Acidity is the parameter that is better than any other able to summarize an overall assessment of the chemical quality of extra virgin olive oil. Not surprisingly, the European Community has identified acidity as one of the fundamental values to differentiate extra virgin olive oil from lower-quality oils, decreeing that the EVO oil cannot have an acidity higher than 0.80 grams per 100 grams.
We try to better understand what this important value represents. An integral oil molecule will have very few free fatty acids. The acidity of an oil precisely measures the number of fatty acids that have separated from glycerol. The less the fatty acids will be separated from the glycerol, the more completely the oil molecule will be and consequently the lower its acidity. An extra virgin olive oil produced from healthy olives and harvested at the right level of ripeness, using correct harvesting, processing and storage techniques and times, will generally have very low acidity. During the various phases of the production process, however, particular conditions can occur that alter the chemical composition of the oil and affect its olfactory-gustatory characteristics, thus deteriorating its quality.
Fermentative and oxidative phenomena are the main causes of the increase in acidity as well as the onset of organoleptic defects. In other words, pressing olives that are not healthy and not fresh, or grinding olives incorrectly cause the separation of fatty acids from glycerol, an increase in the acidity of the oil and the onset of organoleptic defects or unpleasant tastes and odors
The acidity of an oil is the expression of something that the human organism is not able to evaluate with its senses.
It is therefore very important to underline that nobody, not even an expert taster, can determine the acidity of oil by tasting it, but to know it you will have to resort to chemical analysis.
It must, however, be added that it is equally true that by tasting oil that has organoleptic defects it can be assumed that it has a higher acidity since organoleptic defects are generally a symptom of fermentative and oxidative phenomena that also affect the chemical health of the oil. Choosing a different name to attribute to this important chemical parameter (perhaps "integrity" of an oil, instead of acidity), probably would have helped and avoided the misunderstanding in which many incur.
The term acidity leads us to think of one of the four fundamental flavors (together with sweet, salty and bitter) that the human organism is able to perceive through the sense of taste, and it is not surprising therefore if many consumers mistakenly associate acidity with the spicy sensation present in different intensities in almost all extra virgin olive oils.
Nothing could be more wrong given that spicy is instead the sensory manifestation of the presence of a very important class of aromatic substances called polyphenols, which besides being very powerful natural antioxidants are responsible for this sensation.
The extra virgin olive oil that we have carefully selected for our customers is an expression of the highest possible qualitative target. This exceptional oil, produced in the secular farm of the Duke, can boast of being produced in a closed and extremely controlled chain.
The olives used to come exclusively from the olive grove of the company which covers about 200 hectares with over 40,000 ancient olive trees, of native quality and sculptural appearance. Immediately after being harvested at a perfect ripening stage, the olives are transported to the company mill where the milling is done cold, at a temperature of about 27 ° C. This type of processing involves a lower yield but fully preserves the organoleptic and nutritional properties of the extra virgin olive oil.
This remarkable attention to detail gives life to an oil with a golden green color, a fruity aroma, and a sweet and intense taste, but above all with a very low acidity level which, at the mill, does not exceed 12g per 100g. These unique qualities are protected from light by the rigorous use of dark bottles and nitrogen before capping, thus avoiding alterations due to oxidation.
To learn more about the oil we have selected and to find out how to get it at home, visit our section dedicated to Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil.