So What is the Difference?
Quick clarification- Olive oil can come in a few forms as far as flavor is concerned. “Plain” meaning it’s just the natural olive oil with nothing added (we often call it unflavored), “Fused” meaning a fusion of flavor (traditionally known as “agrumato” in Italian) created as the oil is actually being extracted from the olives, and “Infused” meaning the flavor is infused into the oil AFTER the oil was extracted from the olives.
An oil becomes naturally flavored by using fresh botanicals, like basil, chili peppers, lemons, and so on. NOW, for the good stuff…
Here is a quick bit of info from our magnificent supplier on how shops/grocers in the industry are misleading our loyal patrons:
“Hi All! I’m writing today because we’ve received of a flurry of questions and comments regarding misappropriation of the term “fused” by stores not supplied by Veronica Foods who are using it to describe oils that are not mechanically crushed, i.e. agrumato.
First, a little history… From the time we began making agrumato olive oil aka “fused” olive oil decades ago, we needed a word that best described our mill’s process of crushing whole, fresh, organic olives together with perfectly ripe, fresh produce, strictly using mechanical extraction. We chose to use the word “fused” because the only other word that existed to describe this unique, artisan, process was the Italian term, “agrumato”. At the time, we felt the term “agrumato” was too obscure so we chose to call our agrumato olive oil “fused”.
We believe that the term fused has been co-opted for a few reasons. First and foremost, the process of agrumato is incredibly difficult, costly, and therefore rare. It’s time consuming, laborious, and requires a near perfect choreography to bring fresh, ripe, locally sourced produce to the mill the moment the olives are ready to be harvested. We’re talking mere hours from harvest to crush for both olives and fresh produce at our mill.
Furthermore, a recipe must be developed dictating how many tons of fresh herbs or fruit should be crushed with a corresponding ratio of olives. This process of formulation can take many seasons to perfect. We had many failures along the way before we got each agrumato olive oil right. Remember, a mill cannot simply stop production to make tiny test batches of agrumato to find flavor harmony. Our mill has an Alfa Laval in full swing during harvest, and fresh olives need to be crushed immediately! Needless to say, the process of agrumato is a labor of love and requires a level of craftsmanship and dedication to quality that we hang our hats on. We’re known globally for having one of the largest collections of authentic, high quality agrumato olives oils. We did not roll out of bed a couple years ago and decide to become experts. We arrived at our position in the industry after decades of hands on experience. We’re never done reaching for excellence but we have fine tuned the process accruing many accolades and gold medals along the way.
It’s for these reasons that we must assume that the intentional misuse of the term “fused” to describe oils that are actually infused, is a blatant attempt to fool and lure otherwise loyal consumers into believing product is authentic agrumato by competitors that can no longer acquire it.”