Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 600 Olives Varieties!!

italian extra virgin olive oil

Believe it or not, there are over 600 different varieties of olives planted all around Italy, and each one of them produces its own characteristic oil.

Let us discover together the most representative olive varieties that have made Italian extra virgin olive oil world famous.

italian extra virgin olive oil

Different Cultivars (Olive Varities)

Olive varieties are technically called ‘cultivar’ so if an Extra virgin olive oil (abbreviated Evoo) is made only by one cultivar, then that oil will be a monocultivar oil.

When an extra virgin olive oil is made by more than one cultivar, then we have in front of us a blend.
Monocultivars (monovarietal) of EVOO have become more common during the last few years as producers want to make extremely high quality EVOOs, highlighting the properties of their own territory and promoting the different organoleptic properties of each cultivar. italian extra virgin olive oil

The most rapresentative italian olive varieties

Frantoio (Tuscany)

The cultivar Frantoio, is one of the most famous cultivar where the Italian extra virgin olive oil is made from. Native to the region of Tuscany, where it produces a fruity flavor, with scents of raw artichoke and fresh grass and a delectably peppery aftertaste. 

However it is also found in other regions, even in Australia. In these areas, the Frantoio would express different properties depending on the territory where it is cultivated.  italian olive oil

Tonda Iblea (Sicily)

The Tonda Iblea, on the other hand, is a native cultivar of the Hyblaean Mountains in Sicily, more
precisely in and around Chiaramonte Gulfi and Ragusa. 

Tonda Iblea is not found anywhere else as it needs the altitude to express at its best the aromatic components that make its oil so unique.  italian olive oil

Tomato is the key word: fresh green tomato with a hint of tomato leaf.
There is also a hint of artichoke and freshly cut grass, that balances the tomato and offers an elegant and yet full of flavour EVOO. Italian extra virgin olive oil

Coratina (Puglia)

Not to forget the Coratina, which together with San Felice from Umbria and Moraiolo from Tuscany are the EVOOs that offer the highest level of polyphenols (read our articles on Polyphenols and why they are so important). They are therefore more intense and pungent but
also retain their properties for much longer than other oils and, if we can say it, are even
healthier than other EVOOs. Coratina olive trees are majestic, the yield is pretty high and the provinces of Bari and Foggia boast some of the oldest olive trees in the whole
country.  italian olive oil

The Coratina variety is the most planted in Italy (8%) and the whole Puglia region produces over 50% of the total Italian extra virgin olive oil.

Conclusion

Other very important Italian varieties should also be mentioned, such as Leccino, Moraiolo and Itrana cultivars that are very important in central Italy, Ogliarola and Peranzana in Apulia, Ottobratica, Nocellara Etna and del Belice in Calabria and Sicily respectively, and the very famous Taggiasca in Liguria, which have made Italian extra virgin olive oil so famous throughout the world.

Stay tuned to know more about these olive varieties.  italian olive oil

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