Watch Ryan show how to host an olive oil tasting in the video above, then follow the steps below to hold one for your guests in your own home.
D.I.Y. Olive Oil Tasting
Step 1: Set Up
Set out glasses to hold each of the olive oils for each of your guests--small white ramekins work great. Then choose your olive oils. Definitely choose at least one that you love, but also look for variation. Go for different countries of origin, different flavored olive oils and the like, but always get the most recent vintage so they're as fresh as possible. The one exception is throwing a rancid olive oil into the mix as a surprise (which I like to do ...).
Step 2: Sniff
Before you taste the olive oil, cup the glass in your hands to warm it a bit and release the fragrance. Then take a big sniff and see what kinds of scents you smell. Go around the table and have your guests share.
Step 3: Taste
After sniffing, go ahead and taste the olive oil. Take a decent sized sip and keep it in your mouth, then "aerate" the olive oil by holding it in your mouth while you breathe in and out through your teeth (you'll see me do this in the video). As silly as it seems, that heavy breathing actually brings out the full flavors in the olive oil. Then have everyone go around the table and share what they tasted. A tasting wheel can be really handy when looking for terms. You can buy the one we use, or get a free list of common descriptors here.
Repeat steps 2 and 3, sniffing and tasting, for each olive oil on the table. Green apple slices are a great way to cleanse your palette in between sips.
Step 4: Food
As lovely as olive oil is, people often like to have food along with the tasting. Seasonal fruit and vegetables are terrific to have on hand, as is simple roasted or grilled chicken, or even cubed bread.
Enjoy your tasting ... and come visit us at the Round Pond Olive Mill!