Cooking and Tasting
Varied and always adjusted to each meal. Extra virgin olive oil may be compared to the wine we serve in a meal. Meat matches with red wine. Fish combines with white or green wine.
What about extra virgin olive oil? How may we better experience its taste?
Contrarily to wine, where harmony comes from contrast, the predominant rule is concordance.
Thus, in most meals the choice of the olive oil follows the harmony of the flavour and intensity of the food, except for the sweet foods when stewed such as beans that should go along with a bitter-spicy olive oil. Experts point out another exception: olive oil should assume the rule of discordance when used in acid or citrus foods.
In general, the use of extra virgin olive oil in food should be guided by:
• Vegetables: Green-flavoured olive oil;
• Meats: Season with spicy olive oil;
• Pasta: Smooth and sweet olive oils;
• Light meals: Almond flavoured olive oil;
• Sauces: Mild olive oil;
• Pastry: Light and neutral olive oil.
In more detail and according to the attributes and aromas of the olive oils we have:
• Ripe olive oils with a soft and sweet taste (almond flavoured) are ideal for meals prepared and served raw such as carpaccio or raw fish; suitable for light or sweet foods such as pasta, desserts, shrimp, lettuce or vegetables and the most appropriate for fatty foods such as cheese or meat. It is also ideal for foods like tomatoes, vinegars and citrus, respecting the rule of discordance.
• Fruity, intense and spicy olive oil. The intensity is in accordance to the food and appropriate for salty or cured foods such as fish, cheese, mushrooms, crustaceans, pizzas or strong aromatic and seasoned food.
• Young and fruity olive oil with a green colour that can be distinguished by a certain intense spicy flavour and it is most appropriate for bitter foods such as arugula, liver, artichoke or eggplant.
• Bitter olive oil. Ideal when combined with foods with an intense taste.
• Lighter and sweet olive oil. Appropriate for salads, vegetables and white meats.
Olive oil can also be used as a substitute for other fats in the confection of cakes and other sweets.
There is nothing better than trying it so we leave some simple, fast and delicious suggestions for any day of the week.
Orange with olive oil. Slice the orange. Season with salt flower, join some garlic finely chopped, sprinkle with some aromatic herbs to taste, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and enjoy.
Sweet orange. Slice the orange. Pour a drizzle of honey and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and finally sprinkle the orange with cinnamon to taste.
Tiborna - the Portuguese Bruschetta. Pour a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil over a slice of toasted bread, add salt or yellow sugar and it’s ready to be served. If you want to improve the recipe you can also add tomato diced into small cubes, garlic or ham.
Chocolate mousse. In your usual recipe replace the butter for 5 tablespoons of olive oil from Trás-os-Montes region, for it is medium fruity and slightly spicy. As a result, you will get your delicious chocolate mousse with an additional sparkle.
However, tasting is the best way to savour olive oil.
The tasting of pure olive oil is the only way to identify the attributes and qualities of each oil, because the acidity index and the source of the product are not guarantees that it will have a pleasant aroma and flavour.
In a tasting, the recognition focuses on the main attributes of olive oil, that is, if it’s a "fruity", "bitter" or "spicy" one. All positive qualities that differentiate and determine the individuality of each oil.
Through the sense of smell one may note a "fruity" attribute that expresses the intensity and type of aroma which can be associated with a fruit or a "green vegetable" aroma such as freshly cut grass, green tomato, green apple and also pear. As well as aromas of ripe tomatoes, red apples, artichokes, dried fruit and also traces of nuts and almonds.
By tasting it, one may note a “bitter" and a "spicy" flavour. The intense bitter taste is also indicative of the maturation stage of the olive which is more evident in olive oils made with young olive fruits and is also a characteristic of certain olive varieties. The "spicy" sensation is perceived in the throat and its greater intensity indicates that the olive oil contains a high concentration of phenolic components, the natural antioxidants of the olive.
The following steps reveal a simple way to taste olive oil:
Pour about 20ml of olive oil in a small glass.
Cover the glass with one hand and hold the bottom with the other for about a minute to warm up the oil, providing a better perception of the volatile compounds of the olive oil through the sense of smell which are responsible for its aromas;
Shake the olive oil carefully and in a circular motion;
Uncover the glass and inhale slowly and gently the aromatic nuances of the olive oil as well as its intensities;
Taste a small amount of the olive oil, distributing it harmoniously in the entire oral cavity; keep it for a short period of time in your mouth to experience the intensity of the "bitter" flavour and also the intensity and softness of the remaining flavours of the olive oil. At this stage it is also possible to measure the texture of the olive oil (fluid or dense) and to validate the aroma nuances perceived by the sense of smell;
Drink the olive oil. You’ll measure the "spicy" sensation in the throat area, an important attribute in the evaluation of the olive oil qualities.
Do you want to continue tasting olive oil?
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