• Sensory analysis of the Olive Oil

    When we taste an extra virgin olive oil, its characteristics are immediately perceived by both smell and taste. But where do the aromas come from?

    Aroma and Taste

    The aroma and taste of an extra virgin olive oil are determined by the composition and the presence of certain volatile compounds that can give positive but also negative characteristics. Among the “positive” compounds we find aldehydes and 6C alcohols (with 6 Carbon atoms) while among the “negative” ones we find some monounsaturated aldehydes. The presence of these compounds is influenced by the type of cultivar, the degree of maturation of the drupe, the type of processing and the way the oil is stored.

    Bitter and Spicy

    The compounds responsible for bitter and spicy extra virgin olive oil are polyphenols, in particular the presence in large quantities of Oleuropein and Hydroxythyrisol is decisive.

    “The polyphenols in olive oil contribute to the protection of blood lipids from oxidative stress. This indication can only be used for olive oil which contains at least 5 mg of hydroxytyrosol and its derivatives for 20 g of olive oil. In order to support this information, the consumer is told that the beneficial effect is obtained with the daily intake of 20 g of olive oil “. Reg. (EU) 432/2012

  • Oleic Acid

    Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid consisting of 18 carbon atoms. It belongs to the Omega-9 family, since the first and only double bond present in the molecule is located between the ninth and tenth carbon atom of the chain.

    Oleic acid in olive oils

    Oleic acid is typical of olive trees, where we find it in percentages ranging between 60 and 80%, especially in the esterified form of triglycerides, although, usually, in high quality extra virgin olive oils this percentage is never less than 70%. An oil rich in oleic acid is much more stable at high temperatures so it allows the oil to be resistant to light, air and heat and to limit the formation of lipid peroxidation products, which have proven to be particularly harmful to human health.

    The acidity of the oil

    Oleic acid is present inside olive oil, also in free form, or separated from glycerol. This occurs when the conditions of the olives, the processing or storage of the oils have not been optimal. By acidity of the oil is meant the percentage of oleic acid which has separated from the glycerol and which is in free form in the oil. By law, in order to define an EXTRA VIRGIN oil, this value must be less than 0.8%

    It is important to say that from an organoleptic point of view it is not possible to detect the acidity values by tasting an oil, as the bitter and spicy attributes do not affect the quantity of oleic acid in free form. It is therefore necessary to resort to chemical analysis for the determination.

  • The Organic Defense

    When it comes to organic, the first thought is that of a crop system where there is no use of plant protection products. In fact, the products that do not come and cannot be used are those of chemical synthesis while there are a number of other products that help manufacturers defend themselves. These are natural products or products of natural origin which in many cases prove to be much more effective than chemical analogues.

    Weapons for the olive tree

    The defense of plants in the world of organic olive cultivation is fundamental to obtain good production but also to allow good vegetative growth for the plant. There are several natural products to combat certain fungal diseases of the olive tree, such as Cycloconium (or Peacock Eye), for example, Propolis or Soft Potassium Soap (Marseille soap) used as an invigorating. The main adversity however, remains without a doubt the Olive Fly. This insect Diptera is the cause of serious damage to production, making the olives unsuitable for processing.

    But how do you defend olive trees from this insect?

    The first decisive step is to implement a complete and well structured monitoring. In fact, it is essential to intervene at the right time and in the right way. The defense strategies are in fact mostly preventive as they are based on the use of products that protect the plant or reduce the insect population. One product that is giving good results is kaolin, a white clay which, sprayed on the crown, creates an impenetrable protective barrier from the egg-laying of the female fly. Another important and useful product is Spintor FLY (TM). It is a bait based on Spinosad, a product of bacterial origne, which if sprayed on the foliage of the olive trees in a specific area, attracts the adults of the fly and kills them. It is also useful to use traps based on hydrolyzed proteins or nitrogen compounds which by mass capture reduce the population of this insect.

  • Filter the oil: yes or not?

