Olive oil, not unlike wine, has always varied from country to country as well as the individual farms that grow and mill the olives. Actually in judging and tasting olive oil you use some of the same principles as wine tasting; colour (shades of gold and green) aroma, taste, and food pairing.
Some of Italy’s finest Extra virgin Olive Oil is produced at the Redoro farm estate in Grezzana, (north Verona, Veneto, Italy). Redoro has been producing oil for over 120 years; they have oil mills in Grezzana and Mezzane, both close to production sites (about 1000 producers send their best olives to Redoro mills); the mills work at capacity during the harvest months of October, November, and December.
Redoro produces very aromatic oil with an intense green colour (and shades of gold), it’s a sweet and full bodied olive flavor best used with bread or as a finish. The Line includes Italian Redoro 100%, Redoro Organic, Extra virgin Garda DOP and Extra virgin Veneto Valpolicella DOP*. Redoro shows the same love and passion for their products as the best vintage wine makers do for theirs.
In Toronto, I had the privilege of attending a Master Tasting class with Angelo Tramonti from Redoro. He instructed the class on how to smell, taste and sip Olive oil.
When taste testing, you don’t first look at the colour, as contrary to common belief, green does not necessarily mean robust and pale gold is not necessarily light in flavor. A connoisseur would use a dark blue tasting glass, so the colour wouldn’t influence his (or her) judgment.
First, you need a small glass; a liquor or shot glass would work.
- While holding the glass, cover it with your other hand and give it a little swirl, releasing the aroma.
- Now inhale deeply and consider the aroma, mild or strong?
- Now the fun part, slurp a bit, taking in the air with your slurp. You should be able to savor the flavor with just a small sip.
- Swallow the oil and be conscious of any sensation in the back of your throat. This is the way to evaluate the olive aroma for fruitiness, and you can determine the intensity of the oil’s pungency in your throat as you swallow.
Of the variety of oils ‘Extra virgin Olive Oil’ is the cream of the crop – it’s the juice from the first cold press, so called because it’s made by pressing the berries without heat or chemicals.
The more robust oils pair well with steaks and spicy soups. Olive oil has a high smoking point – 400 degrees – it can take the heat, which makes it perfect for cooking. The oils should be stored in a cool dark area (think fine red wine), and used within 6 months of purchase. One more point – look for the PDO* certification on the Extra virgin you purchase, it guarantees authenticity.
*Note: DOP is short for Denominazione di Origine Protetta, which translates to ‘Protected Designation of Origin’. DOP or PDO certifies that the products are produced, processed and prepared in a specific region using traditional methods and have the sensorial qualities attributed to that region.
Experiment with different oils; delicates are used as the condiment, as a bread dip, for salad dressings and mild foods like vegetables, fish, and eggs. At home we tried the Italian Redoro 100% on homemade Focaccia …. Better than butter!
Note: Photos and Recipes were provided by Green Seed Group NA.