As a bona fide foodie, you’ve attended vineyard tours, cheese samplings, and chocolate making courses. With friends or significant others in tow, you’ve likely experienced the joys of discovering foods in a social environment. If you find yourself sorely missing these culinary adventures, consider setting up an olive oil tasting! Whether via Zoom with friends or at home with your family, this innovative experience is sure to be a hit. As leading proprietors of gourmet olive oils and foodie gifts, the experts at Texas Hill Country Olive Co. share their secrets to creating a perfectly executed Texas olive oil tasting.
Why Taste Olive Oil?
While you likely use olive oil for cooking, drizzling, and dipping, you may not be maximizing your flavor experiences. By taking the opportunity to sample and taste an array of olive oils, you can discover new flavor profiles that you adore. You can also find combinations that you may not have previously considered. Much like tasting wine, tasting olive oil allows you to refine your preferences.
Like varieties of wine, olive oils fall in various categories of “body”: delicate, medium, and robust. Each olive oil harnesses a bespoke array of attributes and profiles, including bitterness, pungency, and fruity attributes. Texas Hill Country Olive Co.’s Extra Virgin Olive Oils are even made with various olives grown on-site at the company’s renowned Dripping Springs, Texas olive orchard. This gives each variety a distinct flavor profile, creating a unique tasting experience for olive oil without any additional flavor infusions. Thus, tasting olive oil can be a flavor adventure!
Set Up Your Texas Olive Oil Tasting
To successfully set up a fun olive oil tasting event for your immediate household, simply set up a time for tasting, and make it a family event. Check out different varieties of olive oils available and discuss taste profiles with your family to ensure that everyone’s preferences will be met. For virtual tastings, secure a date and time with desired participants. You can brainstorm flavors to include in the tasting together, or take charge, and send a required list for willing participants. You can also have the same olive oil packages sent to each member’s home, making this a truly memorable experience for participants.
Prior to the social distancing guidelines implemented as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas Hill Country Olive Co. hosted coveted property tours, complete with Texas olive oil tasting in the company’s charming tasting room. With farm-to-table lunch options on-site, the company offered a fully immersive social experience that took the coveted #1 spot on Trip Advisor’s list of “Top Things to Do in Dripping Springs, Texas.” Since the onset of COVID-19, Texas Hill Country Olive Co. has implemented various changes to ensure the safety of staff and customers. If you’re local to the area, you can safely pick up to-go orders of Texas olive oils. Additionally, the company offers easy-to-navigate online shopping, with free nationwide shipping on orders over $59. If you’re planning an olive oil tasting for a socially distant celebration, you can send beautiful olive oil gifts to participants.
Procure the Ingredients
With so many varieties to taste, the professionals at Texas Hill Country Olive Co. recommend procuring at least one traditionally delicate, medium, and robust oil, in addition to a few daring and unexpected varieties. The company offers a series of seven infused Texas olive oils, creating a wide variety of tastings. Flavor inclusions range from hatch green chile to blood orange and offer a surprising flavor journey that can inspire meal preparation.
Experts recommend tasting olive oils without the addition of other food or drink items, as to not compromise the taste. However, palate cleansers of plain bread and green apple slices are recommended between each tasting. You’ll undoubtedly be tempted to grab focaccia bread, vegetables, or maybe even whip up a quick pasta. If your tasting turns into a seven-course meal, consider it a success!
Taste Like A Pro
In order to maximize the tasting experience, experts utilize small blue glass bowls. This eliminates any bias that can be formed visually, impeding the tasting process. These bowls look like votive candle holders and can easily be found online. Alternatively, you can utilize bowls or small cups that you may already have, as long as they are close aesthetically. The experts at Texas Hill Country Olive Co., who operated countless olive oil tastings at their location prior to the pandemic, encouraged tasters to take a sip! While olive oil typically accompanies other ingredients in a dish or food item, people rarely consume it independently. Thus, if you find yourself somewhat apprehensive about the process, take a small sip, and enjoy the unencumbered taste of pure olive oil.
When tasting each olive oil, you should remember the four S’s of tasting: swirl, smell, slurp and swallow. These S’s will guide you through the experience of tasting and will allow you to maximize the breadth of knowledge you gain from each taste. First, pour one to two tablespoons of olive oil into your desired container. Place one hand around the bottom of the container to warm it, and gently swirl the oil to release the vivid aromas, while covering the top of the container with your other hand. This process is similar to wine tasting and generates excitement before the oil even hits your tongue.
Next, move your hand away from the top of the container, quickly and deeply inhaling the aromas. Capture the various smells and try to identify what images are conjured up as a result of the aromas. While drawing in air, audibly slurp a sip of the olive oil. While you may instinctively want to avoid making noise, slurping olive oil is the best way to heighten the flavor. As a tertiary benefit, it will undoubtedly bring lighthearted giggles into the process. Exhale through your nose and enjoy the taste. Finally, as you swallow the olive oil, pay attention to the mouthfeel, and sensations of the oil.
After completing these steps, you can take a bite of plain bread, or eat a slice of green apple. This will cleanse your palate and allow you to undertake the next sampling. Since most tastings can be inherently social, take the time to discuss your individual tasting experiences, feedback, and perceived tastes. You’ll be amazed at the different notes picked up by various individuals, and the in-person or Zoom conversation incited will surely be worthwhile.
Be Safe, And Have Fun
Whether your socially distant wine tasting is conducted in person, or via Zoom, have fun exploring your taste preferences. No matter your set up, budget, or knowledge base, setting up a Texas olive oil tasting is a fantastic way to bring people together through the love of food. Just follow the tips outlined by the experts at Texas Hill Country Olive Co., and you’ll be an olive oil connoisseur in no time!