    “Unfiltered oil is tastier”

    This belief arises from the incorrect association of the concept of quality with the processing techniques, considering the passage of oil from the filter as a denaturation phase of the product. In reality, the pasty and dense sensation that is felt when tasting an unfiltered extra virgin olive oil is not an intrinsic characteristic of the oil, however, the result of the processing just performed. Turbidity in fact derives from the interaction between oil, water and olive paste. During extraction in the decanter, in fact, not all the pasta and not all the water are eliminated but a part of them remain in emulsion with the oil. Over time, due to the different density compared to olive oil, these compounds will tend to settle on the bottom. It is clearly not a matter of substances harmful to health but their presence can cause any problems related to the conservation of extra virgin olive oil and its organoleptic characteristics. In fact, the taste of the vegetation waters or the rancid taste of the pomace is easily recognizable on the palate. Furthermore, due to the lack of oxygen, the substances deposited on the bottom will begin to ferment and produce compounds that will denature the oil. The filtration with special cartridges or with different grade filtering cartons, allows to eliminate these suspended substances without altering the taste, aroma and organoleptic characteristics of the extra virgin olive oil.

  • Cold Pressing

    The pressing of the olives takes place in several stages, some of which are decisive for obtaining a quality extra virgin olive oil. Among these, the extraction phase that takes place inside the kneading machines.

    Oil extraction

    The oil present in the olive is extracted in several stages: a first small quantity is released during the mechanical break (crushing) by the crusher. Another part, the more consistent, is found in a sort of emulsion with the water of the pulp. It is not separated from it as in a glass of water but bound (another example of emulsion is soapy water). Depending on the cultivars, the ripeness and the temperature, this link is very different. There are varieties in which this link is weak while in others it is very strong. In addition, the droplets of emulsion oil are so small that it would not be possible to separate them with mechanical methods that provide for centrifugation. For this reason, the passage in the kneading machine is fundamental.


    Inside the kneader the pasta is continuously stirred in a mild way (40 rpm). Furthermore, hot water is passed through the cavity between the external and internal wall, at a temperature that can be controlled by the operator. The temperature is fundamental to allow the breakdown of the emulsion and the separation of the oil from the water. The water temperature must be such as to allow processing and at the same time not to damage the oil inside the pasta. With a low degree of emulsification the kneading takes place in a short time and can be carried out at temperatures below 20 ° C while for more stable emulsions it is necessary to reach pasta temperatures above 22 ° C. This is because, inside the pasta, natural enzymatic reactions are triggered which interact on the bond of the emulsion, breaking it. Furthermore, the oil droplets join together reaching a sufficient mass to allow the separation by centrifugation which will take place with the decanter.

    Cold Pressing

    All the steps seen so far are common to all methods of processing olives for the production of oil. The temperature plays, in all the production phases, a determining role in the quality of an extra virgin olive oil as a key factor, together with the exposure to light, of the denaturation of the nutritive and organoleptic components of the oil. Here, how it becomes fundamental to remain below a certain temperature threshold value so as not to affect the product, in each of the processing phases. In cold pressing, this threshold is set at 27 ° C. If in each production phase, the temperature has remained below this value, the processing is considered optimal and the oil can be defined as “cold extracted”.

  • Terre di Pisa

    Quality products have always been inextricably linked to the territory, enhancing and promoting it. That’s why we adhered to the disciplinary Terre di Pisa !!

    “Terre di Pisa” is a new tourist product, a brand that identifies the agri-food, artistic, historical, natural peculiarities and the excellent tourist offer of the Pisan hinterland.
    The initiative was born from the Pisa Chamber of Commerce which has collected the need of operators in the agri-food, wine and hospitality sector to define a marketing project for the destination of Pisa and its hinterland.

  • Pontremoli Prize 2017

    “Francesco Elter’s farm has obtained the Pontremoli Award” Agricultural Excellence “2017 for successfully combining tradition, research and innovation obtaining quality in production and in the territory.

    An important recognition for the work he is doing with will, tenacity and passion “