From a single olive which encases the oil in its perfect state, untouched and hanging in the balance!
The late Dr Mugelli, renowned for his work internationally as an olive oil expert, Amanda Bailey from The Olive Centre was given the opportunity to inspect Mugelli’s pilot plant at Torre Bianca during the harvest season in 2005 and since that time has followed the progress of this technology.
Initially, the Oliomio Cultivar machine built solely for the purpose of enhancing each of the processes involved with olive oil extraction and engineer machinery with an agenda to create the perfect process for producing the highest expression of ultra-premium quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil possible. Some of these processes included harvesting olives in small instalments being available for processing within 4 hours of harvesting. Normally, this can be 24 hours because multiple trips to the mill would be saved. In addition, the fruit is cleaned intensively with citric acid to risk any fermentation turn on olive skin. “Fruit in pristine condition during harvest and are not cut and bruised because that would be another trauma” as Mugelli would put it!
The further process takes place under vacuum conditions (excluding air). After the gentle and slow separation of the oil from the olive pulp (waste paste) under conditions of a colder process rather than the traditional expression and where producing and filtering the oil is no more than 22 degrees with a controlled air content, pressure and temperature values. The success is in the details!
There are 124 types of polyphenols found in olive oil and only 10 I regard as being relevant for health states Mugelli.
Since this time, The Olive Centre has been looking at the progress of the evolution of the equipment and the results of the pilot plant showing a number of healthful polyphenols increase even to the point where they doubled under this process, in most cases, as opposed to using a conventional system. Thanks to Dr Mugelli’s work this machinery is now a commercial reality in the new series of processing plants known as the Cultivar and Sintesi series by the makers of Oliomio. These lines start up to 80kgs per hour to more than 500kgs per hour.
To filter or not to filter: Some say unfiltered oils should be sold because they have the maximum flavour in the oil and is more natural. This is wrong: in fact, the residues in murky oils make it fall apart in a matter of weeks. Modern oils are therefore filtered and much more stable.
The best storage for olive oil is stainless steel: Oils that are sold in clear bottles are not recommended because they allow light to penetrate the oil and therefore will degrade in quality quicker than if you were to store in stainless steel or dark glass.
Extra Virgin is an expression of olive oil being of exceptional quality. Starting at the perfect olive and during the processes reduce the amount of trauma to enable extraction of oil that is as close as an example of the original oil inside the olive with the highest amount of phytochemicals contained. What you use in terms of equipment and machinery to fulfil the optimal quality parameters will define the outcome of your oil! Refining your processes may give you some success in raising the benchmarks but this can only be done with control throughout if your equipment and machinery permit flexibility!