After spending a few weeks exploring the food culture of the Ascoli region on my own, it was finally time for an organized olive oil tasting. We traveled as a group of 28 total, a way I personally would not suggest traveling in Italy, up to Offida, which took around 40 minutes by bus. At Offida, we were directed towards Spazio Vino, an enoteca (wine bar) for our olive oil tasting.
We were taught the proper technique to tasting olive oil in class earlier during the week so we were well prepared to make loud sucking-in noises and for that to be widely accepted. We were given two different types of olive oil and through our taste test, we were to determine which was of higher quality. Usually done in a blue circular glass, the first step is to warm the olive oil inside of the glass in your hand. After, you are supposed to inhale the olive oil one nostril at a time, as shown below, to take in the aromas. After taking in the aromas, take a small amount of olive oil in your mouth and suck back air intentionally through your teeth, making the olive oil spray to the back of your throat. The first olive oil (the blended one of lower quality) did not give much of a kick when spraying into the back of the throat, whereas the extra-virgin olive oil had an intense pepperiness. This pepperiness almost stings the back of the throat when inhaled properly.
In comparing the two, the extra-virgin olive oil had an aroma and a taste that was much more full and complex. Olive oil is the primary fat in the Mediterranean diet, and a good fat at that! Many people obsess over low-fat, no-fat fad diets, but in reality fat is a very important part of staying healthy! Especially mono and polyunsaturated fats, the type of fats found in olive oil.