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Tasting extra virgin olive oil

June 20, 2021 Tags: 0 comments
At Italyabroad.com we love extra virgin olive oil. I love extra virgin olive oil.

In my childhood memories, olive trees and olive oil come before vines and wine and not only because of the legal drinking age.

I loved to help my grandparents. I remember going with them in the olive grove, helping placing the net underneath the tree with my granddad on the tree and my grandma on the lower branches, while waiting for the olives to fall outside the net and put them inside. Then pretend to be “strong” and help my grandma to carry, I was actually slowing her down, the case to the tractor and going to the mill. At the time, the mills had big stone wheel that would crush the olives with the oil coming out of a tube. It was a joy for me to watch the green oil coming out, almost like something magical happening, and proudly celebrate the hard work with a few slices of bread with our oil.

Olive oil is very important for Italians, even more, if you were born in the centre/south. Olive oil wasn’t just for cooking, it was used to repair dry lips and alleviate sunburns and plenty of other “medical” purposes. Butter was only used as a spread on a toast with marmalade for breakfast. In the last decade, thanks to the advance in technology, the quality of olive oil has increased considerably. If, when I was a child the mill had a big stone in an open tank to press the olives, nowadays, in modern mills, olives are pressed in closed tanks as to prevent the oil getting in contact with oxygen and therefore preventing the process of oxidation, process that starts as soon as the oil get in contact with the oxygen and destroys all the good, healthy stuff.

But olive oil and in our case, extra virgin olive oil, is not “one”. Extra virgin olive oil is like wine, it is the final result of a process, and like for wine, each olive variety, cultivar in Italian, produces a different extra virgin olive oil and each one better suited for a specific use. Lighter, more delicate olive oils are better suited for delicate flavoured dishes, richer, more intense olive oils are better suited for richer, stronger flavoured food and true to my love and passion for extra virgin olive oil, I have been tasting olive oil from all over Italy with the aim of adding more to our range.

And tasting extra virgin olive oil is exactly like tasting wine, the oil is tasted using a glass, not on a slice of bread, and I have been tasting them blind, without knowing cultivar and producer, starting at 9am, soon after breakfast, finishing late in the evening and I can guarantee, it is a tiring job, I don’t know whether it is more exhausting tasting wine or oil.

Amongst the oils I have tasted, there are several we would be adding to our range, it will take us the next couple of months to finalise the choice and get them here in our warehouse but until then, check our olive oil guide and learn more about this fantastic and healthy food and get our map to discover all Italian cultivars.
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