Olive oil expert, Stephanie Lerouge from Eataly, has a few pointers on the right way to select olive oil.
Extra virgin olive oil has become an ever-popular ingredient around the world, known for its flavour and versatility, and often considered to have greater health benefits than other oils. The oil perfectly complements salad, fish, meat and pasta dishes. However, with so many options available in the market, it becomes difficult for the uninitiated to select the one best suited for their needs. That’s why, the CookeryPlus Team turned to the expert from Eataly, Stephanie Lerouge, regional F&B buyer, for some tips on how to select an olive oil.
According to Stephanie, you should have two types of extra virgin olive oil in the kitchen; one with a delicate and soft taste to pour on dishes such as fish, salads and mozzarella, and another more fruity and robust to pour on pasta, meat or raw ingredients.
She advises that olive oil should be tasted on its own, as one might for any other ingredient. Another crucial aspect is that you can perceive much of an olive oil’s characteristics through its smell. Here, she shares five important steps to tasting the flavour of an olive oil:
1. Pour a small amount of oil (around one tablespoon) into a small tapered glass.
2. Hold the glass in one hand and use your other hand to cover the glass while swirling the oil to release its aroma. Think about whether the aroma is delicate, herbaceous or strong.
3. Uncover the glass and inhale deeply from the top. Think about whether the aroma is mild or strong. You may want to write down descriptions of the aromas that you detect at this point.
4. Slurp the oil. This is done by sipping a small amount into your mouth while ‘sipping’ some air as well. When done correctly you will make a slurping noise. Slurping emulsifies the oil with air and helps to spread it throughout your mouth. This gives you the chance to savour every nuance of flavour with just a small sip.
5. Swallow the oil, noticing whether it leaves a stinging sensation in your throat.
Each step focuses on a specific positive attribute in the oil:
• By inhaling we evaluate the olive fruit aroma (fruitiness).
• By tasting it we further evaluate the aroma retro-nasally as well as determining the amount of bitterness on our tongues.
• Last, we determine the intensity of the oil’s pungency in our throats as we swallow it.
Follow these tips the next time you are out shopping for olive oil and incorporate this healthy oil in your daily diet!