FAQs

About olive oil

We make sure that our olives are harvested at the ideal time to produce olive oil of the highest quality. The ripeness of the olives at the time of harvest ultimately determines whether one produces high-quality olive oil. The right time varies depending on the olive variety, the location of the olive grove, and the annual climate. Once this time has arrived, it’s crucial to harvest as quickly as possible.

 

In Sicily the harvest takes place relatively early starting in mid September. The harvest of our olives begins in the shallower country with the variety Moresca, after which the Tonda Iblea matures approximately mid-October.

 

In the industrial mass production of large producers, the harvest often takes place only at a time when the overripe olives either fall to the ground by themselves and can be "sucked" from the ground with special vehicles, or can be shaken from the tree with modern harvesting machines.

A high quality olive oil can only be made if you harvest at the right time and without damaging the fruit. At this optimal time, the olives still sit firmly on the tree and can best be picked off the branches by hand and or with rakes. We prefer hand picking also because it is more sustainable and less damaging for the trees.

The color does not say much about the quality of an olive oil; also not about mixtures of different qualities or even different edible oils. The sooner the harvest, the greener is usually the olive oil. However, this does not mean that a high degree of pigmentation automatically indicates a better olive oil. The content of chlorophylls and carotenoids in olive oil differs greatly depending on the olive variety, as does the color.

Our high quality olive oil is exclusively filtered mechanically, i.e. directly after production by means of a fine-mesh metal sieve. Thereafter, the olive oil is stored in large steel tanks, in which the remaining suspended matter slowly settles to the bottom. The tiny residual particles of olive meat and olive skin are filtered out by this "settling process" in a natural way.

 

Depending on the batch, the suspended matter contained in the olive oil may cause clouding. As these suspended matter contain high levels of healthy fats and antioxidants, they are not negative and also ensure that the olive oil retains its characteristic flavor.

 

Many mass producers additionally filter olive oil chemically, only to delay shelf life regardless of the development of inevitably unpleasant flavors. Since the characteristic taste of the olive variety is destroyed by the additives, chemically filtered olive oils all taste more or less identical.

Olive oil can obtained by using two different production processes: cold extraction and cold pressing. In cold pressing traditionally hydraulic presses are used in an open circuit. In cold extraction olive oil is obtained by percolation ("leaching") or centrifuging of the olive mass. Following EU Regulation 1019 (introduced in 2002) in both methods the temperature of the substances (such as olives, olive mass, and olive-water mixture) during the whole processing operation must never rise above 27 °C. 

 

However, 27 °C are quite high to guarantee good olive oil. In order to avoid changes in the taste of their olive oil, quality producers prefer to lower the temperature to below 25 °C, and they gladly accept that they produce less olive oil. Our olive oil is extracted at below 24 °C.

High-quality olive oils are more stable in taste than inferior oils. The shelf life is 18 months, during which the oil gets a little milder over time. In contrast, inferior olive oils can take on a rancid taste after just a few months.

A high-quality, extra virgin olive oil can easily be used up to a maximum temperature of 190 °C for frying, roasting, stewing, and baking. At a temperature below 190 °C, all important fat accompanying substances and antioxidants that make olive oil so valuable and healthy remain preserved.

Olive oil should ideally be stored in a dark place and at about 15 °C. It should always be protected from direct sunlight and heat. We recommend to store larger quantities in opaque and airtight containers (canisters, dark glass bottles). Smaller quantities can be stored at room temperature below 24 °C.

We believe that responsible products and appealing design do not need to exclude each other. To the contrary, the more appealing the packaging, the more we share il circolo's story. Of course, the cost of the design should be reasonable. We are extremely lucky that our designer friends in Berlin donated the bottle design to il circolo's good cause. Thank you so much, IONDESIGN.

Ordering

We ship to all countries in the EU.

Delivery within Germany or the Netherlands should not take more than 3 business days, depending on the time of ordering. Delivery to other EU countries can take longer than 3 days. Once your order has been shipped, you will  receive a track and trace number, which you can use to retrieve the expected delivery date. The delivery times are ultimately controlled by the courier companies that we work with.

Yes, at the moment you can find il circolo in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Houten, Gouda, Wijk bij Duurstede and Den Haag. In Germany you can find us in Krefeld and in Freiburg. If you want to know which shops offer il circolo oil, please contact us at [email protected].

Of course! For B2B matters please contact us at [email protected]