Extra virgin olive oil is a fruit juice. If we try the olive straight from the tree we can experience all the sensations we would find in the oil, and that fruit is bitter! Tasting is the most effective experience if we want to understand what an olive fruit juice is.
In order to choose the olive oil to use in our food we must trust our senses, in particular our sense of smell and taste. Quality oils give off a perfume that has vegetable touches that recall grass, almonds, artichokes, tomatoes and other plants.
A taste test should give us sensations of bitter and spicy, that vary in intensity based on the type of cultivar.
Our task as aware consumers is ambitious. We need to know and choose the kind of olive oil that is best suited to a specific food and that is an interesting challenge. Our pantries should not just have one olive oil that we use for every kind of dish, but rather we need the right product type to match the food in question so that its sensory characteristics are in harmony with what we are eating at the moment.
Consider wine. No one would drink structured red wine with boiled fish. It is impossible to think of having a single wine that perfectly matches everything in our diet. Who could imagine a restaurant that had only one wine to offer us on their menu? Well, olive oil should be considered in the same way. The different types can form formidable alliances that enhance both our food and the oil itself.
So at home, like in restaurants, we must begin to think of the multiple possibilities and demand our right to choose. Olive oil offers us this opportunity and this responsibility. Know, compare and choose accordingly.
[…] In order to ensure quality, we must taste (whenever possible!) before we buy. For this reason, I recommend specialised locations and contexts that guarantee this possibliity, such as olive producers, olive-presses, olive oil shops, and specialist shops and restaurants that have tastings and/or olive oil menus. Purchasing and consuming a quality EVO olive oil is a gesture that enriches our dishes and lengthens our lives.
Nicola di Noia, taken from “Il Raccolto dei Racconti”