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.
Balsamic vinegar has been exposed through the media lately as having a deceiving nature. Through this exposure we have discovered that there are many condiments that call themselves balsamic vinegar. The word Balsamic comes from the word balsam, which means restorative or curative. The process in which it is made is not the same as the process of making vinegar. Claiming there is only one kind of balsamic vinegar could be like saying there is only one kind of woman. As discerning consumers, it is up to us to check the credentials and background of the balsamic vinegar we choose to enjoy.
The original and true balsamic is made from white Trebbiana grapes pressed before they are fermented. This is called Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. The “must” produced from the pressed grapes is cooked and then stored in casks for many years. This long, slow, and expensive process produces a superb culinary condiment that has many useful qualities as well as delighting the palate. This balsamic vinegar has an intensity and smoothness that are revealed when combined with different foods, such as steak, eggs, and seafood. Like an exquisite mysterious woman, a touch of this balsamic vinegar reveals the hidden flavors of any meal. Drizzled over berries and fruit or ice cream, it creates a delectable taste experience. Look for the distinct bulb shaped bottle of 100ml in specialty shops if you want to delight your senses and improve your constitution.
The commercial grade balsamic vinegar takes two months to three years to mature and is more affordable. These vinegars are of a high quality and are more readily available. There are many different varieties and have excellent flavors. They have an indefinite shelf life, however, once you have tasted these condiments you will begin to experiment and discover their versatility. They are healthy, nutritional and playful. These balsamic vinegars add zest and freshness to food and promote healthier eating by enhancing and complimenting the flavors of meat, fish, vegetables and salads. These include white and dark balsamic vinegars in a variety of flavors.
There are also false balsamic vinegars which range from the delicious to the toxic. The trend has been to flavor vinegar with caramel and flavorings. We buy these and enjoy them for their pseudo flavor artificial, unhealthy and fleeting as it may be. They may tickle the taste buds, however the only value would be to encourage people to eat more salads. The discerning consumer would not consider this product. One who has tasted the richness of the true balsamic will instantly know the difference. Balsamic vinegar has a delectable, heavenly flavor. Used sparingly as it works well on any cuisine. It is your choice, don’t be fooled by clever packaging and snappy advertising. Ultimately it is your discerning palate, responsive taste buds and the soft contented glow that surrounds you after a meal that is the true test of an exceptional Balsamic Vinegar.
The health benefits of extra virgin olive oil are endless. The advantages range from reducing risk factors of illness to being an alternative to unhealthy fats and oil. Not only is extra virgin olive oil good for your health but it also tastes great on salads and other foods. There is no excuse not to have this Mediterranean secret in your home, especially the wide range of delicious extra virgin olive oils to choose from.
But, what makes extra virgin olive oil so incredible? Scientists have discovered that because the polyphenol content in olive oil is so extensive it functions as an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory as well as provides essential nutrients to your body. If this isn’t enough to convince you that you need olive oil in your life here is a list of health benefits that are bound to get you excited!
Benefits of extra virgin olive oil:
- Olive oil is rich in antioxidant nutrients which helps to remedy the damaged hearts of cardiovascular patients. Furthermore, because olive oil is also rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients it actually works to lower the risk of heart disease overall.
- Just by adding one or two teaspoons of olive oil daily to your diet you will be providing your blood vessels with vitamin E and beta-carotene. This allows your vessels to remain strong, and strong blood vessels mean that your risk of heart disease will be reduced.
- Olive oil intake has been linked to decreased blood pressure and decreased cholesterol. This is because out of all the oils, extra virgin olive oil is made up mainly of monounsaturated, omega-9 fatty acid – one of the more important fatty acids you will come across.
- Believe it or not, but research has found that this is the number one weight reducing ingredient to have in your home. Replacing unhealthy butter and oils with extra virgin olive oil will actually work in combating weight gain.
- Consuming olive oil as part of a balanced diet can prevent or delay the risk of getting diabetes, as the nutrients in the oil help to balance your insulin levels.
- The antioxidants in olive oil help to strengthen your immune system. This will help your body to become resistant to infections and illnesses.
- Research has shown that olive oil intake can prevent the risk of cancer. Oxidative stress causes the initiation of cancer, but the polyphenols (that act as anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in your body), help to lower the oxidative stress and has thus been pegged as cancer preventative.
- Research has also shown that olive oil intake can increase the formation of bone structure.
If these few benefits are not convincing enough then rest assured knowing that researchers are still discovering new health benefits of olive oil. In fact a recent research study discovered that consuming a Mediterranean diet will greatly improve your brain function, but only if olive oil is added!
Extra virgin olive oil not only has health-promoting properties but it is also tasty, even when dieting. This is definitely one ingredient that should be on your shopping list. At Lovin’ Olive we guarantee a healthy and delicious range of extra virgin olive oil for you to choose from. Treat your taste buds and your health to an array of the finest olive oil around.