Friday, April 19, 2013


I attended an olive oil tasting at the Fairway Market on the upper West side.  It was held in their cafe.  First time going to this particular location.  I thought that it seemed so much smaller than the two I've already been to until I needed to take the elevator to the second floor to get to the cafe.  All of the organic goods are there along with other household needs.

Steven Jenkins is not only the cheese monger for Fairway, he is also responsible for choosing the olive oils of which Fairway Market has their own brands as well.  For this particular extra virgin olive oil tasting Steve chose six;  four from which were from France, a Fairway unfiltered Gata-Hurds from Spain, and one from Portugal called Cabeco das Nogueiras.

Hannah Howard was on board to assist with the set up.

A few other Fairway staff were assisting as well.

Each person was given a small plastic cup of olive oil placed in the same order as the olive oil setup at Steve's table.

A glass of sparkling wine, iced water and a plate containing two different cheeses, two pieces of breads, two pieces of an heirloom tomato, some arugula and three pieces of rare roast beef.  This way one could get a sense of how the olive oil tastes with various types of food.

It was then Steve's turn to speak about olive oil in general as well as each of the samples.  How to buy olive oil?  Look for the harvest date or sale by date.  The harvest date should not be more than a year and the sell by date should be no less than a year from the present date.  Check for the origin.

As an extra treat, one of the companies that produces a specially cured ham called Jabugo, gave out samples as well.  Is is one of the hams offered at the deli counters in Fairway Markets.

All was good.  Perhaps I will do a follow up on this.  Below is me and Hannah and me and Steve.

I continued by checking out an olive oil from California that was in a green bottle and had a harvest date.  How does one do an olive oil tasting? I got this information from a company called California Olive Ranch.

Begin by pouring the olive oil into a small glass; a colored, tapered glass similar to a wine glass is best. Cup the bottom of the glass in your hand to warm the oil; cover the top with your other hand and swirl gently to release the aromas.

Bring the glass to your nose and smell the oil. Take a note of the aromas. Next, take a slurp. As you do so, touch your tongue to the back of your teeth and inhale. This spreads the oil in your mouth and helps release the flavors of the olive oil. You’ll make a funny noise, which is normal! 

Finally, swallow the oil and take note of the flavors you experience.

Olive type – just as different grapes make different wine, different olives make distinct types of olive oil.  The olives are also impacted by weather and soil conditions

Harvest timing – early harvest oils tend to have ‘grassier’ flavors, while late harvest tend to have ‘buttery’ notes. Time between harvest and milling – the shorter the gap between harvest and milling, the more likely the oil will have a fresh flavor

Storage conditions – exposure to heat, light, or oxygen will negatively impact olive oil taste

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