Hosting a tasting party adds a fun element to a dinner party. But the key is to know how to dose everything, especially when it comes to food. Tasting between 3 or 4 olive oils is plenty for one night, especially if you are newbies.
Try to mix oils from different countries. You do not need to be an expert to host your own tasting party. Simply stop by a fine speciality shop with a wide selection and ask them to compose an assortment of olive oils that will allow you to taste the differences. I often ask if I can record their advices with my Flip video camera. Otherwise, write down notes. Then, design cute note cards with the characteristics of each olive oil. Each guest should receive their own set of cards. Leave some room for them to write down their impressions.
Preparing the Tasting
You start the night with the tasting. They replace the appetizers of a typical dinner party. Then, move to a dinner with Mediterranean cuisine recipes to stay in the theme.
Do a test run of the olive oil tasting to practice the technique and see that everything will be properly in place. As a bonus, you will know how filling is the tasting part and know how much food you need to prepare for the dinner part.
Prepare plenty of small glasses since the best way to taste an olive oil. You will see that the technique resembles wine tasting.
- Pour about 1 tablespoon into a small glass
- Like with wine, you swirl your glass to release the flavor
- Then, you inhale and pay attention to the smell
- Next, you slurp the oil until you capture a small amount
- Finish by swallowing the oil. Try to notice if it leaves a stinging sensation in your throat. That last part is to determine the intensity of the oil’s pungency.
- For more information, read the easy to follow advices of U.S. tasting expert Nancy Ash.
If you feel less adventurous, set up a dipping bowl for every olive oil. Then, the guest can taste the oil with piece of white Ficelle (thinner baguette) bread.
Whatever method you use, make sure to cut slices of Granny Smith apples and serve glasses of water. You eat an apple slice and drink some water between each sample to clean your palate.
A Provencal or Mediterranean table theme creates the right ambiance. Think about the south of France, Italy, Greece, Spain or Portugal for inspirations. Pottery Barn released an olive oil tasting party planner that includes a cute invitation that you can print.
How to Store Olive Oil?
You must keep your olive in a cool, dry, dark spot. I cook most of my dish with olive oil. So, I pour a small quantity in a porcelain bottle with a tiny pouring cap to be easily accessible when I’m cooking. Select an opaque container. The best choices are a porcelain, a stainless steel or a dark tinted glass jar or bottle.
+ How to taste an olive oil by Nancy Ash
+ Rhodes Olive Oil Cruet small $8, large $10 USD
+ Olive Appetizer Plates & Dipping Bowls – Set of 4 plates $32, Set of 4 dipping bowls $25
+ Stainless Steel Olive Oil Drizzler $10.50