Olive Oil Corfu

A very long tradition of pruducing an Extra Virgin Olive Oil at Corfu




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Corfu, Greece

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How to Choose the Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil

How to Choose the Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil vs. Regular Olive Oil: What’s the Difference?

Olive oil is used in many homes around the world because it can be used in many ways and is good for you. But there are so many kinds of olive oil out there that it can be hard to tell them apart. There are two main kinds: extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and regural olive oil. This piece talks about the differences between these two kinds of olive oil, focusing on how they are made, what they taste like, how healthy they are, and how they should be used.

Production Methods

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Extra virgin olive oil is the highest quality olive oil, made from pure, cold-pressed olives. The production process involves minimal processing to preserve the natural flavors, aromas, and nutrients of the olives. Here’s a breakdown of the process:

  1. Harvesting: Olives are harvested at their peak ripeness.
  2. Cleaning: The olives are cleaned to remove dirt and leaves.
  3. Crushing: The olives are crushed into a paste to release their oils.
  4. Pressing: The paste is pressed or centrifuged to separate the oil from the water and solid parts.
  5. Filtering: The oil is filtered to remove any remaining impurities.

Regular Olive Oil

Regular olive oil, also known as pure or refined olive oil, undergoes more extensive processing than EVOO. The production process includes:

  1. Harvesting and Cleaning: Similar to EVOO, olives are harvested and cleaned.
  2. Crushing and Pressing: The olives are crushed and pressed to extract the oil.
  3. Refining: The extracted oil is refined to remove impurities, which can involve heating and chemical treatments. This process strips the oil of some of its natural flavors and nutrients.
  4. Blending: Refined olive oil is often blended with a small amount of EVOO to enhance flavor and color.

Nutritional Content

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

EVOO retains more of the natural nutrients found in olives because it is minimally processed. Key nutritional components include:

  • Monounsaturated fats: EVOO is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Antioxidants: High in antioxidants like polyphenols and vitamin E, which have anti-inflammatory properties and can protect against oxidative damage.
  • Vitamins: Contains vitamins E and K.

Regular Olive Oil

Regular olive oil contains fewer nutrients than EVOO due to the refining process. Although it still provides healthy fats, the levels of antioxidants and vitamins are significantly lower. It’s still a healthier option compared to many other cooking oils but lacks some of the benefits associated with EVOO.

Flavor and Aroma

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

EVOO is known for its robust, rich flavor and fruity aroma. The taste can vary based on the type of olives used and the region they are grown in. Common flavor notes include:

  • Fruity: Green or ripe fruit flavors, such as apple or tomato.
  • Bitter: A pleasant bitterness from the olive skins.
  • Peppery: A slight peppery finish that can cause a tingling sensation in the throat.

Regular Olive Oil

Regular olive oil has a milder, more neutral flavor compared to EVOO. This is due to the refining process, which removes many of the natural flavors and aromas. It has a light, sometimes bland taste, making it less distinctive but versatile for various cooking applications.

Best Uses

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

EVOO is best used in dishes where its rich flavor can be appreciated. Some popular uses include:

  • Drizzling: Over salads, grilled vegetables, or finished dishes for added flavor.
  • Dipping: As a dip for bread, often combined with herbs and spices.
  • Dressings and Marinades: In salad dressings and marinades where its bold flavor can shine.
  • Finishing: On soups, pasta, and other dishes right before serving.

Regular Olive Oil

Regular olive oil is more suited for cooking methods that require higher heat or where a milder flavor is preferred. Common uses include:

  • Sautéing and Frying: Its higher smoke point makes it suitable for sautéing and frying.
  • Baking: As a substitute for butter or other oils in baking recipes.
  • Everyday Cooking: In dishes where the oil’s flavor won’t dominate.

Health Benefits

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Due to its higher content of antioxidants and healthy fats, EVOO is associated with several health benefits:

  • Heart Health: Helps lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL).
  • Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Antioxidants like polyphenols reduce inflammation.
  • Cancer Prevention: Some studies suggest EVOO may help protect against certain cancers due to its antioxidant content.

Regular Olive Oil

While not as nutrient-dense as EVOO, regular olive oil still offers some health benefits:

  • Heart Health: Provides monounsaturated fats that can improve cholesterol levels.
  • Digestive Health: Easier on the digestive system compared to other oils.


Understanding the differences between extra virgin olive oil and regular olive oil can help you make better choices in the kitchen. Extra virgin olive oil, with its robust flavor and high nutritional content, is ideal for dishes where its taste can be appreciated and for cold applications. Regular olive oil, on the other hand, is versatile and suitable for cooking methods involving higher heat. Both types of olive oil offer health benefits, but EVOO stands out for its superior quality and health-promoting properties. By selecting the right type of olive oil for your cooking needs, you can enhance the flavor of your dishes and support a healthy diet.

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