Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian

Our recent article about “filtered or unfiltered olive oil” has been very successful. We had asked two experts their opinions regarding extra virgin olive oil and its filtration process.

The experts commented on the results of our survey, in which most of the 350 readers who participated, said they preferred their olive oil to be unfiltered. But the experts had a different opinion.

The article was read by Matia Barciulli, technical coordinator of the entire “food and beverage” sector at Antinori (and their restaurants). He’s, most importantly, an “olive oil chef”, who has been fighting for the quality of extra-virgin olive oil for years. So much so that he also created the “Il Magnifico Olive Oil Award”.

Barciulli, what does the result of this survey tell us?

“The producers are a bit obsessed, and they’re right, the filtration process is essential – it’s the only way. But I have to say a few words in favour of the people who said they preferred their olive oil to be unfiltered. As soon as it comes out of the olive press, the olive oil tastes heavenly, it’s addictive: on toasted bread the new olive oil is simply delicious. Everybody loves it, some prefer it with garlic and others on its own. But this is another matter altogether. In the first 10 days the olive oil is to be enjoyed unfiltered, in its natural state. So, what’s the solution? Because the filtering process is essential to make its taste last longer, we should filter all the olive oil produced, except for the small quantity that we’d like to consume immediately”.

In your opinion what are the reasons people prefer it unfiltered?

“We’re talking about a product that has been used for millennia, and that over time has gone through an incredible revolution, just think that olive oil was initially used as fuel for lamps, and only later as food.” Well, now this product can become perfect, thanks to technology and to the expert hands of enlightened olive press owners, and the final phase of its evolution is the filtration process”.

What should the consumer (or the very small producer) know about this subject?

“I’ve recently seen worrying scenes at the supermarket: innocent people who were filling their carts with large transparent glass bottles of greenish oils that already had copious residues on the bottom. This was sold as if it were a special deal. It probably tastes decent now, but in a month you’ll open it and have a nasty surprise. Mould will be growing in the bottle, and the olive oil will taste rancid. But why? Why do you allow such a thing into your home? Just buy one bottle and use it straight away. Then get the rest of your olive oil filtered and put it in dark bottles. I’ll tell you what I do. I buy up filtered olive oil and put it in the fridge. This is my advice: wait for May, and at that point you can take out your bottle and use the olive oil. It will taste great, just like the new olive oil! Remember that heat, light and oxygen are the three olive oil killers”.

Matteo Pucci