Do you consider yourself an extra virgin olive oil connoisseur? If not, you have come to the right place. At Willow Creek Olive Estate, we have mastered a sampling method that allows you to discern the intensity of each oil’s unique characteristics when trying out our range.
Our extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) has different levels of pepperiness, fruitiness and bitterness, all influenced by the presence of natural-occurring antioxidants, namely polyphenols, that are abundant in EVOO. But how does one really distinguish between delicate, medium or intense EVOO?
We have simplified the process for you so you can savour our exquisite tasting set in the comfort of your own home. This set includes our 3 house blends, which are the Directors’ Reserve, Estate Blend and Nuy Valley Blends, and also 6 cultivar-specific EVOO’s – Coratina, Favolosa, Frantoio, Manzanilla, Mission and Koroneiki.
Getting back to basics
Firstly, you have to ensure that you have the right tasting glass. A glass with a rounded base will ensure that your hand’s temperature will warm the oil, which will unlock the oil’s unique flavour characteristics. Remember to enjoy an apple slice after each taste test. Apples contain lots of pectins, a natural fibre found in most plants, which helps to break down the oil barrier and cleanse the palate. A water biscuit will also do the trick.
After pouring a little bit of oil into your tasting cup, you can swirl the contents of the cup for a few minutes with one hand firmly on the base of the cup and one hand cupping the top. Every swirl unleashes the unique flavour profile of the oil. Go ahead, give it a whiff.
You will be able to deduce quite a bit from the smell of olive oil. If you pick up on some fruitiness or the smell of cut grass, then it’s a keeper. Ripe olives produce a deliciously delicate EVOO. On the other end of the spectrum, the scent of stale almonds or crayons should make you think twice about buying.
Colour and quality
Although the colour of olive oil doesn’t necessarily reveal much about its quality, it can reflect when the olives were harvested and how it was produced. The colour of the oil shouldn’t be too light, but it can vary when it comes to the colour itself. Light green, yellow or other moss-coloured variants are all quite common.
The most important tip is to take your time when it comes to trying out a new olive oil. As when tasting wine, you want to create an emulsion of air in your mouth by giving the oil a quick slurp whilst drawing in air through the corners of your mouth. This will give the oil’s aromatic molecules free rein up your nasal passage, thereby ensuring you experience all the flavours infused into that specific blend.
If you would like to try our Extra Virgin Olive Oil Gift Set 9 Pack to experience all that Willow Creek Olive Estate has to offer, you can purchase it here.