A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a virtual olive oil tasting, courtesy of Pompeian.
Although I am an avid wine drinker and have attended many wine tastings, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. Would we drink the oils? (That didn’t sound too appetizing.) Would I even be able to tell the difference between the varietals? (Surely my wine nose, which can tell an even slightly off bottle without tasting it would come into play here.)
Despite my fears, I was thrilled for the opportunity and I wasn’t disappointed.
We were introduced to their extra virgin olive oil, classic pure olive oil, extra light olive oil, as well as some of the members of their premium line of mono-varietal extra virgin olive oils. Each of these celebrates the unique taste profiles of single olive varieties.
Included in the Pompeian Varietals Collection are:
Arebequina which is from an olive native to the southern Mediterranean and Middle East. It has a fresh fruitiness and flavor that has a hint of spicy almond and green apple. I loved the peppery notes. It is great for fish and vegetables.
Arbosana which is grown in many different countries. This is a sweeter oil that some and has both almond and herbal notes. It is slightly floral with a touch of pepper.
Koroneiki was one of my favorites, and is the one I am using in today’s salad. It is grown in Greece and hosts a smooth juicy taste. It also has a slightly peppery finish, which I love. It is great for soups and salads and also can go well with meat, fish and vegetables.
Picholine is from Southern France. It is actually a popular cocktail olive and this distinct olive flavor makes it perfect for olive oil! It has a slight artichoke flavor and herbaceous aroma. Picholine works great with meats and sauces.
As someone who’s never really given much thought to which olive oil she uses, I was blown away by the actual differences in taste that they oils had. I immediately saw that they each had an ability to impart subtle flavors in my cooking.
The experience was quite educational as well. Like with wine, olive oil tasting starts with the nose as you breath in the aroma. An, like what you are supposed to do (that I never do) with wine tasting, you spit the olive oil out when you are done. If you ever have the chance to attend an olive oil tasting, it is an experience you don’t want to miss!
In the mean time, be sure to check out the Pompeian Varietals Collection and see for yourself the differences!
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 6 garlic cloves, minced (more or less to taste)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup Pompenian olive oil
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1/4 cup red onion, chopped fine
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, torn
- 8 ounces mozzarella balls (for vegan option use nut cheese)
- Make dressing by combining vinegar, garlic cloves, maple syrup, dijon and sea salt in a blender and processing until well combined. With the blender running, add olive oil in a steady stream.
- In a large bowl combine quinoa, red onion, tomatoes, olives, basil and mozzarella. Toss with desired amount of dressing. Transfer to serving bowl and drizzle with balsamic reduction.