12-20-2019, 07:31 PM
#1
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I got nice presents from my sister, a package of 3 Mediterranean olive oils from different countries and an assortment of honeys from various flowers.  Now I have to figure out how to taste test them for comparison.  Any suggestions?

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 12-20-2019, 10:13 PM
#2
  • Mel S Meles
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(12-20-2019, 07:31 PM)churchilllafemme Wrote: I got nice presents from my sister, a package of 3 Mediterranean olive oils from different countries and an assortment of honeys from various flowers.  Now I have to figure out how to taste test them for comparison.  Any suggestions?

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I cannot help you on the honey front (mild allergy), but as to the olive oil, there is no better method of comparison than tasting them neat, right out of the bottle.  We use a ceramic tasting "spoon," which is a bit smaller than a demitasse, for the purpose (and I also use it with olive oil to take my daily pill and supplements with breakfast:  minimizes the likelihood of something getting caught sidewise in my esophagus).  Pour somewhat more than a teaspoon, but not as much as a tablespoon, into the tasting spoon or cup, and sip directly.  

Terroir is at least as important to the taste and quality of olives as it is for the taste and quality of wine grapes. The most common California olive oil cultivar is Arbequina, which is also the most popular premium olive oil cultivar in Catalunya/Catalonia; but the Catalan olive oil tastes very different from the taste of California olive oil.  If your three samples of olive oil prove to be a gateway drug, I suggest as a next step up a single variety Arbequina oil from the protected (DPO or DOP) region of Siurana north of Tarragona. UNIO (brand) from that region has a very high value to price ratio.

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 12-20-2019, 11:29 PM
#3
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Thank you for the information and suggestions, they're very much appreciated.  My wife will be tasting with me, and she does not like olive oil by itself, so we'll need to add it to something.  I think we may get a French baguette and cut it into cubes to dip in the oils.  As you mentioned, I suspect this may indeed be a gateway drug experience.  I am not as fond of foods cooked in olive oil, but I really like the oil in other forms.  I lived for 6 months in Italy and became used to having lots of the oil every day.  I'm really looking forward to trying the Greek and Spanish ones.

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 12-21-2019, 05:01 AM
#4
  • Sully
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  • Cedar Park, Texas
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I would suggest tasting the honey from the lightest colored honey to the darkest colored.  In my (limited) experience the darker the honey the stronger the flavor.  I might use a toothpick to taste test the honey  so that you aren't introducing any other flavors.  Or use the left over baguette.  If you do use some type of edible carrier for the honey I would use the same carrier for all of the tastings that will insure that any flavors you introduce will be consistent.

Have fun!

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 12-22-2019, 11:10 AM
#5
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John,

I would try dipping nice crusty French or Italian bread in each of the olive oils.

As for the honey, I would try them out drizzled on Bree cheese pieces!

Vr

Matt

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 12-22-2019, 04:41 PM
#6
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Well, we did some tasting this afternoon, using a cubed French baguette.  Neither of us had done this before.
First we tried the olive oils: Italian Corotina ("rich, robust, spicy"), Greek Koroneiki ("bright, olive forward, peppery"), and Spanish Arbequina ("fruity, smooth, buttery finish").  I liked the Italian best.  It seemed the smoothest and brightest, with not a lot of "oliveness" and no spiciness that we could detect.  The Greek one definitely had more olive flavor and a pepperiness that grew with each successive bread cube; neither of us liked it as much as the others.  And the Spanish oil probably was the runnerup; while not very fruity, it was indeed buttery and smooth.
We're going to use all of them for salads dressings and on pastas, but the Greek oil probably will be used for cooking too.
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Next we tasted the honeys: Canadian clover ("light, delicate"), Ukrainian sunflower ("dry, not too sweet"), Mexican orange blossom ("fragrant, floral"), Argentinian eucalyptus ("herbal, with a hint of menthol"), American macadamia ("floral, nutty"), and Bazilian mimosa ("a bit nutty").  For both of us, the descriptions did not really apply.  Generally, the taste robustness, heaviness, and complexity increased with the increasing darkness of the honeys from the clover first to the mimosa last.  The clover tasted like regular generic honey.  The sunflower, very smooth and bright, was my wife's favorite.  The orange blossom definitely was floral in taste, although not really fragrant.  The eucalyptus didn't have any menthol flavor but was herbal and sort of smoky; neither of us liked it a lot.  And the macadamia and mimosa both were quite rich and nutty.  I preferred the macadamia over the others.
I think that when it comes to morning muffins or toast, she will use them starting on the left, and I'll probably start from the right.
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 12-23-2019, 03:40 AM
#7
  • Sully
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Thanks for the review.  I use bold or assertively flavored olive oil to finish a dish, I add it at the very end when the food is already plated.  This adds an extra dimension of flavor to the dish and by not cooking the olive oil it retains the heath benefits.

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 12-25-2019, 09:24 AM
#8
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(12-20-2019, 07:31 PM)churchilllafemme Wrote: I got nice presents from my sister, a package of 3 Mediterranean olive oils from different countries and an assortment of honeys from various flowers.  Now I have to figure out how to taste test them for comparison.  Any suggestions?

[Image: lrZ58FR.jpg]

Nice selection of olive oils.  We go through a lot of olive oil in our house.  Good, fresh crusty bread dipped in olive oil, lightly flavored with salt and fresh garlic, is awesome!

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