You’ve probably heard about Sommeliers, people who are trained to taste, pair and educate about wines. Some colleges and vocational schools offer certificate programs to become a certified Sommelier, a person who is professional Wine Steward. Sommeliers often work for restaurants, vineyards, food publications among many other cool gigs.
But have you heard of an Oleologist? An Oleologist is pretty similar to a Sommelier, except the food in question is olive oil! Oleology is the study of olive oil, where people can become professionals and experts in olive oil education, tasting, recipe development and research. In the USA Oleology is slowly, but surely, becoming a growing area of interest in the world of food professionals. Although it doesn’t seem to be on college curriculums yet.
You can dabble in Oleology as a hobby by starting to deepen and enrich your knowledge of olive oil. One of the easiest and most fun (not to mention delicious) ways to get engaged in learning about olive oils is to start with the taste profiles of olive oils and the flavors that you tend to find in them. The more common flavors you’ll start to notice when tasting olive oils are: buttery, grassy and peppery. There are many other subtle flavors, but these three are often the easiest to pick up on.
When tasting you can compare different brands of olive oil, but what you might find more interesting is to compare different types of olive oil, for example, tasting the difference between extra virgin and mild.
Here’s a pro tip: When tasting olive oil pour some onto a spoon and ingest the oil directly, rather than on bread or another food. You will be able to taste many more subtle flavors with the pure olive oil. Don’t worry about eating a few spoonfuls of olive oil, it’s healthy and often referred to as Mediterranean medecine!
You can learn more about olive oil in our Olive Oil Guide. Are there things you’d like to know about olive oil that are unanswered in our guide? Leave us a question or comment on Facebook or Instagram.