How to recognize the “True” Extra Virgin Olive Oil – some easy sommelier tricks

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Without any doubt the Extra Virgin Olive Oil is one of the bedrocks of Italian cuisine.
It lends taste and flavor to many dishes whilst simultaneously being healthy and full of nutrients.
It’s also a very simple food because it’s produced by pressing whole and fresh harvested olives in local oil-mills.
This is the only “True” Extra Virgin Olive Oil, everything else is pale imitation!

You don’t need to be a sommelier to understand the quality of a good Extra Virgin Olive Oil!

Here some easy tips for a home tasting session:
The only things you need are a glass and, of course…the Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

1. Shake it!
A good olive oil has not to be very fluid. It might seem weird but it’s important to check what happens when you shake the extra virgin olive oil.

HOW? Pour some extra virgin olive oil into a glass and gently shake it, if the fluidity is high means that it’s probably mixed with other seed-oils.

2. Smell it!
If you sniff the olive oil you can easily ascertain its quality. A strong smell of olives or even scents of vegetables, fruits or herbs are the fundamental features of the best extra virgin olive oil.

HOW? Hold firmly your olive oil glass and warm it up with one hand. Gently shake it.
With the other hand cover the top of the glass. After a minute or two, uncover the glass and bring it close to your nose. Smell it.
If you repeat this gestures two or three times you can discover more scents and aromas.

3. Taste it!
It’s time to exercise those taste buds!
In the mouth you should perceive the olive oil flavors:
Amaro (bitter), this aroma comes from a little raw olive
Fruttato ( fruity ): this aroma invokes the smell and taste of fresh fruit.
Piccante (spicy ): this aroma is derived from olives that have been harvested at the beginning of the harvest time.

HOW? Taste the olive oil by pouring some drops of olive oil onto pieces of unsalted bread, such as Tuscan bread. Try to suck quickly the olive oil in your mouth. This helps to “nebulise” the olive oil and target the taste buds in the back of the mouth, where all the aromas are perceived.

The color

The first thing noticed when looking at the olive oil is its color, but despite what you might think, this is not an especially important characteristic, largely as this element does not really say anything about the quality of the olive oil.
The color of the olive oil depends on many other factors: soil composition, olive maturation process and pressing process.
You can use a colored glass to avoid any risk of being unduly influenced by the color!

But there’s a much more entertaining way to discover the qualities and the flavors of Extra Virgin Olive Oil!

With Italia Sweet Italia Experience Breaks you can organize your tailor made holiday in Abruzzo and choose a visit to an ancient olive oil mill. Giovanni and Elio, the owners of olive oil mill “La Selvotta”, will explain the secrets of olive oil production, and after a tour of olive groves you’ll have the opportunity to assist with the olive oil production process. Finally you’ll have tasting session with their sublime olive oil.
Find out more on our website!

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