We often hear about wine "sommeliers", but did you know that another figure has become more popular in recent years? It is the sommelier of extra virgin olive oil.
To become a professional olive oil taster there are specific training courses, for example the one taught by O.N.A.O.O. (National Organization of Olive Oil Tasters).
But don't worry, to taste and understand if an extra virgin olive oil is of good quality, you don't necessarily need to be an expert on the subject!
Here are some simple tips to follow that will help you understand the quality of the olive oil you are enjoying.
Get a simple glass or plastic cup, pour 2 teaspoons of oil inside, and you're ready to go!
First step: watch it!
Two things are to be evaluated first: the color and the fluidity. To do this, run the oil over the sides of the glass.
The color must be in shades of green, which indicate a young and fresh harvest. If, on the other hand, it is more similar to yellow, it is an oil of poor quality.
The fluidity is medium-low: the precise degree depends on the variety of olive used (rasara, leccino, coratino, etc.). Usually a low fluidity means low content of polyunsaturated fats, typical characteristic of seed oils.
Finally, you can observe the clarity: this depends on the filtration process, whether it took place or not.
Second step: smell it!
Before smelling it, the olive oil should be heated with your hands.
It is very simple: put the glass on the palm of your hand, and slowly rotate it.
After a few seconds, the oil will have warmed up (about 28 °). Thanks to the heat boost, all the aromas are released. It's time to smell it!
The most persistent smell will be the characteristic one of the olive, of course. You can repeat the operation, to feel all the different characteristic hints. A couple of times should be enough.
What other perfume can you smell besides olive? They can be varied: they usually smell the almond, the artichoke, perhaps a slightly spicy note at the end. You should only feel fresh scents, which refer to herbaceous, vegetable and floral aromatic notes.
If you don't smell much, it is a low quality olive oil.
Third step: taste it!
Take a small drop of olive oil and distribute it for a few seconds throughout the mouth, being careful not to ingest it (not yet!). After it has come into contact with all the taste buds, inhale air from the mouth.
This step allows you to vaporize the oil and all its aroma.
You will feel bitter, sweet, sour, salty and spicy. Also note how it "slips" pleasantly into the mouth. Now you can ingest it and enjoy the hints that persist in the mouth.
A good extra virgin olive oil persists in the mouth even after tasting, with a pleasant, fruity and fresh flavor. If, on the other hand, a very bland taste remains, it is a poor quality olive oil.
After evaluating these aspects, focus on the persistence and pleasantness of these sensations. How long do they last? You will find that compared to generic oil, extra virgin olive oil has a pleasant gustatory length that is not limited to a single monotonous scent, but becomes a blaze of the aromatic kit that composes it!