When you’ve been in the business of producing olive oil for more than 150 years, it’s not a stretch to say you’ve mastered the art of a fine oil. It all started in 1865 when Francesco Bertolli and his wife, Caterina, began selling wine, cheese, olives and—of course—olive oil. Their local store was a success because they focused on only selling the highest-quality products.
Fast-forward more than a century and you’ll find that the Bertolli brand has found continued success by keeping quality as their focus. Years of research and testing have helped them fine-tune the process of sampling, blending, bottling and shipping the best olive oils to consumers around the world. Here are a few of the things that Bertolli has learned over the years.
Bertolli actually pays farmers more money to pick olives for their oil earlier in the season. Why? “It’s the only way we can guarantee having the highest-quality raw materials,” explains Paula Lopes, Bertolli’s Chief Quality Officer. Picking olives earlier produces a flavor that contains all the characteristics desired in a good olive oil: the right touch of sweetness, bitterness and fruitiness. Higher-quality olives even contain more antioxidants, meaning they have more health benefits.
Not all olive oils are equal. Bertolli only works with established farmers who are known for producing olive oil at the standards the company requires. Each year, more than 20,000 oils are sampled from around the world. Of those samples, only 20 percent make the cut to be a Bertolli blend.
Taking a global approach.
When Bertolli is searching for the perfect olive oils for their blends, they don’t let geography stop them. In fact, the company takes pride in the fact that they source from olives grown around the world. If you look at the label on a bottle of Bertolli olive oil, you’ll see that the blend may contain olives from multiple countries, including Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal. By expanding the regions from which they pick their olives, Bertolli is able to ensure a higher-quality product that isn’t put at risk by climate issues or pest problems.
It’s all about the blend.
How does Bertolli determine the taste of each olive oil? They employ Master Blenders who bring together the art and science of flavor profiling. These experts have honed their senses to be able to identify subtle notes within different olive oils. They then blend together oils to create a consistent profile. By using this blending technique, Bertolli is able to ensure that the taste of all their extra virgin olive oils remains constant. Master Blenders are also the key to developing flavor profiles unique to each market. Different regions have different preferences, and Bertolli takes this into account when developing their olive oils.
These are just a few of the techniques that Bertolli employs to ensure a top-quality product. When you’re reaching for a bottle of Bertolli olive oil, you can rest assured that the company has taken the utmost care in bringing you a product that is delicious, healthy and expertly produced.