Learn About EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

By: Eleni Saltas

Whatever is cooking, starting with a quality olive oil is important. I always knew that—to some extent. I knew my salads deserved “the good stuff” but when grilling or creating a stew I would grab for the “ok stuff” to save the” good stuff” for the salads and fresh foods topped with olive oil. This was my mindset until I spent an afternoon at Oleosophia, an innovative olive grove operation about a 90 minute drive from Athens, in the beautiful northern Peloponnese. 

 In 2021 I met Marianna Devetzoglou, a physicist who left Athens to pursue a career as a master olive oil sommelier with her husband. I was joined by 20 other curious travelers for our first ever olive oil tasting. After a few hours of tasting different oil types, our group learned everything about caring for the olive trees to the final production of some of the best olive oil, which as we know comes from Greece. Marianna and her staff taught us how to use our sight, smell, and taste to judge the best grades of olive oil.

 Here are some key takeaways to keep in mind to apply when selecting olive oil:

-It’s important to smell your olive oil. Olive oil should smell fruity and earthy (such as grass clippings). The smell of herbs, nuts, and vegetables like artichokes or tomatoes may also reveal themselves.
-Smells that are no no’s are waxy, vinegar-y, or musty. The absence of a fruity scent is an immediate sign of defective oil.

-If you don’t have the luxury of smelling or tasting your oil beforehand, at least do one thing—stay away from plastic bottles and store your olive oil correctly—such as in a dark cupboard.

Everyone wants to elevate their gastronomy and health, and one of the surest ways is with extra virgin olive oil. If visiting Greece is not in your near plans, the Oleosophia group now offers online courses for people like you. You’ll be taught the chemical nature of olive oil, buying and handling your olive oil, and how to best use your olive oils.

To start your own EVOO journey click this link here!