Olive Oil Facts
How to Taste Olive Oil Like an Expert
THE LIMITATION OF TASTE AND THE POWER OF AROMA
The first step in learning how to taste olive oil is to understand how our senses work. Perception of flavor relies on both our senses of taste and smell. The ability to taste is actually quite limited; receptors on our tongue can only discern sweet, salt, sour, bitter and umami.
All other information that we think of as flavor is actually perceived by smelling food through the back of our nostrils (retro-nasally) while it’s in our mouths. Think about how little flavor we perceive when we have a cold - this is because we cannot smell food retro-nasally when we have stuffed up noses.
THE TASTE PROFILE
olive oil offers a palate rich in aromas, flavors and tastes. Some like it soft, others fruity, bitter, or sharp, round or fiery, reflective of each terroir and its producer. believes that all qualified good tasting olive oils fall into 1 of 2 taste profiles.
Grassy: (oils) tend to be characterized by vegetal notes like fresh grass, artichoke, tomato leaves or green apple.
Floral: (oils) leave a sweet, velvety impression of lightness, reminiscent of almond, milky, but also blended with fruity notes of citrus, fruit, pear and hazelnut.
When tasting an olive oil, the steps focus our attention on a specific positive attribute in the oil.
After you've evaluated the fruit aroma by inhaling from a glass, when the oil is in our mouths we further evaluate the aroma retro-nasally as well as determine the amount of bitterness on our tongues.
Finally, we determine the intensity of the oil's pungency in our throats as we swallow it.
Following is a slew of definitions we use to further categorize oils within the palate flavor profile.
We think it's important to contextualize the palate by suggesting food pairings and oil usage to further assist you in selecting the perfect oil for all your cooking preferences.
Typically, you will find our recommendations stem from the palate finish in terms of mild, medium and robust:
THE 5 PALATEQUESTIONS
Is the oil bitter? This is primarily sensed towards the back of the mouth.
Is the bitterness in balance with the intensity of the aroma?
When you swallow the oil how does it feel your throat?
Did the oil leave a mild impression, or did it sting your throat or make you cough?
Is the intensity of the oil’s pungency in balance with the oil’s aroma and bitterness?
Lighter oils tend to be buttery, mellow, delicate and soft; these pair excellently with light or delicate dishes such as fish, soups, vegetables, pesto, eggs and potatoes.
Medium, slightly more robust oils generally have a grassier and more complex taste profile. These oils have a peppery finish and are great with steak, bruschetta, tomato sauces, pasta, and any dish where you want to cut through and brighten up the flavors already present.
Robust oils, made from olives that are picked when they are primarily green, tend to have a more assertive and peppery flavor, generally with notes of green tomato vines, green tomato leaf and green apple skins.
Full-flavored, more robust dishes made with red meat and tomato-based sauces, as well as hearty stew, even steamed vegetables and salads, may be better with these fruitier, more flavorful oils.
The Palate Terms:
BITTER: considered a positive attribute because it is indicative of fresh olive fruit
BUTTERY: creamy, smooth sensation on the palate
FRESH: good aroma, fruity, not oxidized
HARMONIOUS: balance among the oil’s characteristics with none overpowering the others
PEPPERY: stinging sensation in the throat, which can force a cough
ROUND/ROTUND: a balanced, mouth-filling sensation of harmonious flavors
SPICY: aroma/flavor of seasonings such as cinnamon, allspice
Vitamins can be divided into the fat soluble and water soluble varieties. Fat soluble vitamins, such as the ones found in olive oil, are generally not broken down by cooking.
They are stored in the liver and body fat for long periods so it is not essential to eat them with every meal. Cured whole olives have both water and fat soluble vitamins.
True Gold or Fool's Gold?
Choose premium olive oils from reputable providers and steer clear of counterfeits and deceptions
Whether it is sampled with crusty bread and cheese, or used liberally in cooking, there are so many ways to enjoy olive oil. The best choice is often extra virgin olive oil, which is made by crushing the olives soon after they are picked, in a process that involves no chemicals, heat or industrial refining.
The quality of olive oil production, especially this first pressing, is generally regarded as the most desirable, thanks to its low acidity, delicate but intense flavor and well documented health benefits. Indeed,
So what's not to like? When the olive oil you are buying is deliberately mislabeled or not the fine product that you expect, then that is a problem.
According to the UC Davis Olive Center Research, approximately 70% of the oils that were tested did not meet extra virgin standards.
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The Olive Oil Scam: If 80% Is Fake, Why Do You Keep Buying It? - Forbes
Vitamin E (a natural antioxidant):Olives have 1.6mg, or 2.3 IU (International Units) per tablespoon.One tablespoon provides 8% of RDA for vitamin E.
Vitamin K: The richest sources of vitamin K are green, leafy vegetables. One serving of spinach or collards, for instance, or two servings of broccoli provide four to five times the RDA.
The greener the vegetable, the higher the content, say the researchers, because the vitamin is associated with the chlorophyll. According to the USDA, vegetable oils such as olive oil are the second best source.
The New England Journal of Medicine concluded that a Mediterranean diet rich in premium olive oil cut the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Premium oil producers take this very seriously. For many of these producers, premium olive oil is not just a business it is a lifestyle.