Extra Virgin Olive Oil is chosen for its taste because it is used to add flavour and enhance the taste of your food.
By learning more about good quality olive oil and a good tasting technique it is possible to reawaken our senses and make a better choice when buying olive oil.
Principles of tasting
- Peppery and bitter tastes and especially off-flavours, makes the mouth very sensitive, therefore it is best not to taste more than six oils in one session. If you start the tasting session with a strong and overpowering oil subsequent oils tend to taste stronger than they really are.
- To decide the order in which they should be tasted, it is important to screen the oils first by their aroma. Taste the milder oils first, followed by the more robust oils. Oils with obvious defects should be tasted last.
- Always refresh your mouth between each tasting with sparkling water or a slice of apple.
- Perfumes, deodorants, sweets, drinks like coffee, eating and smoking should be avoided at least 30 minutes before and during the tasting. Avoid washing your hands with perfumed soaps and don’t use perfumed hand lotions before a tasting session.
- Use separate tasting glasses for each sample and taste the oils in a clean, light and airy environment.
- Taste with a friend, make notes, compare and have great fun!
Ready to taste
- Pour about a teaspoon or 5ml of oil in a glass and rotate the glass to wet the sides fully.
- Warm the sides of the glass with the palms of your hands to allow the aromas to escape into the glass. Cover the top of the class with your other hand to contain the aromas in the glass.
- After about one minute take the top hand off and bring the oil as closely as possible to your nose. Slowly inhale deeply two or three times in succession, making a mental note of the bouquet is it fresh or is there a trace of rancidity?
Taste: The next step is to taste the oil.
- Take a small sip of approximately 2 to 3 ml. Roll the oil over the tongue and round the mouth, distributing the oil throughout the whole of the mouth. This is very important, because the perception of the four primary tastes (sweet, salty, acid and bitter) varies in intensity depending on the area of the tongue, palate and throat.
- With your lips semi-closed, inhale rapidly two or three times in succession to spray the oil onto your tongue and palate. The intake of air helps to release the volatile aromas, allowing them to pass up the nasal passages.
- Memorize the flavours, and then spit the oil out. If necessary, repeat the tasting, but only after you’ve rinsed your mouth with clean water.
When you are finished tasting spit the Oil out. Clean the mouth with water and apples. That will enable you to taste multiple oils without compromising your judgement.
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