Interested in learning more about the rich tastes and flavors of Italy? You'll enjoy this great beginner's guide to olive oil tasting.
Authentic extra virgin olive oil is a hot commodity – which is why so many recent headlines have been devoted to examining the items which actually hit the shelf at your local grocers. But while it may be difficult to determine counterfeit oils by examining their packaging – truly authentic EVOO has a mouthfeel and taste which is impossible to fake.
It doesn't take an expert to discern the difference between a high-quality extra virgin olive oil and... well, everything else. If you'd like to practice the art of olive oil tasting and learn to identify EVOO like a pro, these tips are a great way to start – and you can start now, without leaving your kitchen!
First, you'll need a glass, and some EVOO. We recommend pouring a few different types, for comparison.
What characteristics should you be looking for?
On pour, you'll notice that fresh, authentic EVOO will vary in color from golden yellow to dark green. Avoid very pale or coppery oils, as these indicate the oil has been diluted with inferior oils, or oxidized in the bottling process (both of which will detract from the quality and flavor).
Notice the aroma of the oil, as these are a critical part of its flavor. Warm your glass between your hands, and swirl and sniff before tasting it.
The scents and flavors of fresh, authentic extra virgin olive oil depend on the specific olive varietals and grove in which the fruits were grown – but when practicing olive oil tasting, we generally seek the following positive notes:
There are a few flavors which reveal oil of inferior quality, and should be avoided at all cost. These flavors are:
Now that you know what to look for (and what to avoid!) when olive oil tasting, you're well on your way to becoming an EVOO aficionado! Check out the video below, to follow the Bellucci tasting process from start to finish – and savor the fresh Italian flavor of authentic extra virgin olive oil.