Like other famous foods and drinks, fine Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a special taste that is all its own. Its characteristic taste is one of the great benchmark flavours of the world. It is also one of the most unforgettable. It is on a par with great taste sensations like French cognac, Leatherwood honey, and Scotch whisky.
Good olive oil has a strong taste – a balance of fruitiness, pungency and bitterness. It blends with other flavours in cooking, and improves them. It imparts its own flavour with bread or on salads. Because of its strength and bitterness, few people like Extra Virgin Olive Oil neat. A decent olive oil will take your breath away, and probably make you cough if you sip it. But if you try Your Olive Oil as an aperitif, and savor its aroma, you will find its strong taste delicious.
Your Olive Oil puts the final finish on the taste of food. It provides its own unique taste sensations. This is why olive oil is so highly valued, and it is no accident that human beings have had a 10,000 year love affair with olives. Olive oil in the kitchen is like the most popular person at a party. It is good because it is natural, because it is pure, because it is the juice of a fruit, because it is alive, because it is a good mixer. It improves taste by moistening and enriching food.
There is no single ‘correct’ taste for a good olive oil. Of course good olive oil is always savoury, with some pungency and bite. It is never sweet. Some afficionados like bitter, peppery oils, while others choose delicate, fruitier oils. Some like oils infused with different flavours, while others prefer the pure olive taste. Taste is subjective and individual. This is actually reflected in olive oil judging. Nobody likes oil that is rancid, musty, fusty, muddy, vinegary, sour, or metallic – and these are the faults that judges look for. When there are no faults, the positives can speak for themselves.