It’s in our cupboards, it’s liberally sloshed into our pans most nights of the week, but chances are we’re not giving our EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) the consideration it deserves. But fear not foodies, Bottega 1900 is here to educate our palates.
Full of antioxidants and rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (good fat), we all know Olive Oil is “the one that’s good for us”. But for most of us, that’s where the expertise ends. With more than 600 olive varieties in Italy alone and around about 500 of those being suitable for Extra Virgin Olive Oil production, there is plenty to learn about this pantry staple.
Each olive variety brings its own unique characteristics and flavour. Traverse Italy’s olive regions and you’ll discover fruity Frantoio from Tuscany, gutsy San Felice from Umbria, and spicy Tonda Iblea from Sicily, but where should a novice begin their journey? Thankfully, Alice Massaria (former Sommelier at Bistecca, The Gidley & Saint Peter) and Enea La Mantia, the founders of Bottega 1900 have made it their mission to educate Australia’s palate to the wonders of Italy’s liquid gold.
Not only have the Bottega 1900 team hand-picked every small-batch, single-variety Italian EVOO on their roster, they have also curated their oil offerings – with the variants and styles reading like a list of fine wines. Just as we honour single-vineyard wines and single-origin coffee, so too can we champion the monocultivar EVOOs that are produced by a single variety of olive.
You’ll find Bottega’s EVOO selection divided up into; Light, Medium and Robust for maximum ease of navigation on your EVOO journey. Each product on their website features an interactive map which not only tells you the region it reigns from but also; the producer, the olive variety and the month the olives were harvested. Not forgetting our favourite feature, a selection of perfectly paired dishes for peak EVOO Tasting Party inspo.
EVOO Tasting Party
You wouldn’t glug a boutique Beaujolais into Wednesday night’s Spag Bol, and in much the same way, Bottega 1900’s small-batch, single-variety Italian EVOOs should not be fated for the frying pan. Such artistry deserves to be enjoyed with care and attention. A tasting is a super fun way to start understanding the complex flavour profiles and subtle nuances of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Olive oil tasting is similar to wine tasting: just like wines, olive oils have a very wide variety of tastes and aromas. A tasting can both sharpen your palate and allow you to identify what kind of oil you prefer. For a full tasting experience, we recommend choosing between 3-5 oils, considering the three basic categories Light, Medium and Robust.
How to taste Olive Oil
- POUR – Pour around a tablespoon of EVOO into a stemless wineglass.
- SWIRL – Cup the glass in your hands to warm the oil and gently swirl to release aromas.
- SNIFF – Stick your nose in the glass, and inhale deeply.
- SIP – Slurp a mouthful of oil while inhaling (drawing air in heightens the flavour). Then, breathe out through your nose.
- SWALLOW – Swallow while concentrating on the flavour.
- PONDER – Concentrate on the flavour and consider the general qualities (fruitiness, pungency, bitterness).
- CLEANSE – Refresh your palate between oils with a thin slice of Granny Smith apple or a cube of plain bread.
Want the team to lead you through an EVOO tasting? You either request a private tasting or keep up to date on their social media channels as they partner with venues and host special events. Follow them on Instagram here.
Head over to Bottega 1900 to start shopping for your next EVOO tasting.