Eco News Network got to taste this medal-winning organic olive oil at the recent Newport Mansions Food & Wine Festival and to learn a bit about what makes organic extra virgin olive oil, well organic.
Photo Credit: Dell'Orto
Dennis and Peg Lurgio, representatives of Oleificio Dell’Orto, a Private Family Estate in Italy established in 1870, led us through the tasting of the Estate’s line of olive oils culminating with the organic offering. While doing so he lovingly explained how he connected with the Estate while on a search for family history that uncovered ties to an ancient village called Oliveto Citra in the Campania Region of Italy. The village is where Dennis discovered his roots and this wonderful olive oil, which he affectionately refers to as “An Olive Oil with Roots.”
Being allowed to say that any product is organic requires certification and the certification for organic extra virgin olive oil is obtained according to the strict rules of organic farming including the production, processing and packaging of the olive oil. In order to meet these requirements, the famers must be certified organic farmers.
The olive trees must be grown without the use of insecticides, pesticides or chemical fertilizer, enforced by both the Mediterranean Institute of Certification (IMC) and U.S controlling bodies. The IMC certification is accepted by the USDA as meeting the requirements for organic products exported to the USA. Imported Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, like other organic products, must bear the USDA seal for organic certification.
The Dell’Orto Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a light golden yellow/green color and a mild acidity. The oil had a pleasant smell of fresh cut grass and a light taste with a peppery finish that sneaks up on you a bit. According to Dennis, it is an excellent choice for cooking, as well as a dressing vegetables, salads and pasta. Picture fresh greens and vine-ripe tomatoes slightly dressed with just this wonderful oil and you get the idea.
Photo Credit: Dell'Orto
One thing to consider when you purchase any olive oil is that it is a perishable product and its shelf life is limited. Perishability is hastened if the oil is not in a dark bottle (think of the grocery store shelves). It is not something to “stock up” on and beware of the great “deals” you may see on oils at various discounters as you may be buying oil already past its prime.
Olive oils vary greatly as we learned tasting the oils from just Oleificio Dell’Orto. Each had a distinct aroma and flavor and potentially ideal use. As with everything, some of this is personal preference. It’s also important to note the pressing of the oil as it also impacts the taste. In most cases, if you stick to extra virgin oil you will have the best that the estate has to offer.