identified because they are connected with the object (olive oil) and not with the subject (assessor). In objective assessments, tasters serve as the scientific instrument who measure specific attributes in oil samples.
The method has been developed by the Olive Oil Council and uses a team of 8-12 carefully selected and trained assessors. It is applied only to the classification of virgin oils, according to the perceived intensity of the defect, highest intensity, presence or absence of the fruity character. When performed according to the defined methodology, it provides results equivalent to those of a chemical analysis. The methodology, as a quality criterion, has been acknowledged by many countries, making olive oil a unique food reaching such a level of international agreement. The assessors do not grade the olive oil, they simply acknowledge its properties, negative or positive. When a taster perceives an attribute, they mark the line according to the attribute’s intensity beginning with zero at the left and continuing across the line to the right for higher intensities. Upon completion of the tasting, the marks are measured in centimeters to create the taster’s score, which is then compared with other tasters to create an aggregate panel score.