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Olive Oil Guide

Useful information and curiosities about olive oil: its flavor, uses, health benefits and the best tips from your ally in the kitchen.

About Olive Oil

Are all Extra Virgin olive oils the same?

No, not all Extra Virgin olive oils are the same. The final product depends on the variety of olives used, the time of harvest, growing conditions and many other factors. And not all oils said to be extra virgin really are Extra Virgin!  When you purchase La Española, you can be assured that you are buying authentic Extra Virgin olive oil that meets high quality standards and stays fresh throughout the process, from the tree to the table of every home. This allows us to preserve all its intensity in both flavour and taste.

What is the difference between Extra Virgin and Pure Olive Oil?

The difference between Extra Virgin and Pure olive oils is the way we process the olives to get the oil.

Once the olives have been harvested, they undergo a cold extraction process to obtain La Española Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This olive processing method gives the oil a higher level of acidity, which is what makes it perfect for dressing or seasoning.

Pure Olive Oil is a mixture of virgin olive oil and refined oil. After a natural process, the mixture is obtained without adding any solvents. This oil is ideal for cooking because it has a more neutral taste and a higher smoke point.

Does olive oil improve with age as with wine?

No. Olive oil, like all other edible fats, starts deteriorating after it is made. Olive oil should be kept away from heat, light and air. The fresher and higher quality the Extra Virgin olive oil is, the more health-giving properties it has. An even better way to keep it fresh is to use it quickly!

Does the color of the oil determine its quality?

The idea that the greener the oil the better the quality is not 100% true. The variety of olives used to produce the oil determines its color. The fact that the color of the oil is greener, does not necessarily indicate that the oil is of a better quality.

In fact, for oil testing, the tester uses blue cups, so the color doesn't affect the rating.

Olive Oil and Health

Olive Oil and Health

Olive oil is not only delicious, but healthy too. 

For example, olive oil contains more unsaturated fatty acids than butter, margarine and other oils. These unsaturated fatty acids replace the ‘bad’ fats in our body, resulting in reduced cholesterol levels.

Scientific research has shown that the use of olive oil greatly reduces the chance of a heart attack caused by clogged blood vessels. 

Olive oil also contains natural antioxidants which protect our cells against ageing. 

Furthermore, unlike other oils, olive oil leaves no waste products of any kind in the body as it is 100% digestible.  Olive oil is naturally rich in vitamins A & E.

Because olive oil is a fat, is it bad for you?

Extra Virgin olive oil has a very high level of monounsaturated fats (the “good fats”).  These have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol. In addition, real Extra Virgin olive oil is high in healthy antioxidants and essential vitamins.

Olive Oil taste

How to know if an olive oil is good?

Many indicators can only be judged by experts, but there are some important characteristics which can help you distinguish a good olive oil from an average product: fragrance and flavor.

  • Fragrance: the first assessment is olfactory, which gives you an insight into both positive aromas. These are the typical fruity notes and the aroma of vegetables and herbs such as artichoke, tomato, aromatic herbs and almonds. Negative aspects such as an unpleasant fragrance, fermented flavor or bitter flavor can also be noted.
  • Taste: with the second evaluation, the basic fragrances are confirmed and it is also possible to note bitter and spicy tastes.

What does it mean if the oil tastes bitter, with a spicy flavor, and stings your throat?

In nearly every olive oil made from high-quality fresh olives pressed immediately after harvesting, you can taste a slightly bitter, spicy flavor. 

This characteristic of Extra Virgin olive oil comes from the powerful natural antioxidants (polyphenols) found in olive oil. According to modern medicine, these antioxidants play an important role in the fight against the oxidation (and therefore the ageing) of the cells of the human body.

Olive Oil uses

Which La Española olive oil is suitable for salads?

Extra Virgin olive oil has a full flavor and is therefore suitable for ‘cold’ use. This really brings out the fragrance and flavor. You should mainly use La Española Extra Virgin olive oil in salads and as the basis of dressings or dips.

Up to what temperature can olive oil be heated?

La Española Pure olive oil can be heated up to 220 degrees Celsius (420° Fahrenheit). You can use La Española Pure olive oil for deep-frying. 
However, deep-frying with olive oil at a temperature greater than 200 degrees Celsius is best avoided, and a low temperature is also undesirable (110-120 degrees Celsius).  It is important to change the olive oil after it has been used about 8 times. For the best results, allow the products you wish to deep-fry to reach room temperature first.

What is a smoke point?

The smoke point is the temperature at which the oil stops shimmering and starts sending out some serious smoke signals. It is important not to exceed the smoke point when cooking using oil or any fats because it may be harmful to our health and can ruin the taste of the food.

The fact that some oils have a higher or lower smoke point does not determine the quality of the oil. Each oil is different and is created via a different production process.

We suggest that you use Extra Virgin olive oil for dressing and seasoning, and Pure olive oil for cooking.

Can I also use La Española olive oil for frying/ roasting/ grilling?

La Española Pure olive oil is perfect for frying, roasting and grilling. Research has shown that olive oil is more resistant to high temperatures than other oils.  

What's more, olive oil is healthier than many other fats and oils. For example, olive oil contains more unsaturated fatty acids than butter, margarine and other oils. These unsaturated fatty acids replace the ‘bad’ fats in our body, reducing our cholesterol levels as a result. 

La Española Pure and Extra Light Tasting olive oils are best for ‘warm’ uses such as frying, roasting, grilling, baking and deep-frying.  Because these oils are refined after pressing, they become more suitable for heating.

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