Olive Oil Tasting?! Yes, just like wine tasting, olive oil tasting is actually a thing and there are many trained testers around the world who dedicate their life to this craft. Prior to coming here, Tien (acornerkitchen) and I did not have any expectations nor we wasn’t sure what we are supposed to do at the tasting at all. The reason for the event was because there is a new Flavor Your Life campaign – supported by the European Union and Italy – to explain the importance of 100% Italian Olive Oil. For the event, the campaign have partnered up with Buca and Redoro Olive Oils – which is one of the only certified producers that the European Union and Italy have agreed to partnered with.
Some info about Redoro Olive Oil:
- For Redoro Olive Oils, they have been producing 100% Italian extra virgin olive oil since 1895. They only used Italian Olives from Verona and there are no GMO’s.
- The oil produced at the mill is very aromatic, has an intense green color with shades of gold, and a sweet full-bodied and fragrant olive flavor, that allows it to be tasted on bread or used to dress any dish.
- The olives are hand picked and rigorously selected. The fruits are cold pressed using the artisan method and Redoro uses only the first cold pressed batch of olive oil.
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is made by pressing without heat or chemicals, known as first cold pressed, it’s the freshly pressed juice of olives.
- The olive oils are tested by a panel of expert tasters trained by the International Oil Council. If the oil doesn’t have the signature fruity taste and harmonious balance, it won’t pass as extra virgin.
- In general the impact on the taste of olive oil is from the region, time of harvest and type of olive tree.
- PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) certified products must be produced, processed and prepared in a specific region using traditional production methods and have the sensorial qualities attributed to that region.
- PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) certified products means that one stage of the process occurred in a specific region.
As the night went on, we were instructed to take a sip of the olive oil from the little blue glasses that resembled candle-holders. Don’t be afraid of tasting straight up olive oil! A little sip won’t hurt you and it will actually allow you to recognize different characteristics of the oil without the complication of other flavors.
For the tasting, plain bread were provided to help enhance different flavor notes of the oil. Whereas water and granny smith apple slices were for cleansing the palette in between samples. We sampled the top 3 olive oils on the list and the host patiently explained the differences of each one.
Olive Oil Tasting – How to’s:
- Cover the top of the glass to trap the aromas inside, swirl the glass and warm it up. Stick your nose into the glass and take a good whiff of the aroma of the olive oil. You may notice a grassy or fruity smell, or other aromas of the olive oil.
- Slurp (don’t be shy and make sure you make a slurping noise!) and ensure the oil coat your entire tongue until it reaches the back of your mouth. Take notes of the flavor of the olive oil.
- Dip a piece of plain bread into the same olive oil that you just tasted and notice how the flavors interact with each other.
After the tasting session, we were presented with some of the signature hors d’oeuvre by Buca. The thin-crusted pizza were done to perfection with a lovely light tomato sauce. The heat of the pizza warms the burrata without truly cooking it, thus provide the pizza with a creamy and cheesy topping. The flavor of the curds had just a very subtle tang and the texture of the cheese was incredibly smooth.
These bread balls were so simple yet so good. Nicely seasoned with rosemary and a touch of sea salt. The garlic wasn’t overwhelming either.
I forgot to take picture but the olive ascolanes (fried olives stuff with sausage) came out piping hot with a nice crispy breading.
Compared to other dishes we had that night, I felt this dish was the weakest as it wasn’t as flavorful, despite having anchovy or parmesan as the toppings.
I normally don’t like eggplant but oh boy, these were absolutely delicious. They were lightly breaded with a vibrant preserved tomato and topped with creamy fresh burrata.
Light and simple, the fish was thinly sliced and jazzed up with lemon and rosemary – the flavors did not overwhelm the delicate sea bream at all.
Olive oil gelato didn’t make sense to me at first. Would it taste oily? Is it refreshing? Is Buca out of their mind for making this gelato?
Turns out, the gelato was freaking-ly delicious. It was rich but somehow still refreshing, and it also had a subtle fruitiness and grassiness taste to it. I think out of all the dishes we had that night, this gelato really showed how a good olive oil can make a difference to a dish. To ensure the gelato doesn’t taste oily, the key is to use a good quality, full-bodied olive oil to bring out the oil’s natural character.
Overall I thought the olive oil tasting at Buca with Redoro Olive Oils was super informative. I admit, I did not know much about olive oil before and now I gained a whole new respect for an authentic Italian 100% olive oil! Coming soon to Canada this fall, Redoro will be available at selected Costco stores where you will be able to sample and learn about the different oils. Once the brand is established in Canada, they hope to expand further into large grocery stores!
Disclaimer: While the food was provided by Buca, I am not obliged to publish a review on the business. All opinions/thoughts are my own. For more information about my review policy, please click here.