Among the many questions about making olive oil, I have pondered the question of filtering. I had a chance to learn more about that issue today.
To enhance my olive oil making experience in Argentina, Familia Zuccardi was kind enough to take me to another extra virgin olive oil producer here in Mendoza. Pallazini is the name of the place we went to the visit. I am unsure of Pallazini's total production, but from the size of the tanks, I believe they out-produce both Familia Zuccardi and Long Meadow Ranch.
We were shown around by the company's olive oil maker, Andres, and Rolando Pallazini, the owner. The facility was quite big and had tiled floors. Pallazini uses a 2-phase system Decanter (centrifuge), which is the same type of centrifugation that we use at Long Meadow Ranch. One thing that stood out in particular was a plate and frame filter. So, the question was raised. . . why would you filter olive oil?
The reasons for filtration of any product are quite simple. Clarity, consistency, and microbial stability. Across the board, these are the reasons that wine, beer, soft drinks, juice, energy drinks, and in this case, extra virgin olive oil are filtered. From the vantage point of a large producer, it provides security, as well as a clean, consistent product for the consumer.
Familia Zuccardi and Long Meadow Ranch both make unfiltered extra virgin olive oils. If the oil is racked nice and clean, leaving the sediment behind, then clarity should not be a problem. Our intention is to also keep our delicate aromas and flavor profiles of the extra virgin olive oil intact.
Posted by Jason Moulton