It seems I am on quite a few more lists these days for events and for that I am very grateful.  It is so fun to be part of this new “food world” and I feel very honored to be among wonderful bloggers and e-media people such as Daisy from Indulge Imbibe Inspire and Fiona from A Boston Food Diary and Thrillist to name a few. 

Just recently, I was invited to a special three-course dinner and Olive Oil tasting at the wonderful Troquet, which was hosted by the people of California Olive Ranch

California Olive Ranch’s Mission “is to make the best tasting extra virgin olive oil by taking a fresh approach to every aspect of the way olives are grown, harvested, and the way olive oil is made. As a result of this approach, our family of extra virgin olive oils has won more than 38 awards in the past 7 years.”

A small group of about 12 people gathered together upstairs at Troquet to listen to Mike Forbes from California Olive Ranch talk very passionately about olive oil, as well as to enjoy an outstanding California Olive Ranch inspired three-course meal.  I feel I now know so much more than I ever even thought I could know about this amazing “juice” that we all use on a daily basis.  

Did you know that people do actually drink olive oil, almost like wine?  Olives are of course fruit so much the same as wine, once it is opened and exposed to air, heat and light the oil can turn.  The more expensive and higher-grade the olive oil, the quicker it will turn so don’t save those fancy olive oils once you open them, just use them for everything J. Your friends will love you. 

Mike was joined by Tony Polito author of the cookbook “Fresh: Eating Healthy Never Tasted So Good.”  All of Tony’s dishes are created with California Olive Ranch Olive Oils and what a charming man he was to meet.  His book looks terrific and all of his creations take under 10 minutes to make.  My type of cookbook!

So, have you ever wondered what the difference is between Extra-Virgin, Virgin and regular Olive Oil?  Yes you have wondered!  Well, let me share with you what I learned.  It is all about the acidity and whether they are the first press of the olives.  Extra-Virgin Olive Oils have less than 1% acidity while Virgin Olive Oil has a slightly higher level of 1½ acidity.  Olive Oil usually comes from the second cold pressing or the leftovers of the first pressing – a more commercial grade olive oil if you will.  (I hope I got that right J).

How do you do an Olive Oil tasting?  There are four little steps, which we all learned to do the other night.  Step 1… pour some olive oil into a small glass and cover it with your hand.  Step 2… gently swirl the oil for about 30 seconds.  Step 3… take a deep sniff of the oil and then analyze the aroma.  Step 4… put your tongue to the back of your teeth and suck in the oil with a sharp intake of breath and let it sit for a moment before fully drinking.  Beginners like me should never take a big gulp!  Big mistake on my part!  I should have taken a tiny sip as it did remind me a little of my parents making me take a spoonful of Cod Liver Oil by holding my nose and pouring it down my throat – I shudder at the memory.   So anyway… Voila now you know how to do an Olive Oil tasting.

Olive Oil Tastings

 

For our tasting we tried two of the California Olive Ranch Olive Oils.  The first was the Arberquina, which I found very grassy and smooth followed by flavors of artichoke.  Apparently, great in salad dressings or even “atop ice cream.”  The second, tasting was the Miller’s Blend, which was much sharper and had a peppery kick to it.  Great with “blue cheese or strong, spicy dishes.”  Both were rich, creamy and outstanding as far as olive oils go and both were part of a fun goodie bag we got to take home that also included the cookbook, Fresh.

The Goodie Bag!

 

I cannot wait to make some of the amazing dishes in Tony’s Cookbook and of course use the California Olive Ranch Olive Oil.

I will be sharing my review of Troquet very soon and most probably you will be seeing quite a lot of Tony’s recipes in future postings.  

Tracey