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Tasting Olive Oil: Does Yours Shine Alone?

Swirl. Sniff. Slurp. Repeat.

Much like the world of wine, there is much to know and enjoy about olive oil, from the varietal, origin, and year, to tasting notes, body, and aroma. You could spend a lifetime tasting and trying different producers from around the world. 

In this article, we share how to taste olive oil and why you should. 

In determining if an extra virgin olive oil is real, there are few hard and fast rules that actually work. Sure, you might have heard of the refrigerator test. Some sources report "real" EVOO will solidify, others say it won't. Or, perhaps you rest assured knowing the label said "extra virgin." 

Really, the two most reliable ways to tell if olive oil is real is to ask for the chemical analysis (lab report) or to TASTE. 

Your body KNOWS when it has good, nutritious, vital, alive food. Extra virgin olive oil is simply a cold pressed fruit juice. As such, it should smell and taste fresh, fruity, grassy, green, or earthy. It should DELIGHT your palate and also not leave you greasy or oily, be it in your mouth or on your skin. It should not taste dull, musty, tasteless, or rancid. (Compare to the taste of a bad almond or walnut, for example.) 

So, what's the proper way to taste olive oil?

SWIRL. SNIFF. SLURP. SWALLOW.

It amazes me how many people we meet at markets every. single. day. who have never tasted olive oil by itself, who are stunned by our presentation's lack of bread, or don't even attempt to finish a small spoonful.

Before you taste anything, does the oil come in clear or plastic packaging? Was it stored away from light and heat? These factors will significantly affect the quality of extra virgin olive oil and how quickly it declines. 

SWIRL. First pour the olive oil into a glass. Swirl the olive oil to release the aromas. Alternatively, you could pour a few drops in your hands and rub together vigorously.

SNIFF. Cup the glass or your hands to your nose and inhale deeply. A good extra virgin olive oil will have a pleasant aroma - again, earthy, green, fruity, grassy. 

SLURP. When you sip the olive oil, you want to open your cheeks wide and strongly draw the oil across your palate sucking in lots of air to showcase the most flavor. Breathe out through your nose. 

SWALLOW. Really be present with the details. Including not just flavor, but mouthfeel and body. Exhale through your nose to deepen the experience. 

We believe in taking the time to enjoy our food with mindfulness, to really savor each moment in life. We ask that you be the judge of what tastes best. 

For a sampling of Healthy Harvest extra virgin olive oils, find us here