It is oil, olive oil, but it is the result of a blend. Do not be shocked by this word from the English language. The equivalent word in Italian does not express the idea properly. ‘Miscela’, literally mixture, is an unsatisfying description even if, as a result of habit and being big coffee drinkers, we are quite familiar or have heard of the existence of the various ‘miscele’ of coffee available on the market. All of this serves to help us understand that the word ‘blend’ or ‘miscela’, if you prefer, should not make us suspicious. Rather, it is used to provide an idea and a sense of logic to quality. The quality of an oil is the result of an art, and not by coincidence. It is not enough to just press the olives and use the extracted oil as it is. Among the many oils that are obtained, it is necessary to mix them together taking account of a homogeneous quality and aroma and taste that also becomes the result of a skilful combining of their different elements. It takes the ability and the wisdom of the producer who appropriately blends the various oils obtained, giving them their sensorial characteristics and making them enjoyable for the consumer.
The French, through their language, have been able to be much more fascinating than us. In fact, the term they use when talking about a mixture is ‘cuvée’, the same used to describe a blend ofdifferent wines. In this way they are able to get across the idea of a desired result, one which has been studied and given great thought. And there is an even more explicit term ‘coupage’ to describe the process of ‘cutting’, or ‘assembly’ between various wine productions. In this way, by mixing the various available oils, perhaps originating from different groves, different geographical origins or different olive varieties, it is possible to create a specific and singular type of extra virgin olive oil. The purpose of blending is to personalise the oil, imparting its own imprinting, the precise idea of oil, just as a chef works with the same raw materials but obtains different results compared to those of other chefs.
This text is taken from chapter 2 of the book “An Olive Oil Family” written by Cristina and Federico Santagata, published by Olio Officina Edizioni.