Our Story with the Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Growing up, I learned from my family that extra virgin olive oil is a miracle.
My dad, who is a surgeon says high-quality olive oil is both a food and a remedy. Mom, who is a food engineer, taught me how to embrace healthy fats in my diet and why we need them. So I decided to pursue this! Being an industrial engineer dedicated to responsible and sustainable production; I learned what it takes to produce the best extra virgin olive oil. There are many ways to integrate this gem into our daily routine, and there are many details in selecting the right olive oil.
I worked in the Marketing and Strategic Consulting fields in different food-related businesses in Turkey and in the USA. Seeing different cuisines and eating habits, extra virgin olive oil surely holds a special position in our diets as Mediterraneans.
When you think about healthy and light eating, the first diet that comes to mind is the Mediterranean diet and the extra virgin olive oil. Although extra virgin olive oil is gaining global popularity in almost every country, there is still a way to go.
There are some other fats that have been more popular in some cuisines. As the popularity of healthy eating and diets such as vegan, vegetarian, keto, Paleo arise; extra virgin olive oil gains popularity in almost all geographies. This gem, extra virgin olive oil, is produced in the Mediterranean climate, and the production has to be carefully handled to get the best quality of nutritional content. Although olive oil is not produced in some countries, per capita consumption is almost the same as in a Mediterranean country. For that reason, this scarce product that could be produced only a certain amount every year, is getting more and more valuable every day.
Turkey is among the biggest producers of extra virgin olive oil in the world, ranking 3rd or 4th by volume every year. Frankly speaking, our producers and exporters have underestimated the value of marketing and branding in the past. That’s why, as a country, we are not realizing our potential in the worldwide market. There are many successful Turkish extra virgin olive oil brands that took us to the 4th level on the world stage according to EVOO World Ranking in 2021. Turkish producers are working hard to create a global awareness for Turkish extra virgin olive oil.
My curiosity in good food and endless passion for extra virgin olive oil, combined with my Marketing background ended up in starting my business. It all started as a grad school project at Pepperdine University, when I was living in Los Angeles. Since 2018, I’m on an exciting journey to introduce superfoods to the people who care about what they eat.
As an Industrial Engineer and a Marketing enthusiast, I keep learning about curating and adding value to what we are eating, while keeping it natural and clean. I learned so much about extra virgin olive oil, and love sharing my knowledge with our followers. Just keep in mind that not all olive oils have superfood effects, and follow us.
From farm to the tables, a high quality olive oil requires care and passion.
What are the Important Steps in Extra Virgin Olive Oil Production?
For our early harvest products, we harvest our olives latest in October when they are still green. It is a costly choice, but it delivers the best quality, highly nutritious extra virgin olive oil with a low FFA (Free Fatty Acidity) level. For our late harvest products, we harvest our olives in November-December to get a smoother taste and still keep the nutritious values inside.
Free Fatty Acidity (FFA) Level and the Sensorial Analysis
Olive oil undergoes a number of chemical and sensorial analysis to be classified as extra virgin olive oil. Free fatty acidity level alone is not sufficient to indicate an olive oil as extra virgin. An extra virgin olive oil must have less than 0.8% free fatty acidity level and satisfy the required levels of absorbance, peroxit count, and some other technical values.
Apart from these chemical analyses, an extra virgin olive oil must also be evaluated by a tasting expert for its sensorial analysis. To be evaluated as extra virgin olive oil, an olive oil must have no defects, and must have certain levels of fruitiness, bitterness and pungency. Some of the common defects are; rancid (oxidation), fusty, muddy, earthy and winey. If any one of these is present in the olive oil, it falls down to the virgin olive oil or crude olive oil status.
Handpicking is an important factor in extra virgin olive oil production, and it is a hard technique. Olives that fall, get crushed, or get muddy will be fermented quickly, and trigger the problem of producing a fusty olive oil; thus losing olive oil’s value.
Our olive people know how to handpick olives without harming. Thanks to the table olive production in our region, they are used to fulfill this task fast and effectively. It is not an easy task, but it delivers the best quality. This is a major advantage we have as a country for extra virgin olive oil production.
After handpicking, we collect the olives inside ventilated plastic crates, and immediately cold press within 24 hours to get the lowest acidity and the highest concentration of great nutritional content with antioxidants. By keeping them in ventilated cases, we prevent them from crushing and mashing each other, thus preventing fermentation. It is also important to keep the cases away from sunlight and heat.
By using only the mechanical techniques, olives are pressed inside pressing machines with minimum air contact. Cold pressing should not exceed 27 °C (80 °F), to keep the nice aromas and nutritious value inside the extra virgin olive oil.
After pressing, we filter our extra virgin olive oil to eliminate unwanted substances and store in chrome tanks. They are just the juice of olives, without any preservatives or chemical processing. As a result, our products are awarded for their superior taste and quality by worldwide known competitions.
3 Positive Attributes: Fruitiness, Bitterness, Pungency
There are three positive attributes when qualifying an extra virgin olive oil; fruitiness, bitterness and pungency.
Olizzi Premium Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Olizzi Everyday Extra Virgin Olive Oil are early harvested products with intense fruitiness and green smell. Olizzi Premium Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil has higher bitterness and pungency levels, making it a great fit for cold dishes. All food pairing details can be found inside the product details inside our Online Store.
Olizzi Everyday Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a balanced bitterness and pungency, making a good fit for cooking, baking, and stir-frying.
Olizzi Baby Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a late harvest product, with a good level of fruitiness and low pungency and bitterness levels, making it a good choice for babies with its smooth taste. Check out the product pages for more information.
Olive oil undergoes a number of chemical and sensorial analyses to be classified as extra virgin olive oil. For the sensorial analyses, an extra virgin olive oil is evaluated by a tasting expert for negative and positive attributes.
We don’t harm any trees, olives or animals during our processes. We aim to reduce waste and overuse with our recyclable packages. We are continuously working on how to improve our packaging to be more environmentally friendly.
Olizzi is from western Turkey and it is USDA Organic certified! Without any additives, chemicals or processing – just the juice of olives!
About the Founder
Ece strongly believes that “You are what you eat” and she is a real food enthusiast!
After completing her primary and secondary education in Izmir, she studied Industrial Engineering at METU in Ankara and then moved to Istanbul. Ece worked as Product Manager at Coca-Cola Icecek Turkey. After 5 years in Istanbul, she moved to Los Angeles to study MBA at Pepperdine University in Malibu. She worked for the biggest catering reservation platform of the USA – Roaming Hunger, as a strategy consultant during her studies.
Since 2018, she is on an exciting journey of building her brand! Living the Mediterranean way, and observing different cultures, she decided to introduce superfoods to the world in a new and exciting way.
She enjoys roaming the streets and discovering new foods. She is one of the authors of the book Yerim Seni İstanbul (Grab a Bite of Istanbul). She prioritizes good food to the point that she once spent two weeks finding the best pickle shop in the town.
That’s why she is very passionate about extra virgin olive oil – the ultimate superfood and the best ingredient of all – and all the superfoods that work miracles in our bodies!