The last 25th October, in the Reina Sofia Museum, we had the chance to launch to the market the new utensils for tasting extra virgin olive oil. This research project, done jointly with the University of Jaén (UJA) pretends to revolutionize the way of tasting olive oil for consumers.
The presentation of tasting utensils -glasses, tumblers and plate- coincides with the beginning of the olive harvest. Experts estimate that in this 2016 season Spain will produce half of the world's olive oil. The ceremony was attended by the president of the council of Jaén, the Rector of the University of Jaen, authorities, olive oil´s institutions, regulatory councils, oil producers and professional tasters.
Olive oils can be classified according to multiple criteria, although the most common classification is the one that is labelled on the packaging of oil for consumption. However, this classification is not too clear and is misleading for consumers.
While Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is the highest quality, with important health benefits, we can find different types depending on the variety of olive, quality, degree of acidity, extraction methods and sensory characteristics: taste, smell and colour. In Spain there are up to 32 protected designations of origin (PDO) and there are hundreds of different brands of oil.
The project manager, Jose Juan Gaforio, Director of the Center for Advanced Studies in the Olive and Olive Oils and Professor of Immunology at the University of Jaen, said, during the presentation that "we want to popularize olive oil tasting using elements designed specifically for the consumer to appreciate its quality. But we are doing this from a Health standpoint, in order for the consumer to have a clear understanding of the properties of the oil that we consume and the consequent health benefit for our bodies".
Unlike the professional tasting glass, which is blue, those presented today – aimed specifically at the consumer- are completely transparent, so we can see and smell the oil at the same time. There is a glass with a lid, specially designed for gourmet products; a glass on a slim stem, which allows the oil to be heated by the warmth of our own hands, an exclusive dish and what we call "a shot glass", a tiny tumbler for tasting just the right amount of oil at low temperature.
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Elaia Zait, creating a world for olive oil