EVOO tasting

How to taste an Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Oil tastings begin to position themselves with great success. Gourmet and lovers of good food find in Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) one of the most precious nectars, a product that has also called the attention of people starting to discover the world of gastronomy. Here is an introduction on how to do an Extra Virgin Olive Oil tasting.

Tips for tasting Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The fruit of the olive tree is the olive and from this you can obtain olive oil, virgin olive oil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The latter is considered the one of highest quality, it is composed of 100% olive juice, without defects neither in its aroma nor in its flavor.

Tasting means analyzing, appreciating, assessing a product from the senses, particularly smell and taste. Through the tasting, you can identify the qualities and defects of the product.

You don’t have to be an expert or dedicate yourself to professional tasting to analyze and determine the characteristics of an EVOO, although practicing constantly and having the possibility to try different oils will refine your senses.

Before starting the tasting, we suggest:

  • Avoid using perfume or scented soaps.
  • Avoid smoking at least one hour before tasting.
  • Use a green apple to clean your taste buds between tasting and tasting.
  • Have coffee cups to be the containers of the oil samples you will be trying if you do not have the special glasses.

Phases of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil tasting

The tasting of Extra Virgin Olive Oil consists of three fundamental phases: olfactory, gustatory and visual. Following this sequence, you can properly analyse the characteristics and organoleptic properties of the product.

We will focus on the first two since the visual phase is not particularly important in the quality of the oil. In fact, the glass cups that are used during professional tastings are intentionally cobalt blue.

Start by placing in each glass 15 to 20 ml (0.5 to 0.6 oz) of the oils, or oils, to taste.

Olfactory Phase

This is the first test and it is very important at the time of the final assessment.

Procedure: hold the glass between one of your hands and cover it with the other by gently shaking it for a few minutes. This will cause the oil to heat up. The idea is that it reaches 28 °C (84 °F), the ideal temperature for the volatile molecules or aromas contained in the oil to come off.

Bring the glass to your nose and inhale deeply. What aromas remind you or come to your mind?

Repeat this 2 or 3 times, respecting a few seconds of rest between inhalation and inhalation. Do not exceed inhalations to avoid olfactory fatigue.

Normally the aromas that are distinguished are from herbs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, aromatic herbs and even flowers. So you can easily distinguish the smell of paprika, artichoke, lettuce, mint, pepper, tomato, apple, almond or pine nuts, among others. Remember that human smell is considered to be one of the most complex and sophisticated sensory laboratories and, together with the sense of taste, can never be supplanted by another method of analysis.

Gustative Phase

In this phase you can confirm if the aromas perceived in the nose are present in the mouth. Furthermore, you can determine taste sensations that can result being sweet, bitter or spicy.

Procedure: insert a small amount of oil into your mouth. Do not ingest it, just allow your papillae and the entire oral cavity to be impregnated with the liquid.

Allow air to enter through your mouth; aspirate intermittently keeping your teeth closed and your lips slightly open. This makes the oil oxygenate in your mouth and your taste buds can recognize the flavours present in it more easily.

Nothing happens if you ingest a small amount of oil, but it is advisable to expel it.

The world of Extra Virgin Olive Oil is very broad and sophisticated. There are keywords and rating scales to use in each phase, here we only want to encourage you to explore it.

Currently, stores with gourmet products usually offer commented tastings, it is a good option to deepen your initiation. There are also good publications on the subject. But if you want to learn through experience, we invite you to participate in our gastronomic trips where you can enjoy a full tasting of top quality EVOOs.

We take you to the best frantoi, or oil mills, in Italy where you can learn about the whole oil production process. You will walk among olive groves, learn about the different varieties of olives and extraction methods while tasting internationally award-winning oils.

And if you are in the MICE sector or want to organize an original corporate event in the Eternal City, in Roma Gastronómica we offer you gourmet experiences with which you will surprise your clients or managers visiting the city.

Let us know how your first Extra Virgin Olive Oil tasting goes!

PHOTO: moment from our tasting of the best Flos Olei 2018 oils. This publication is a top reference within the Extra Virgin Olive Oil world and it gathers the best producers and experts of the sector.

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