First Carlo discussed olive oil in general (a product, he reminded us, that is not made locally, due to climate). He discussed what to look for in extra-virgin olive oils, such as low acidity, and emphasized that one of the best bits of information to look for on the bottle is the harvest date – I know from experience that while there is often a “use by” date, I’ve almost never found a harvest date, and I have splurged on some pretty expensive oils. Some bottles have a date code, but you have to know how to figure those out; maybe I’ll remember to look online some day for a “key,” if there is such a thing for imported products (different for each country?).
Our tasting, which included 4 oils, started with the relatively mild WEC bulk Spanish oil, from Spectrum, and proceeded to Zoe, another Spanish oil (in a colorful can) that had a greener flavor, on to my personal favorite, the somewhat pungent Olio Beato (“blessed”) from the Apulia region of Italay, and, finally, to the Manzella e Iannello, an estate oil from Sicily. That was also quite good, a little more floral, to me, than the Beato.
We had a nice chart for rating each oil on color, aroma, flavor, texture, and finish. A little bread between each one was a nice palate cleanser to remove leftover oil tastes. At the end. Carlo gave us each a tiny bottle of Olave olive oil from Chile, pictured here, which I gather is a new family endeavor (the Momo brothers’s mother lives in Chile). I haven’t opened mine up yet, but I’ll bet it’s good. Bring on the tomatoes!