There is a fabulous trend in modern society toward an increasing awareness of what we eat, fuelled by an
abundance of new information about cooking and preparing food. One of the big revelations has been with
olive oil, which has been produced and enjoyed since ancient times, and should be a staple in every kitchen.
An exciting way to enhance your experience of this wonderful oil, is to learn how to taste it. Tasting olive oil
awakens the palate and instils a new discernment and appreciation of food.
We at Lovin’ Olive give you the opportunity to taste test our gourmet olive oils – and this is how you should do
it to get the most taste and enjoyment:
Traditionally, small blue glasses should be used for tasting, as even though the color of the oil does not affect
the taste it may often distract the taster. However, it is fine to use a small wineglass if blue glasses are not
available. To begin your tasting adventure, fill the glasses with about two tablespoons of oil.
Cup the glass with your hand, warming the oil to allow the aroma to be released, gently swirl it around, put
your nose to the glass and breathe in deeply. Your sense of smell will be aroused and you will begin to identify
the aroma or ‘nose’ of the oil. It may be of cinnamon, fresh cut grass, or like tropical fruit. These are all
described as ‘fruity’’.
Now take a good sip of the oil. As you sip, draw in some air at the same time, in a sort of slurping motion. This
helps to get more of the aroma out. Now swirl the oil gently around your mouth, allowing it to fully surround
your tongue. Notice the flavors in the different areas of your mouth. This is where you will taste bitterness.
Olives straight from the tree are very bitter and need to go through a curing process to remove this. Olive oil is
not cured and so there is a certain amount of bitterness which actually adds to the flavor and awakens the
Before swallowing, close your mouth and breathe out of your nose, this activates your retro nasal perception
and allows you to perceive more flavor notes. Obviously, you will not be able to verbalize anything with a
mouthful of olive oil so it is wise to jot down your observations and taste experiences at this point. A
reasonable amount of solemnity is advisable for this ritual and it is best not to make eye contact with anyone,
or get the giggles.
As you swallow the oil and it goes down your throat, you will experience the pungency. This is a peppery
feeling and may make you cough. This pungency is an acquired taste and once you get used to it the
experience is stimulating and addictive – like eating hot chilies.
When you are ready for the next tasting, clear your palate with a slice of granny smith apple, and still or
sparkling water. Once you have experienced your first tasting, you will have activated your taste buds, and
with more practice you will find it easier to describe the various tastes.
Become a Gourmet
The next step is to do tastings combining food with olive oil. Invite some friends around and experiment with
different oils and foods. Simply cook some vegetables like potatoes or broccoli without too much flavoring,
bring some fresh tomatoes, basil, mozzarella cheese to the table, and add some delicious breads and sea salt.
Dip into olive oils and enjoy the fun of exploring your senses and become more discerning and perceptive in
your foodie adventures with family and friends.