Olive Oil - Tasting the Mediterranean

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					Olive Oil - Tasting the Mediterranean
Kimberly Crum
Today's Woman; Nov 2008; 18, 11; Docstoc
pg. 68




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Description: Not having an olive oil tasting bar in Louisville, Hall and I sponsored a tasting session of our own. With the kind advice of Will Eaves, Sullivan Culinary graduate and selfdescribed "cheese nerd" at Lotsa Pasta, we selected five Extra Virgins from four countries, Spain, Lebanon, Italy (2) and Greece, ranging in price from $7 to $28. Hall and I took our chosen bottles to a local Italian eatery where the servers accepted our eccentricity. We asked for five plates and bread for dipping. Hall demonstrated the tasting technique: Pour a bit of olive oil in a shot glass, breathe in the bouquet, then sip a taste of oil and, with lips slightly parted, suck some air over your palate. This technique seems ridiculous to the casual observer, but is effective. It allows the taster to experience the flavor, mouth- feel and aftertaste of each product. What we discovered was as follows. The Lebanese Saifan and Spanish Zoe oils are light in color, a pale golden green with a mellow fruity taste - a crowd pleaser. These oils, says Hall, will comple- ment seafood, pasta, fish, homemade mayonnaise and mushrooms. In contrast, we described the Greek Illiada, (produced from Kalamata olives) as "robust, pungent and complex," ideal for dipping bread or serving with savory dishes. The Italian (Frantola) with olive sediment that drifts to the bottle's bottom, is mel- low and fruity with a sweet almond finish. The Italian Ravida, a single-batch estate bottled olive oil (and the most expensive) has a green grass aroma and a peppery aftertaste. According to Hall, robust oils complement red meat, sausage, thick soups, garlic dishes and rich pasta dishes (She also recommends contrasting olive oil flavors: serve pungent oils with mozzarella and delicate oils with pecorino cheese.)
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