Do you know what factors make one olive oil different from another? Or why one may work best as a dressing and makes dishes sing, while another is great for cooking?

Here we look at two of the great Timperio Extra Virgin Olive Oils (EVOOs). Think of this review as a basic primer about olive varieties and harvesting techniques, and how they impact the EVO made from them.

Let’s start with the summary and then work backwards

Here is the key difference for cuisine using Timperio’s Nobile and Gentile oils:

  • We recommend using Nobile for dressing dishes such as salads, pastas, cooked vegetables, for dips and anything else you feel like. Simple is almost always best when it comes to dressings and there is nothing more natural or simpler than Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Nobile has subtle but distinct flavours for the reason we explain below.
  • We suggest using Gentile for cooking as its gentler flavour will not overpower the taste of food cooked in it. EVO oil is perfect for every type of cooking, despite what you may read on the Internet. The best premium EVO has a high smoke point.

Now that you know how to maximise the benefits of Nobile and Gentile EVOO, let’s explore the background to both of them and look at the commonalities and the key difference.

They have so much in common . .

Both EVO oils are extremely suitable as a dressing as well as for cooking. The differences are not so drastic that you should use only one for cooking and the other as a dressing. No – they both work well for any cuisine.

They both come from the same olive type

Olive trees have been growing for around 40 million years and several main varieties have emerged from which many hundreds of cultivars have been grown. Both Nobile and Gentile belong to the same cultivar – Gentile Nera, which means Gentle Black. It is the local indigenous olive cultivar in our region of Molise, Italy.

They both are mono-cultivar oils

Mono-cultivar means that they are not blended with olive oil from any other olive variety. This is a common practice with the huge brand-name olive oil producers. They distribute such vast volumes of oil that no one variety could supply all they require. Therefore olive oils from different varieties and even different countries are blended.

Not so with Timperio EVOO. Each bottle of our premium oil comes from just one olive variety – the Gentile Nera.

The difference is in the harvesting

Olives can be harvested at different stages of ripeness. Early harvesting of green olives produces EVOO with different flavours and characteristics to late harvested ripe olives.

Early harvested EVOO, like Timperio’s Nobile, is made from semi-ripe olives. It is infused with fresh and intense olive flavours. Typically they have spicy taste that lingers on the tongue, with a pleasing kick. Their sharp, almost bitter aftertaste is one difference between early and late harvest olives.

Late harvested ripe olives, as in Timperio’s Gentile, produce EVOO with bolder flavours and marked aromas of fresh olives. You may also detect notes of almond and tomatoes. It all adds up to a very interesting and tasty olive oil – the benefits of sun-ripened olives – which delivers a gentler tasting experience than Nobile.

But . . don’t all olive oils taste the same?

If your only experience of olive oil has been the “pure” or “light” types often found on supermarket shelves, then you can be forgiven for thinking they all taste the same. These are not Extra Virgin oils.

In fact, the original olive oil these products are made from is of very poor quality and flavour. So poor that it has to be refined in a heavily industrialised process using heat and chemicals to remove most of the natural health-giving benefits. Then some good oils are added, along with flavourings to make it taste reasonable. But it’s as different from EVOO as processed cheese is from Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan cheese).

What does great EVOO taste like?

Timperio Nobile and Gentile EVO oils have a fruity flavour that has a distinct taste of the olive. They also have a peppery “kick” at the back of your throat due to the high level of healthy antioxidants they contain. It is a very desirable characteristic, and a sign of a superb olive oil.

Finally, take a look at Organic Bio/Olio – Timperio Alike Nobile

For a special organic EVOO experience, look no further than Alike Nobile. Like Gentile, it is made from semi-ripe olives taken from an early harvest.

The small farmers who grow the olives and supply the Timperio oil mill employ only sustainable organic practices that help conserve the environment. That is because they consume the oil from the olives that they produce.

Timperio Alike Nobile uses only certified organic olives grown in accordance with the most stringent organic farming standards certified by Suolo & Salute, the official agency that administers the certification.

Read more about the standards we adhere to on the home page of the Timperio website.