An olive oil tasting party is a mouthwatering way to expand your culinary knowledge and have fun with friends at the same time. Much like wine, olive oil can vary greatly depending on the growing region, and two different oils can bring out very different flavors in the same dish. Follow our easy steps to throw a fabulous tasting party for your nearest and dearest to discover the incredible world of olive oil.
1: Get Prepped
You’ll need: small cups or tasting glasses, bread (French or Italian baguettes are ideal), a breadboard or cutting board for serving, green apples, chilled rosé, and olive oil! Pick up an assortment of high-quality extra virgin oils ranging from bright and buttery to robust and spicy.
Create a menu split into categories: “Sweet and Buttery,” “Medium and Green,” and “Assertive and Peppery,” and include the finer tasting notes for each oil.
2: Taste and Explore
Pour a 1–2 tbsp. sample of oil and hold the glass in your palm to keep it warm, covering the top of the glass to trap aromas. Teach guests to do the same before smelling and sipping. To accentuate the taste and smell even further, slurp air through the corners of your mouth while sipping: a technique called strippaggio.
Lead guests through the menu, starting with milder oils and ending with the more robust, peppery flavors. Encourage your tasters to share opinions and discuss color, taste, texture and smell.
The green apple slices and chilled rosé are excellent palate cleansers between each taste, while the bread is great for soaking up any extra oil.
3: Bon Appétit!
After your tasting, serve a meal with olive oil as the star! Guests can experiment by drizzling different oils on each bite and comparing how each variety enhances the food.
Serve dishes that will allow the character of the oils to shine through; simple cheese plates, Bruschetta, salads and smoked fish are excellent appetizer choices, while roasted veggies, grilled steak and chicken are great options for the main course.
Even desserts can be topped with a splash of olive oil for a seriously impressive finish. Try warm chocolate brownies or French vanilla ice cream paired with a full-bodied, bitter olive oil.