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Is my olive oil really extra virgin?

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The five senses are one of the tools that are naturally at disposal to the humans. Using our tactile sense, we’re able to recognize the quality of a material. Or by tasting food, we can make sure that it’s not rotten.

The five senses may enable you to define the quality of olive oil. Especially the oil’s flavour and smell can be good evaluation criteria. The easiest way to distinguish good from bad olive oil is by conducting a so-called organoleptic test. This test is a sensory evaluation of olive oil and makes use of the taste and smell senses in order to determine its quality.

But what makes extra virgin olive oil the best variety of olive oil? If we want to summarize the taste of a high-quality olive oil in a few words, the terms bitterness, adstringency and sharpness describe this product in the best way.

Due to its phenol content that also offers anti-inflammatory properties, extra virgin olive oil has a very bitter and spicy taste that lingers for a long time after consumption. One possibility to define the quality of olive oil lies in the intensity and duration of this flavour felt by the costumer. The adstringency of olive oil which is a tactile sensation manifests itself normally in the form of contraction, dryness and coarseness of the mouth area. The sharpness of olive oil provokes a burning sensation in the mouth. Of course, you will enjoy this spicy and bitter flavour after several utilizations and that’s why you’ll wish to use more olive oil for cooking, salads and pasta.

How should we try this on our own and test the quality of our oil?

Take a tablespoon (5 ml) olive oil in your mouth without swallowing. Try to press your tongue down and form the shape of a spoon with your tongue so that the oil can aggregate there. In spite of the oil in your mouth, try to inhale three times through it to get the oil in touch with oxygen. Now, you may swallow the oil. While swallowing, you should feel a bitter taste on your tongue and after roughly 5 seconds, it should start burning in your throat. Check on a stopwatch: If this burning sensation stays for at least 10 seconds and more (up to 50 seconds), this indicates an even higher and pure quality of your oil. The following applies: The longer this feeling stays in your throat, the purer and higher the quality of your olive oil. Sometimes, it may even make you cough which is also an explicit sign for outstanding quality.

We performed this test with our extra virgin olive oil (in January 2021). The oil produced at the end of 2019 burned for 30 seconds and the one produced at the end of 2020 burned for 45 seconds and made us additionally cough.

We guarantee you an excellent quality of organic certified Swisspica olives and olive oil.

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