How to taste olive oil: like an expert
Why not embrace the healthy Mediterranean diet by learning how to taste an olive oil?
Olive oill tasting is a sensory experience embracing aroma, taste and mouthfeel and it’s a fun thing to do at home or before a dinner party as your appetite will be whetted in an instant!
Once you have mastered the skill of identifying the flavour profile of different oils it will open up a whole new world of culinary possibilities. Here’s some tips to get you started:
Olive Oil Tasting Guide: for pros
Just like wine, olive oil has a wide range of flavors and aromas. The main categories are: delicate, medium and intense. Plus, there are also subcategories: fruity, spicy, sour, herbaceous, etc.
Start by tasting three types of olive oil. If they come from different olives, even better, as you will find a bigger contrast from one tasting to another. Let’s go!
Put one tablespoon of olive oil in a stemless wine glass (or similar). If you want to do it like a pro, use a blue glass. Why blue?
Professional tasters use a specially designed blue glass which is tapered to concentrate the aroma. Using a blue glass ensures the taster is not influenced by the colour of the oil which is no reflection of the flavour profile or quality.
To reach the best temperature, place one hand over the top of the glass and the other at the bottom to cup it and hold for 30 seconds.
Now, the professional taster gently swirls the glass. Let the different aromas intoxicate you. This is the perfect moment to identify the kind of aroma, and it will help you get ready for the next step.
Time to taste! Have a sip of olive oil and keep it in your mouth for a “strepaggio,” taking small sips of air while the olive oil is still in your mouth. You can see how this process elevates your sensory experience. After this, swallow and savour it.
Reflect on the different nuances of the olive oil you just tasted, and continue with the rest of your selection.
We suggest that you allow 10 minutes between one olive oil tasting and the next and during this time, eat a small piece of apple, some bread or drink a bit of water to cleanse the palate.
Let your palate break free and delve into another olive oil!
Olive Oil Tasting Guide: for beginners
If you are a beginner who is not so used to drinking olive oil, here is a simpler method of tasting:
Put two tablespoons of olive oil in a shallow dish.
Take a small piece of bread and dip it in the olive oil. This is an easier and yummier way to taste different kinds of oils.
What does really good olive oil taste like?
Let us help you identify what to look out for when tasting olive oil:
Was the aroma nice or unpleasant? Why? Was the aroma soft, strong, medium…?
How would you describe the oil’s aroma? Could you compare it to other oils’ aromas?
How does it feel on your tongue and throat after the tasting? Do you feel like coughing? Is it itchy?
After every tasting, you will be uncovering the taste of olive oil and educating your palate even more. The more gastronomic experiences you have, the more you will learn.
Enjoy a good olive oil tasting! And remember: different strokes for different folks.