a Spanish Olive Oil tasting session at Taste of Edinburgh Festival

I received a lovely email a few weeks ago asking if I might be interested in attending an olive oil tasting session as part of the Taste of Edinburgh Festival. One of my favourite things at food shows is sampling all the different flavoured oils and thought what a lovely/interesting thing to do for a blog post so of course I accepted. Little did we know that the elements would be against us and that the Taste Festival, along with the rest of Edinburgh, was to become deluged by rain of epic proportions and inaccessible both to visitors and exhibitors alike. Plan B was to take the tasting session to a local hotel however they were only able to retrieve one, out of the 6 types of oil, that we were due to be trying. No matter, like many others caught up by events beyond our control, we just made the best of what we had. And, what we was the lovely Teresa Perez, representing all the olive oil manufacturers in Spain, some wine glasses (I actually did think these were for wine when I first saw them) and some Extra Virgin Olive Oil. We spent over an hour talking about olive oil, how we use it, how we could use it, popular myths, the olive oil production/manufacturing processes, health benefits, statistics & consumption, environmental impacts as well as being taught how to taste it. We learnt about The different grades and tastes of the oil from fruity through to grassy and peppery and how weather affects the quality & harvesting of the fruit. It was absolutely fascinating, such a shame that we were unable to taste all 6 of the oils so we could compare & contrast, a really interesting thing to do nonetheless and something I would look out for again. (I daresay “DrScience’ would too seeing as he actually ‘drank’ his whole glass during the session!)

& we got a bottle of this to take home – yay!

Some interesting stats I picked up during the session that may (or may not) interest you too:

  • Spain is the biggest producer of olive oil globally & export about 60%, one of their biggest customers are Italy who don’t produce as much as they consume (or export it)
  • Spain & Italy consume around the same amount (11.7c litres per year per person) compared to just 1.27 litres per person per year in the UK (4 years ago this was 1/2litre)
  • 40ml per day is a good recommended consumption
  • Olive Oil accounts for just 3% of the oil consumption globally (Soya is the most common)
  • It takes 5kg of olives to make 1 litre of oil
  • All olive oil when pressed is Virgin, it’s then tested for quality & the best can be graded Extra Virgin
  • There are 9 calories per gram in olive oil
  • The colour of the oil doesn’t indicate quality, in fact graders taste it in dark blue glasses so they can’t be influenced by the colour
  • There are over 260 varieties of olive in Spain
  • There is only 1 type of olive in Spain commercially used for both oil or for the table
  • The best time to harvest olives is just as they are changing colour
  • It is best preserved away from light & heat but can be used for years.
  • There are no waste by-products from the manufacturing process

Poppy investigating the tea towel & book we were given

For more information on olive oil: www.oliveoilsfromeurope.com and the Wiki on Olive Oil  

Tags: , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply