Quality Standards: Premium Extra Virgin
Extra virgin is the highest grade of olive oil, simply “the best.” DÁFNI is a superior category of olive oil extracted from olives solely by mechanical means. Extra virgin olive oil has a free oleic acid level of under .8%, superior taste, color, and aroma. Premium Extra Virgin designates oil that has an acidity level of under .5%. Our olive oil is tested at harvest and has been consistently between .15-.20% acidity. It is retested periodically to ensure that premium standards are maintained.
The acidity level also is a good indicator of the care and attention to detail of the harvest and extraction process. Acidity in the olive starts to rise as soon as it is picked. This explains why the olives must not be allowed to sit, but brought to the mill without delay. Low acidity extends the shelf life, and maintains a higher level of quality. The oil’s peroxide level is another quality test used to check the levels of oxygen in the oil. When olive oil comes in contact with air, it starts to oxidize and deteriorate. Extra virgin olive oil must have a peroxide level of less than 20, and DÁFNI has always met this standard.
In order to be labeled “extra virgin” in Europe, olive oil must meet IOOC (International Olive Oil Council) standards. In addition to chemical testing, oil must meet the approval of a taster’s panel and judged to have “perfect aroma and taste.” If it does not meet the criteria, it cannot be sold as extra virgin.
Our local mill in Gythio, Greece, adheres to the IOOC standards. Trained technicians taste the olive oil and perform standardized chemical tests following each production. They determine whether our olive oil is extra virgin and considered perfect in flavor, aroma, and without defects. This is documented with a certified report.