While having a meal out or getting tickets to an event are what we often consider a fitting experience of the holiday, we’ve got an intimate experience that you can prepare right at home: an olive oil tasting.
To create a truly immersive experience, we’ll first start with the tasting of the oils themselves, which is the heart of the event. Afterward, if you want to use the flavor profiles to create a delicious Valentine’s Day meal with the different oils incorporated in your tasting, we'll give you some tips to find the right ingredients.
The good news is that you don’t need anything too fancy to have your very own tasting with your loved one. In fact, if you have small tasting plates and wine glasses, you should be good to go. If you've even been to any tasting before (wine, cheese, etc.), you might have noticed that the pros use special tasting glasses that won’t impact the color of the product (or in this case, the color of the oil). But, fortunately for you, there’s no need to buy brand new tasting glasses. The regular wine glasses you have at home will do just fine.
Now, the olive oils themselves. The numerous varieties of olives all have distinctive flavor profiles, and that’s the beauty of having an olive oil tasting.
Once you have your olive oils, you’ll want to put some in small tasting plates that are like the ones restaurants put olive oil to go along with your bread and then have the bottles of olive oil laid out. To give a special touch, you can get smaller little bottles without the labels. We found a set of bottles recommended for putting party favors inside, that will give you just the right amount of olive oil for your tasting on the Target website.If you then want to get crafty and write out labels for each variety, you can do that too.
As you go ahead and sip the olive oil, what’s better to dip bread in than olive oil? And for that, you’ll want some subliminal bread. While the type of bread is up to you (and bread is a staple at every Spanish lunch and dinner table), make sure that the pieces all small enough for a bite-sized tasting portion of each one.
And, in every type of tasting, you’re going to need a palate cleanser. Most olive oil tastings, including at New York City’s Fig and Olive restaurants, have slices of green apples as your ideal palate cleanser. And if you’re looking for some wine, rosé is a pleasant ally in your efforts to cleanse your palate. As for the order of tasting, you’ll want to start with the milder flavors and then gradually move towards the more assertive varieties.
As for tasting the olive oil in the glass, it’s simpler than you might think. You’ll want to do the following:
Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil in each of the cups
Warm the cup in your hands
Cover the top of the cup with your hands and swirl the olive oil around
Uncover the cup and smell the oil for at least 30 seconds
Rule of thumb: Never sniff more than twice because if you do it will cause sensory fatigue!
If you want to try it out so you can walk your partner through it, we highly recommend you do that.
Once you’ve sipped each olive oil, you can then go ahead and dip bread into the olive oil you’re trying at the time. When you’re ready to change the olive oils, eat a slice of green apple and sip on some chilled rosé (if you’ve decided to have it).
When you’re all done, you can then incorporate the olive oils into the dinner. Some olive oils that are milder are perfect to make vinaigrettes, or sautée your meats and veggies, or for making desert! Some varieties are also better suited to high-heat recipes. If you want some help with what ingredients work best, there are loads of resources on the internet and you can get guidance at local specialty food stores!
We honestly think that sharing food is a great way to create strong interpersonal experiences with people we care about. Valentine’s Day is all about sharing with those we love. We hope to hear about your olive oil tastings on our Facebook page!
Happy Valentine’s Day and, as we say in Spain, ¡buen provecho!