A Beginner’s Guide to Olive Oil TastingLeonardo Olive Oil September 27, 2016 Benefits of Olive Oil 1268 Views
When it comes to ingredients that we are not familiar with, we aren’t always quite sure and that leads to hesitance in using it and contemplation on whether it would be beneficial or have side effects. Do we give in and not try the product or do we take the plunge?
When it comes to Extra Virgin olive oil, there have been quite a lot of questions raised, firstly, on whether it is suitable for cooked food at all and then on how to be sure if it lives up to the benefits claimed. More over so and primarily- is that bottle you just picked up from the supermarket authentic?
There could be concerns of adulteration and misbranding, which are crucial to any product we consume. The only way to be hundred percent sure is to be informed of what you should be expecting in terms of taste. Allow your taste buds and the aroma of the oil to tell you its story.
Extra Virgin olive oil could have a variety of flavours depending on the types of olives used, ripeness of the olives, growing conditions and storage of the oil.
Professional tasters usually go right out and take a sip. While this might not sound like a good idea to the rest of us, there is no better way to understand an ingredient but to taste it. It gives us an organic understanding of how olive oil would blend with the other ingredients we’re about to use it with.
Pour some Extra Virgin Olive Oil into a cup. Then place the cup in your palm and cover the top with the other hand. Swirl the oil for around 20 seconds. This warms the oil and releases some aroma. Smell the oil and take a sip! The aroma you will notice might be similar to freshly cut grass, tropical fruits, herbs or cinnamon, described as being fruity.
When you take a sip, make sure it is enough and not just a couple of drops. Then treat it like you would treat wine when tasting it- suck the air through the oil, heightening the aromas, and close your mouth and breathe through your nose. This will allow you to experience a new range of flavours. You could either swallow all of this oil or just some of it.
Swallowing the oil is necessary as it would help you detect a sensation in your throat caused due to the distinctive pungent taste of the oil. It might be very low levels of pungency or even strong enough to make you cough. Don’t get scared, this is normal! In fact it is proof of the oil being well made.
Like pungency, Extra Virgin Olive Oil has another characteristic which is also acquired taste- bitterness. Fresh olives are always bitter and so would be its oil, in varying strengths though- ranging from very slightly bitter to high levels. This also depends on the ripeness of the olives used.
What should come next is to taste the oil with food. Good options would be bread, salads, boiled potatoes, grilled chicken or cooked vegetables. This helps you understand how much you would want to use in which dish and helps you understand olive oil a lot better.
Give this a shot and make way for adopting a healthy way of cooking your food, while ensuring the taste stays intact. So don’t agonize over picking up that bottle, do a quick tasting and cook away!