When I was in elementary school, I remember one day when the teacher explained the characteristics of the Mediterranean during geography class. Among the things that stayed with us, even just by visual evocation, was that it is an area where olive trees are the masters.
Our peninsula (Italy), in particular, with all the microclimates that compose it, has a variety of types of crops that most of us ignore and that offers everyone something that suits their personal taste.
It is no mystery that olive oil is a panacea for health. Rich in antioxidants, it slows down cell aging, strengthens the cardiovascular system by helping to prevent diseases such as arteriosclerosis, hypertension and high cholesterol, and has anti-inflammatory properties.
And did you know that the vitamins present in vegetables are fat-soluble, meaning that they dissolve with fat? If you intake large quantities of vegetables, raw or cooked, without accompanying them with the recommended amount of olive oil, the vitamins will be absorbed in very low, almost non-existent, percentages.
However, there is a form of "prejudice" linked above all to the decisive taste of some qualities of olive oils, which may be paired with foods in the wrong way, creating an unpleasant flavor and therefore we decide not to repeat the experience, thus precluding a vast world of rich and healthy products for lack of knowledge.
Furthermore, partly out of practicality, partly out of laziness and partly out of ignorance, we tend to buy oils that we find on supermarket shelves; the quality of these products, which justifies the often very low price, is unfortunately at the same level as the few euros we pay per bottle. The taste tends to flatten out (in fact the low-end oils all have a similar flavor), the quality of the raw material is decidedly poor, and consequently all the health benefit properties we talked about a few lines ago are absent.
Using a high quality oil simply makes more sense! The flavors and organoleptic properties are more pleasant and interesting, the raw material is of a higher quality and there are higher standards in its production, but above all, the beneficial, health characteristics of the olive oil are maintained and preserved.
To learn about everything that the world of olive oil is able to offer from the point of view of flavors, it is important to train our nose first and foremost. The training starts from the sense of smell. It is essential to accustom our nose to recognize certain aromas, distinguish them, associate them with the reference cultivars (i.e. the varieties of olive trees), and learn how to pair each type of oil with the food that best matches its flavor, its aromatic notes and its peculiarities.
To this end, we have created a kit that can accompany you in the discovery of a world that is still unexplored and rich in facets, similar to those of wine.
The TasterPlace Extra Virgin Olive Oil Aromas kit is composed of an informative booklet on Olive Oil and how to taste it and 12 aroma samples to be smelled. These aromas are a fun and educative introduction to the aromas most often found in quality olive oils. Using the samples will be practice for your sense of smell and make olive oil tasting easier and more satisfying for you in the future. Click here to discover!