The REAL DEAL with Olive Oil: Why the different tastes??

Healthy Living


Olive oil is similar to wine in that the taste is a matter of a person’s preference. Many factors contribute to why there is differences in the taste, aroma and flavor of olive oils. 

The following factors can impact the taste of the olive oil: type of olive used, soil conditions and location where olives were grown, weather during the “growing” and “harvesting” seasons, ripeness of the  olives, season/timing of the harvest, harvesting method, length of time between the harvest and pressing, pressing technique, AND packaging and storage methods.

The olive is native to the Mediterranean region, and each area around the Mediterranean provides a unique type of olive. Olives from different areas are often blended together and olives from the same area but different regionsare also blended. Both of these methods provide olive oils which are still as tasty and rich in flavor as solo area olive oils. Olives change colors as they ripen. They start as a green, change to purplish, and then become black once they are fully ripened.

  • Spanish olive oil is typically golden yellow with a fruity, nutty flavor. 
  • Italian olive oil is often dark green. It has an herbal aroma and a bitter flavor. 
  • Greek olive oil has a strong flavor and aroma and tends to be light green.
  • French olive oil is typically pale in color and has one of the mildest flavors. 
  • Californian olive oil is light in color and flavor and it has a slightly fruity taste.
  • Middle East olive oil is rich in flavor and mild in taste. It has an herbal aroma as well.  
  • As mentioned above, some of the olive oils are “green”. These olive oils are from unripe olives and provide a slightly bitter taste. The moderately green tinted oils are the most common and in most of the foods we eat. These olive oils have fruity and nutty flavors and are usually added to neutral-flavored foods. The best combination of food with a green olive oil is usually a food with a neutral taste since the strong flavor of a green olive oil can really stand out. 

    Ripe olives provide the olive oils that are golden, yellowish color.  The olive oil from ripe olives are more mild and buttery in taste. They do not have that bitter, fruity flavor like the greens. These oils are better for foods that already have a strong flavor since the ripe olive oil will not overpower the food. 

    Olives just like other plants are also subject to pests. Farmers utilized pesticides on the olives to help prevent the “olive fly” from ruining their crops. If you would like to avoid the pesticides, Suzy Eats recommends using organic olive oil.


    One Response to “The REAL DEAL with Olive Oil: Why the different tastes??”

    1. Britne @ Shabbott's HabitsNo Gravatar Says:

      How interesting.. I never knew the difference between the different types of olive oils. Thanks for the info!


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