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Italian Olive Oil

Italian Olive Oil

Olive Oil Production in Italy

Italy takes the second place in the olive oil production in the world, after Spain.

Olive oil production in Italy concentrates in the southern Italy. Over 80% of olive production takes place in Puglia, Calabria and Sicily. The remaining production can be divided among Tuscany, Liguria, Umbria and Abruzzo.

Puglia boasts the highest number of olive farms, followed by Sicily, Calabria and Campania. Basilicata and Sardinia have a much smaller number of companies growing olives.

The breakdown of olive oil types sold in the Italian market is as follows:  72% of extra virgin olive oil, 13% of olive oil and 12% of “100% Italian”. Quality brands with PDO and PGI certificate as well organic olive oil remain a niche at the Italian market with 1 % of sales.  70% of Iolive oil export from Italy, mainly to the US, Germany and Asia, consists of quality oils such as extra virgin and virgin.

PDO and PGI are trademarks of quality, recognized at European level, created in 1992 to harmonize the various regulations issued by the Member States in order to preserve the typical  food products throughout the EU. 

PDO stands for Protected Designation of Origin, in Italian Denominazione di Origine Protetta (DOP) and can be attributed only to those agricultural products or foodstuffs whose characteristics depend exclusively on the territory in which it is produced. 

For the purpose of the DOP is necessary that the entire production cycle, from cultivation to harvesting to packing of the finished product, takes places within the geographical area bounded by its own brand.

The DOP thus ensures the traceability of the product allowing consumers to locate the source of the raw material and the place of processing and transformation.

The 'Protected Geographical Indication (PGI)  or Indicazione Geografica Protetta (IGP) is a brand that identifies agricultural and food products and to obtain it, it is necessary that only one phase of the production process has link with the geographical area of reference. The only extra virgin olive oil in Italy to have obtained the IGP so far is to 'Toscano' for which, in fact, the specification imposes requirements similar to those for the DOP. 

In fact, as reported in the Production Guidelines of the Consortium IGP Toscano, all stages of production of their extra virgin olive oil - from harvesting and pressing of the olives to the packaging of the product - must necessarily take place within Tuscany. 

Cooking with Olive Oil

It is important to know the characteristics of the olive oil, so it can be used in the most proper way. The subtle fruity taste of extra virgin olive oils are ideal for making sauces such as pesto, walnut sauce, mayonnaise, Ailloli. It can be used to flavor seafood salads, raw fish, saltwater fish, boiled or cooked by steaming or cooking delicate vegetables, mushrooms, fish, white meats, as well as for the preparation of pickles such as zucchini, asparagus. 

The medium fruity taste of extra virgin olive oils are appropriate to flavor meat carpaccio, fish skewers, octopus salad, stuffed squid, crustaceans and baked fish, stewed meats and vegetables as well as peppers, artichokes and olives in oil.
The extra virgin fruity flavor seasoned boiled eggs, bruschetta, dips, soups, bean salads, grilled red meats.