Extra virgin olive oil is essentially the naturally extracted juice from fresh olives. The olives are crushed into a paste, and the oil is physically extracted from this paste without the use of chemicals or excessive heat. Extra virgin olive oil has a distinctive olive fruity aroma and flavour and it contains natural antioxidants. The aroma and flavour, of olive oil adds complementary flavours to a wide variety of dishes. ‘Pure’ and ‘light’ and those labeled „olive oil‟ are olive oils that have been refined.
Refining is a complex process that involves the use of acids, alkalis, steam and other agents. The refining process removes all of the aroma and flavour substances out of olive including its natural antioxidants. Artificial antioxidants such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and the related compound butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) need to be added back to give the refined olive oil a reasonable shelf life. As such, unlike extra virgin olive oil, „Pure‟ and „Lite‟ olive oil lack the aroma, flavour and any form of bitterness and pepperyness. In fact the word „light‟ only refers to the light colour, aroma and flavour of these oils.