Extra Virgin Olive Oil FAQ

Traditional Balsamic Vinegars FAQ

What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
The "extra" in the Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) relates to the first cold pressing of the ripe green olives. EVOO is the highest premium grade for olive oil

What is Balsamic Vinegar?
There are three types of balsamic vinegars:
Commercial Balsamic is most commonly bought at stores and served at restaurants. It contains apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegars sweetened with sugar and colored with carmel coloring.
Balsamic of Modena, Italy is made from grapes and then aged for at least six years in steel containers.
Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, Italy is the most desired among the three, having the strictest regulations.

What do "first pressing" and "cold pressing" mean?
These terms are interchangeable. They are terms used in the past when initial pressure was applied by hard presses producing only a small amount of olive oil from the olive paste. To extract even more oil, hot water was applied to the olive paste to improve the flow of the oil. Producers today use these terms to affirm that EVOO is an unrefined, natural product that has undergone very little processing, making it a top of the line oil.


The base of true Balsamic Vinegars can only be produced from the white, sugary Trebbiano grapes. The grapes must be grown in the northern region of Modena, Italy. The grapes ripen on the vine for as long as possible to develop their sugar. The juice or "must" is pressed out of the grapes and boiled down. Then, the vinegar production and aging process begins first in oak kegs.

Are the Extra Virgin Olive Oils sold by The Olive Leaf first cold press?
Yes! All of The Olive Leaf oils are first cold pressed. Cold pressed is a chemical free process using only pressure, producing a higher quality olive oil that is lower in acidity. Also, our oils are all filtered, which leads to clearer oil with no residue at the bottom of the bottle.

Over the years it graduates to smaller and smaller kegs made of chestnut, cherry wood, ash, mulberry and juniper. These woods add character and flavor to the vinegars. The Vinegar must be aged for at least 12 years in order to be called a Traditional Balsamic Vinegar. Every year the moisture is removed from the vinegar, thus the older vinegars are thicker, richer and often syrupy.


What does the "extra" mean in Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
The "extra" in Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is the highest premium grade for olive oils. It is the best that you can buy. EVOO means it has less than 8% oleic acid.

What are the health benefits of Balsamic Vinegar?
Balsamic Vinegars have an anti-bacterial and anti-viral property which makes it effective for treating infection. Folk healers used Balsamic to cure body pain and as an energizer. Balsamic Vinegar also contains power antioxidant called polyphenols which fight cell damage and boost energy. Balsamic Vinegars aid in digestion and sugar balance for the body.

How should Olive Oil be stored?
Olive Oil should be shored in a cool (70-75 degrees), dark place. Light and heat are two primary enemies of Olive Oil. Bottling in dark containers is also important to shield Olive Oil from harmful UV Rays and light. It should not be stored in the refrigerator.


It has also been used to help control heart burn, acid reflux and diabetes. Balsamic Vinegar can reduce cholesterol, the frequency of headaches, and suppress appetite which can aid in controlling weight

How long will my olive oil stay fresh?
Freshness is the key to taste in Olive Oil and after one year you will begin to lose that fresh taste. The shelf life of Olive Oil decreases after a year, as all consumable products do. However, how your Olive Oil is stored can have a great impact on the shelf life of your olive oil.

Specialty Oils FAQ

Why is Extra Virgin Olive Oil superior to all other oil?
Taste and health benefits are the difference between Olive Oil and store bought vegetable oils. Vegetable oils are tasteless and add fat to your recipe. EVOO adds a fresh flavor, unique to itself, and is an healthy replacement for butter or margarine that will also add taste to your recipe.

What are Truffles?
A truffle is a rare, edible mushroom that is considered a delicacy in many parts of the world. Generally harvested in the wild, they are very expensive, some costing hundreds of dollars per pound. Truffles are often confused with chocolate-covered truffles, a confectionery that has no relation to mushroom truffles. Truffles grow in a limited number of places including France, Italy, Croatia, and Slovenia, as well as Washington and Oregon in the USA. They grow approximately one foot underground among the roots of oak, elm, chestnut, pine and willow trees.

EVOO is fresh pressed from the fruit of the olive tree, leaving the color, taste, vitamins and nutrients intact. EVOO is popular for dipping breads, as well as for marinades and salad dressings. Because of the antioxidant components, olive oil 

keeps itself fresh longer than vegetable oil.


From where does The Olive Leaf Truffle Oil come?
Our exclusive White Truffle Oil and Black Truffle Oil come from Italy.

Can I replace butter or margarine with Olive Oil?
Yes! Next time a recipe calls for butter, replace it with Olive Oil. Replacing butter with high quality Olive Oil will not only taste better but it is a healthier way to eat.

Use this simple chart to convert the quantity of butter called for in a recipe to the required quantity of Olive Oil.


How should Truffle Oil be stored?
Bottled Truffle Oil is a delicate oil which loses it's aroma over time, so it should be stored in the refrigerator and used before the aroma weakens. Most Truffle Oils will keep for 3 to 6 months if stored properly.

Butter = Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1/4 CUP = 3 TBSP of EVOO
1/2 CUP = 1/4 Cup + 2 TBSP of EVOO
1 CUP = 3/4 Cup of EVOO 


What are the different grades of Olive Oil?
There are 5 different grades:
1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the highest quality rating with an acidity level of less than 1%.
2. Virgin Olive Oil has an acidity level of less than 2%.
3. Semi-fine Olive Oil has aroma and taste defects. The acidity level is less than 3%.
4. Olive Oil is a blend of chemically refined and unrefined (canola or vegetable) oils and is considered unconsumable


What are the nutritional facts for Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
1 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains 120 calories, 14 grams of fat, no cholesterol, and no sodium. 77% of the fat in Extra Virgin Olive Oil is monounsaturated (more depending on the variatal of the olive) and 9% is polyunsaturated fat. 14% is vegetable-derived saturated fat.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil also contains the antioxidants beta-carotene and Vitamin E, as well as phenolic compounds tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol. Extra Virgin Olive Oils contain no salt and are naturally cholesterol free.

Studies show that when substituted for saturated fats, monounsaturated fats lower blood cholesterol, especially the "harmful" low density lipoproteins (LDL) while protecting the "good" high density lipoproteins (HDL).


How should I cook with Olive Oil?
EVOO can be used up to 400* degrees which is the smoking point. Some variatals are even higher. EVOO is also excellent for sauteing (300 degrees) or for sauces and frying (340 degrees).

EVOO is excellent for marinades, vinaigrettes and of course always a great finishing oil to drizzle over your dish. Cooking with a healthy Olive Oil that tastes good to you will make your dish more nutritious than cooking with butter.


What are the health benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
To summarize, what makes Extra Virgin Olive Oil so healthy is the high percentage of oleic acid, monounsaturated fat that helps prevent heart attacks and lower blood pressure. Studies also show that EVOO also seems to lower cancer risks. It is recommended to take at least a Tablespoon of Olive Oil a day for health benefits.


EVOO studies also show that the polyphenols in Olive Oil have the highest activity to help prevent skin cancer, as well as excellent anti-aging properties for slowing the process of skin wrinkling.

How many Olives does it take to make one quart of Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Ten pounds of olives are used in making one quart of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Can you believe that?