Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is a natural, delicious, unprocessed and healthy oil that has been enjoyed for thousands of years. It is well known for its abundance of antioxidants and its ability to enhance health and longevity. In general, EVOO falls into one of the following categories:
Delicate: A delicate EVOO is made with olives harvested in the later stages of ripeness. The oil will have a smooth and buttery taste, you’ll notice a fruitiness in the nose, no bitterness at all, and a slightly peppery finish.
Medium: A medium EVOO is made with a combination of olives harvested in both the early and mid-stages of harvest. This oil offers a fruity taste, a grassy scent, and a peppery/spicy finish.
Robust: A robust EVOO offers bold flavor, a balanced bitterness, and a very prominent peppery finish. You’ll also enjoy a fruity scent to the nose with this oil.
All EVOO, regardless of category, possesses varying degrees of three prominent flavor characteristics, Fruity, Bitter and Pungent. Each characteristic is perceived through unique sensory receptors of the nose, mouth and throat. Each EVOO presents it own wonderful balance among these flavor characteristics. California produced olive oils offer an impressive, almost limitless, range of flavors – each inspiring unique culinary innovation.
• Fruity: having pleasant spicy fruit flavors characteristic of fresh ripe or green olives. Ripe fruit yields oils that are milder, aromatic, buttery, and floral. Green, younger fruit yields oils that are grassy, herbaceous, bitter and pungent. Fruitiness also varies by the variety of olive.
• Bitter: a positive flavor sensation that’s detected on the tongue – very specific taste receptors. More prominent in olives picked when green or just turning color. EVOO with a high polyphenol content, a natural occurring antioxidant, tend to be more bitter.
• Pungent: a pleasant peppery – picante – sensation in the back of the throat. Green, early harvest, olives tend to yield pungent oils that can cause a 1, 2 or 3 cough reaction when tasted. Don’t let the cough deter you; pungent oil can transform a dish from ordinary to extraordinary.