How can you tell which olive oil is better?

As a consumer, we are faced with many different brands and kinds of olive oil, ranging greatly on price as well. How can you tell which olive oil is better? You may have heard or personally attended wine tasting. Did you know that olive oil is no different?

Let us help you how to tell apart your olive oils

A logical approach is to start with tasting. Once you do this a couple times, you will truly start enjoying the sensory experience the olive oil tasting gives you - the aroma and taste of olive oil.

The “nose” of the olive oil

We treat olive oil as an ingredient and typically start tasting it by marrying it with other foods. But this expert tip we will share with you will help you differentiate the different quality attributes of a fine olive oil. For this, we will pour a tablespoon or two of olive oil into a small wine glass.

Now let’s start with the first experience, the smells that are captured in the quality olive oil. Hold the glass in your palm with one hand and close the top of the glass with your other hand. Now hold the glass, swirl it and let the oil warm up with your hand. Do this for a couple of minutes. This is going to be exciting! As soon as you remove your hand from the top, bring your nose close to it and smell the aroma it offers. This is the “nose” of the olive oil.

Take a sip of the olive oil

Make sure to get a healthy sip. Make sure you let the oil cover your tongue and the inside of your mouth. Now, suck air though the oils. This will help you identify any additional aromas. Now the important pro tip: close your mouth and exhale through your nose. This retronasal olfaction will introduce the key distinctive attributes of a fine olive oil.

We are looking for 3 to 4 key distinctive attributes. We already talked about the fruity flavor and aroma. Another one is the pungency of the oil. This positive attribute, like a spicy pepper tasting, will you give you that taste in the back of your throat (so make sure to swallow a decent amount from your tasting glass). This is a very appealing characteristic and you will look for it and love it once you grow accustomed to it. The level of this pungency can be mild or it can be more intense, even enough to make you cough. Olive oil enthusiasts will sometimes refer to the olive oil that they are tasting as one, two, or even a three cough oil.

The bitterness

The last positive attribute of olive oil is the bitterness. This taste is making its way into our kitchens and taste distinctions much like bitter chocolate, bitter salad greens, or bitter mustard has successfully done. When you are tasting an early harvest versus a later harvest, the most noticeable difference will be the bitterness. The ripeness of the olive fruit will directly create a different bitterness profile. Olive fruit that is less ripe will have more of a bitter taste. We harvest our olive fruit at the right time to create two amazing And yet different experiences. Now please taste our Extra Virgin Early Harvest and compare to our Extra Virgin Olive Oil to start experimenting. A good recommendation to clean your palate is to drink water in between and eat a little Granny Smith apple.

Pair olive oil with the right food

Much like wine, there is a great need to pair olive oil with the right food. Different flavor profile of the olive oil will pair better with some foods than others. So there is a right olive oil for the right job. Just like you drink white wine with seafood but red wine with red meat etc. Enjoy experimenting to create the best food and olive oil combinations according to your taste!
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