Last week I had the pleasure to attend a very special event here in Miami: Extra Healthy Living’s International Campaign To Promote The European High Quality of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
If you know me, you know how much I love EVOO and how a regular bottle lasts less than two weeks at my house! I was beyond excited to participate in this “Aperidinner” which was held at Dolce on the 6th floor of The Icon South Beach.
The project is financed by the European Union to empower the knowledge, the learning and the awareness of the features and performances the quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). This is done through engaging the future chefs and food professionals to this mission.
When arriving, I noticed how organized the event was as we were greeted with badges with our names on them and escorted to the elevators. Once we arrived on the 6th floor, we also noticed how beautiful the venue was and how appetizing the hors d’oeuvres looked. We could try different olive oils and even got a very informative (and funny) demonstration by Chefu Mario Rizzotti (a judge on the show “Iron Chef America”) on how to properly taste and determine the quality of extra virgin olive oil. A few things I learned:
- The better the quality, the smaller the jar. Those big jars of olive oil are usually not the best quality (i.e. the one found at Costco)
- One trick to determine the quality of EVOO is to taste it and if it does not leave an oil “film” on your pallet, then it is a of good quality.
- Make sure it says Product of Italy (or Spain, or Greece for example) and not “Made in Italy” on the bottle.
- The acidity should be 0.8% or below for the oil to be Extra Virgin
- High quality EVOO have an absolutely unique flavor evoking grass, artichoke, apple, almond etc.
- EVOO has to be protected and safeguarded from its 3 enemies: Light, Oxygen & Heat.
To taste EVOO, always start with a sensory evaluation and follow these 4 steps:
- Put the oil in a small glass, cover and warm it between the hands, trying ot catch the different aromas.
- Sip a small quantity trying to hold it between lower lip and clenched teeth.
- Breathe some air in, so as to vaporize it inside the mouth and the sides of the tongue, where the taste buds are, evaluating the bitter and spicy intensity.
- Appreciate the different flavors, such as grass, tomato, artichoke, apple, almond as to combine it with different dishes.
After trying most of the delicious hors d’oeuvres and a few glasses of champagne, we were then escorted to the dining room to begin sit down dinner portion of the event. Each dish that was served was prepared exquisitely and went perfectly with their assigned brand of EVOO. The desert was my absolute favorite: Double chocolate ice cream, olive oil, fresh berries & biscotti. It was so good that:
- I did not take any picture
- I ate the whole thing although I am lactose intolerant.
It was a memorable evening and it felt nice being surrounded with fellow gastronomy lovers and interesting, knowledgeable chefs. We got to taste Italian brands like Ravida & Monini and walked away with samples from those brands and more.
Thank you Silvia and Camilla for your warm hospitality and for expanding our knowledge on my favorite oil.