What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil
New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the highest quality level of first cold pressed oil from New Zealand grown olives. It is extracted by purely mechanical means from fresh ripe olive tree fruit in good condition. It must be free from taste and smell defects, be well balanced, exhibit olive fruit complexity, have persistence, and have free fatty acid and oxidation levels (ensuring freshness) below the New Zealand standard threshold.
Other Quality Classifications
Other lower quality cold pressed olive oils are classed (in descending order) as Virgin, or if in very poor condition, Ordinary Virgin. It should be noted that a significant amount of the olive oils imported into New Zealand being sold as “Extra Virgin”, are in fact Refined Olive Oil manufactured from the pomice waste of the cold pressing process.
North Auckland Olives
Rockhaven’s Olive Oils are produced from olive fruit grown and picked in the north Auckland area. These are then processed in a purpose built modern “press house” within 24 hours of picking. The resulting fresh “cold pressed” olive oil is then stored unfiltered, protected from oxygen, light and heat, awaiting blending into its final style. To complement the local oil styles, carefully selected single variety extra virgin olive oils are also sourced from Northland.
Each year the growing conditions for New Zealand olives differ, depending upon the amount of sun, rain and the temperature variations of our maritime climate. As a result the oil produced from each variety of olive tree also varies in terms of taste and aroma.
The earlier olive fruit is picked the greater the level of flavonoids and antioxidants in the oil, giving green grass and fresh vegetable flavours, coupled with strong pepper at the end of the taste. Later picked olives tend to produce softer flavours of tropical fruit often with a buttery silkiness.
To create its range of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Rockhaven blend oil from six different olive varieties, and from fruit harvested at different times throughout the normal six week harvesting window.