A tasting is the organoleptic evaluation
of the product. It is a description that comes from the smell-taste sensations that the oil gives out. One of the positive qualities oil has is fruitiness, which
is defined as the collection of sensations characteristic of the oil -
depending on the variety of olives - that are similar to healthy and fresh,
unripe or ripe fruit and perceived directly or through the nose.
The tasting or organoleptic assessment is
performed by a panel consisting of at least eight people. These people, who in
our case are from this region, undergo training until their senses are able to
identify these different attributes. Several weekly tastings are held
where different oils coming from registered entities are evaluated in a
location conditioned for that purpose and with the appropriate materials.
No, that is why a blue glass is used to
ensure colour does not influence the process, as colour is not a parameter that
defines quality. Also we should know that all extra virgin olive oil get more
yellow with time.
A study by the University of Granada (Spain)
has shown that frying vegetables in Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the technique
that produces greater increases in associated phenols. The consumption of these
antioxidants prevents chronic diseases like cancer or diabetes.
That is because a transfer of
phenols occurs from the EVOO to the vegetables. In this way, vegetables are enriched
with exclusive phenolic compounds in olive oil that are not naturally present
in fresh vegetables. The study, published in the journal Food Chemistry,
intended to check what cooking technique improves the antioxidant capacity and
the content of phenolic compounds in vegetables such as potatoes, pumpkin,
tomatoes and eggplant, typical of the Mediterranean diet.
Among its other components, olive oil also
contains a high proportion of triglycerides and monounsaturated fatty
acids, among which oleic acid is abundant.
In its natural state, these components
present a liquid state which remains stable until its temperature drops to approximately 4 ºC. Having reached this point, they tend to solidify
endowing the oil with a murky and whitish appearance, especially at the bottom
of the packaging that contains it, where small lumps or little pearls begin to
appear. This normal behaviour does not, under any circumstance, undermine
the quality of the oil nor does it alter its organoleptic properties.
In fact, in some countries such as France
the custom is to preserve a small amount of olive in the fridge to spread it on bread,
as if it were butter, once it has hardened.
Olive oil tastes best when it is fresh. Think of olive
oil on a freshness continuum that goes from just-made, harvest-fresh at one
end, to completely rancid at the other. How long it takes an olive oil to go
from one end of this freshness continuum to the other depends on many factors:
storage temperature, exposure to air and light, and the amount of natural
antioxidants in the olive oil in the first place. All olive oils, even the
finest ones, will get rancid eventually.
This is why you must never hoard olive oil: use it and
enjoy it. Waiting for a special occasion to use your good olive oil? How about
The sad truth is that most people in the US and
Canada, for example, are accustomed to the flavour of rancid olive oil.
Olive oil is no longer an occasional presence in the
kitchen so it is time to change that. A good image for many people is the smell
of crayons. Another helpful item—something that almost everyone has tasted—is
rancid nuts. Rancid is fat gone bad, something all of us have encountered at
some time. On a rancid scale of 0 to 10, almost everyone will notice a 9
or a 10. The trick is to develop the confidence to pick out rancidity when it
is a 5, or a 3, or lower. The flavor of rancidity in olive oil is usually
accompanied by a greasy mouthfeel; in fact, the greasiness often is noticeable
Go to your cupboard and pull out the olive oil. How
old is it? Is there a “Best By” date? Generally that date is two years from the
time that it was bottled. Unfortunately, that doesn’t tell you when it was
harvested and milled. A harvest date is the most reliable indicator
since it tells you when the olive oil was actually made. Sniff it.
Taste it. Crayons? Putty? Old peanuts? Don’t feel bad
about throwing out old olive oil, feel good about it! Don’t be surprised if the
purge of your pantry includes not just old olive oil but things like old whole
wheat flour (which gets rancid because of the oils in the wheat germ), crackers
Fustiness is caused by fermentation in the absence of
oxygen; this occurs within the olives before they are milled. This is why it is
so important for olives to be processed into oil within as short a time as
possible after harvest. Olives left to sit in bags or piles for even a few
days will produce fusty olive oil.
And what does fusty smell and taste like?
Unfortunately, the answer for a lot of people is “olive oil.” For many people fusty flavors in olive oil are the norm.
Good olive oil smells like fresh green or
ripe olives, and that the smell I always associated with olive oil was in fact
the smell of fermented olives. It’s difficult to come up with a single
descriptor for the fusty smell, but here are some things that might help:
sweaty socks, swampy vegetation, or too-wet compost heap. A good way to taste
an example of the fusty defect involves table olives. Look through a batch of
Kalamata-style olives and see if you can find any that are not purple or
maroon-black and firm, but instead are brown and mushy. Eat one. THAT is the
flavor of fusty.
