We dismantle widespread and erroneous beliefs about the world's healthiest vegetable fat with the invaluable help of the prestigious EVOOLEUM World's TOP100 Extra Virgin Olive Oils Guide.
1 - Extra virgin olive oil is recommended for use raw or in salads, but not for cooking or frying.
FALSE. Extra virgin olive oil marries perfectly with a large number of foods: white and blue fish, red meat, poultry, vegetables, pasta, cheese, desserts and even cocktails! And the best frying oil is virgin - and extra virgin - olive oil rich in antioxidant compounds such as polyphenols. Adding new virgin olive oil frequently to the one used for frying is a recommended procedure that achieves a lower thermo-oxidative alteration, which makes it possible for it to be used a greater number of times for frying.
2 - Extra virgin olive oil is only produced in the Mediterranean.
FALSE. Especially in the countries of the Mediterranean Basin -they are the biggest producers and consumers-, but not only there. AOVE is already produced in 63 countries around the world, some as exotic as Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia -which has the largest modern olive grove on the planet-, Namibia, Botswana or New Zealand. A curiosity: the northernmost oil mill on the planet is located on an island in the Gulf of Canada.
3 - A mild AOVE, such as that of the arbequina variety, is preferable; the picual is too intense and spicy.
FALSE. It is a matter of taste, but it is evident that there is (much) life beyond arbequina. The once denigrated Picual variety -one of the 262 that exist in our country- is the most produced and consumed in the world, and the most widespread in Spain, with the province of Jaén being the largest producer. The resulting AOVE is a very stable juice with a characteristic fruity, aromatic, slightly bitter and slightly spicy flavour - the spiciness is a tactile sensation that comes from the oleocanthal, an ester with anti-inflammatory properties. Well, more than half (51) of the 100 AOVEs in the EVOOLEUM 2019 Guide are made from this variety, whether monovarietal or coupages. In the TOP10, the picual is present in four AOVEs; the arbequina, in only one. Both bitter and spicy are positive attributes that denote the quality of an authentic extra virgin. So if the oil scratches or grabs your throat and even makes you cough, it's a good sign.
4 - Olive oil does not stop being a fat, therefore it cannot be the best friend of the heart.
FALSE. The extra virgin olive oil is one of the fundamental pillars on which the Mediterranean Diet is sustained, constituting the main contribution of fat. The beneficial effects associated with olive oil consumption have been widely described and recognised by many studies, including the Predimed project, which recommends the regular consumption of extra virgin olive oil. The healthy declaration referring to olive oil phenols indicates that these compounds protect the blood lipids against oxidative stress, a key mechanism in the development of various pathologies among which cardiovascular diseases stand out.
5 - The packaging of the AOVE is not taken care of too much, contrary to what happens with the one of the wine.
FALSE. Without a doubt, the content is the most important thing when we talk about AOVE, but an attractive, fresh and original image and packaging that matches the product is also very important to conquer the consumer. In this sense, the EVOOLEUM Packaging Awards -which reward the best packages in the categories Best Design AOVE Premium, Best Innovative Design and Best Design Retail Range, a novelty in a competition of these characteristics- show the great creative revolution produced in this segment in recent years.