What does the IGP Toscano certification involve? In order for an Extra Virgin Olive Oil to be also IGP Toscano, the producer has to respect strict Production Specifications issued by the IGP Toscano Consortium (see www.oliotoscanoigp.it).
The limits imposed by these Specifications are stricter than those required by the UE for Extra Virgin Olive Oils. We’ll point out only some of the most interesting aspects:
1) THE ANALYSIS: Once extracted, the oil will have to:
a) undergo a series of chemical-physical analysis;
b) undergo an organoleptic panel test by professional tasters.
a) The most interesting analytical limits for the consumer are those referring to:
– maximum total acidity (in oleic acid) which for the IGP oil can’t exceed 0.6 g per 100 g of oil (for the UE Regulations an Extra Virgin Olive Oil can have an acidity of up to 0.8 g per 100 g of oil);
– the number of peroxides for an IGP oil must be equal or below 16 meqO2/kg (according to the UE Regulations, an Extra Virgin Olive Oil can have a maximum number of peroxides of up to 20meq/O2/kg).
An IGP Toscano olive oil also needs to have a number of polyphenols, natural and beneficial antioxidants, equal or above 60 mg/kg. The polyphenols are responsible for the slightly bitter and spicy taste of the oil. They are thus the characteristic of an excellent quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil with high health benefits.
b) The organoleptic analysis is a sensory analysis; the evaluation of the oil’s color, fragrance and taste is being made by a panel of professional tasters. The tasters evaluate the followings:
– color: it has to be between green and golden yellow with chromatic variations over time;
– fragrance: it has to be fruity accompanied by scents of almond, artichokes, other ripe fruit and green leafs;
– taste: it has to be remarkably fruity.
It has to be emphasized that the oil’s color has no influence on its quality. Very often, and mistakenly, consumers believe that the greener the color, the better the oil’s quality. The green color is due to the chlorophyll, which varies i.e. according to the olive variety and the harvesting time and it can even be due to leafs left with the olives while pressing. Professional tasters use for their tasting sessions small blue glasses, in order not to be influenced by the oil’s color.
2) VARIETIES: In an olive grow, apt to give Extra Virgin Olive Oil IGP Toscano, there can be the following 31 olive varieties, single or combined (in alphabetical order): America, Arancino, Ciliegino, Frantoio, Grappolo, Gremignolo, Grossolana, Larcianese, Lazzero, Leccino, Leccio del Corno, Leccione, Madonna dell’Impruneta, Marzio, Maurino, Melaiolo, Mignolo, Moraiolo, Morchiaio, Olivastra Seggianese, Pendolino, Pesciatino, Piangente, Punteruolo, Razzaio, Rossellino, Rossello, San Francesco, Santa Caterina, Scarlinese, Tondello.
Several of these varieties are also known with synonyms. In the olive grow there is allowed to be up to 5% of different varieties from those listed above.
3) HARVESTING AND PRESSING:
The olive harvesting for the Extra Virgin Olive Oil IGP Toscano has to be made directly from the tree; the olives have to be washed at room temperature before being pressed and can’t undergo any other treatment.
The olives have to be pressed in mills listed in a specific data base of the Tuscan Region and the oil extraction can be made only using mechanical and physical means (per law “cold pressed”, with a maximum temperature of 27°C) which guarantee that the oil will preserve all of the olives quality characteristics.
4) TRACEABILITY: Each bottle or other packaging of Extra Virgin Olive Oil IGP Toscano has a label with its own code. Going to http://www.oliotoscanoigp.it/ita/tracciabilita.html you can insert in the specific spaces the packaging’s content and the code printed on the label. You obtain the complete traceability of the oil: from the olive grower to the mill which has extracted the oil up to the oil bottler.
La Fattoria La Maliosa, choosing the organic, biodynamic (Demeter) and Toscano IGP certifications, offers to those who choose its oils the guarantee of genuineness and healthy oil, together with the typicality (Toscano IGP) of the territory these oils are coming from.