Rancid and fusty are by far the most common defects of
olive oil. Occasionally you may run into a winey-vinegary defect. That is
caused by fermentation with oxygen, and can be reminiscent of vinegar or nail
polish. Another defect that crops up once in a while is musty. Caused by moldy
olives, it tastes of dusty, musty old clothes, or the basement floor.
Most oils, if unopened and stored in a cool dark
place, will still be good for up to two years, but they steadily lose the fresh
fruitiness that you want in olive oil. Greener harvest, robust olive oils will
keep better than delicate ripe ones because of the higher content of compounds
called polyphenols in greener oils. You can recognize the presence of these
polyphenols because they contribute pepperiness and bitterness to the flavor of
an oil. If an oil is delicate and soft, made from ripe olives, then you will
want to use it quickly, within six months or a year at the most.
Start with freshness. Look for dates on olive oil
bottles, you will see that Vezorla has the harvest year, bottled date and best
before date. Try local producers if you are lucky enough to live in an area
where olive oil is made. Learn as much as you can about the grower, we at
Vezorla are open to answer any question you have.
Whenever possible, taste before you buy, feel free to
call us and we could arrange your tasting options. And if you open a bottle and
find that it’s rancid, return it to us. An ethical producer will do everything
they can to get a quality product to you, but they lose control once the bottle
is out there in the distribution chain that is why Vezorla is bottled at the mill
and comes straight from the mill to Calgary so there is
not middleman involved. Buy from people you trust.
By paying more attention to the flavors of olive oil,
and experimenting in your kitchen and at the table, you will discover the
amazing diversity of this wonderful food. Let knowledge and experience embolden
you; damn the crocodiles — full speed ahead!
A tablespoon of olive oil contains 120 calories, 14
grams of fat, and no cholesterol. Virgin olive oils also contain the
antioxidants beta-carotene and Vitamin E, as well as the phenolic compounds
tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol.
Extra virgin olive oil has a maximum acidity of 0.8%
and can have no defects. Virgin olive oil can have acidity up to 2.0% and
a median of defects between zero and 2.5 in a tasting by a trained panel. In
other words, extra virgin olive oil tastes better and is healthier for you. But
virgin olive oil is still better than other cooking oils and can cost less than
Olive oil packaging usually shows a ‘best by date’ but
a ‘harvest date’ is a better indication of its age. Why Because a producer can
keep oil in a tank for years before he bottles it (and the best by date is 2
years after that). The harvest date tells you when the fruit was crushed. So
look for a harvest date if you can find one and make sure it’s fresh —
harvested no more than a year ago is ideal.
Cold pressed’ is a marketing term with little meaning.
Most olive oils these days are not pressed but extracted in a centrifuge. And
no one has ever defined ‘cold’ for the labeling term. So ignore it and look for
other label indications like a harvest date to base your selection on.
Fusty- Fusty taste specific to oil due to the piling
up of the olives which causes an advanced degree of anaerobic fermentation.
Musty-humid - Characteristic flavour of oil from
olives in which large numbers of fungi and yeasts have developed as a result of
storage for several days in humid conditions.
Muddy sediment- Characteristic flavour of oil that has
remained in contact with sediment in vats and/or tanks.
Winey-vinegary- Characteristic flavour of certain oils
reminiscent of wine or vinegar.
Metallic- Flavour reminiscent of metals. It is
characteristic of oil that has been in prolonged contact with metal surfaces
that are not stainless steel, which transfers abnormal flavours and aromas to
the oil, during crushing, mixing, pressing or storage.
Most health-conscious people are aware that there are
several types of fats: saturated fats (bad fat, derive from animals)
trans fats (bad fat)
polyunsaturated fats (good fat, derive from plant sources)
fats (good fat, derive from plant sources).
Plant-based fats, especially Omega 3 fatty acids, are
actually good for you and help stabilize heart rhythms and prevent disease in
the body, such as heart disease and cancer. This is well-documented in a wide
array of studies. Of the plant-based cooking oils, olive oil fat and canola oil
fat are excellent sources of monounsaturated fats (including Omega 3 fatty
acids). They contain low amounts of saturated fats. They also contain
polyphenols and polyunsaturated fats, including linolenic acid, all of which
are hailed as beneficial to overall good health.
It is a little known fact that more than 80 percent of
all canola grown today derives from genetically modified (GM) plants.
In contrast with GM corn and GM canola, 95
percent of the olive trees in cultivation today are situated in the
Mediterranean region, and most varieties are not likely to be genetically