Friday, April 18, 2014

Differentiation of Extra Virgin Olive Oils Essential

The push for longer shelf-life and higher polyphenol levels by quality certifying organisations with their associated standards could be threatening more delicate tasting extra virgin olive oils.

It is notable that in the extra virgin olive oils tasted at recent Savantes programmes there have been fewer oils exhibiting the riper fruit flavours of later harvested olives.

These olive oils are ‘sweeter’ and exhibit more tropical fruit flavours than their robust counterparts which tend to green vegetal peppery flavours. They have a particular culinary use in fish cuisine, pastries, baking and desserts.

While the more robust oils with longer shelf-life – two years and over – may suit the marketers better, producers must be careful that they are not producing a taste in olive oil which many consumers and cuisines don’t like. There is a danger of following the path the engineers of the modified tomatoes took to give the fruit longer shelf-life, sending consumers looking for a tomato which tasted like a tomato.

It is important that the offering of flavours of extra virgin olive oil to the consumers remains diverse and pleases a range of palates.