Olive oil flavour

This morning I had a blood test, and had to go to the pathology place while fasting, so couldn’t eat breakfast beforehand. I like breakfast. I don’t really understand those people who skip breakfast or who don’t feel any urge to have food until lunchtime. I wake up ravenous every morning and am hoeing into a bowl of cereal within about 5 minutes of getting out of bed every day. So having to wait until I walk up the street and wait for half an hour at the pathology centre is torture. Immediately after I left I raced to the nearest bakery to get something to eat.

Back home, I worked on writing annotations for the batch of Irregular Webcomic!s that I’d made over the past few days. This is the final step before publication, and can take most of a day, depending how much research I do and how much I write for each comic. But it’s a good feeling having the batch completed. And now it’s time to start thinking about writing the next batch…

I stayed in for lunch today and made myself bruschetta. I’m trying to use up a bottle of extra virgin olive oil that I got as a gift, before it passes its “best before” date. And also some caramelised balsamic vinegar.

It got me thinking about olive oil. We have extra virgin olive oil, for stuff like bruschetta and salads and those things that everyone says you should use extra virgin olive oil for, because it has a strong “fruity” flavour. And we have the “light tasting” olive oil that everyone says you should use for cooking, because it has a less strong flavour that won’t dominate a dish.

Now, I don’t know if it’s just me, but I can’t taste any difference whatsoever between “extra virgin” olive oil and “light tasting” olive oil. Not just the current brands we have either – I’ve never noticed any difference between any of the brands of either we’ve had over the years. I’m honestly beginning to think this whole “fruity” and “light” olive oil flavours are really just the Emperor’s New Clothes, and a way to make us all buy more olive oil because we “need” to have two different types. They all just taste equally bland and oily to me – none of them have anything that could remotely be called a “strong” flavour that might dominate anything else. Can anyone actually taste a difference between these olive oils?? Or even taste them at all??

And on another note, I took some photos of flowers. This winter in Sydney has been ridiculously warm. Besides flowers everywhere, there are new green shoots and leaves on many of the trees already as well. This is all at least a month early, possibly more. Take a look: magnolias, irises, lavender, azaleas.

Spring flowers in winter

6 thoughts on “Olive oil flavour”

  1. I can sort of tell the difference kindamaybe, but not in the sense that it changes my experience in any way–not like it actually makes one of them BETTER.
    What’s with the designation, “Extra-virgin” anyway? I mean, normally someone’s either a virgin or they aren’t, how can anything be more virgin than a virgin?
    Even within context it’s weird. I mean, I remember hearing that olive oil grades (of which you never see most of them for some reason) were based on the fact that they would keep on squishing the olives repeatedly, so lower grades were from later pressings. So like, you’d figure that “virgin” would mean the olives had never been pressed before. Like a virgin, pressed for the very first time . . . uh, anyway. So then what’s EXTRA-virgin? The olives have been pressed negative times before?

  2. here the olive oils are marked by their quality – free fatty acides and such stuff. basically – the extra virgin stuff is less oxidiesed and considered better quality – but if you can’t taste the difference, stick to the cheap stuff for frying and spicing – the nutritional value is about the same for all brands. well – not all brands – there are 2 types that aren’t really food quality – the stuff with acidity higher than 3% and the stuff that had chemically reduced acidity – I don’t know if you use this type for frying, but if you do, it does have less nutriants than the unrefined types – virgin and extra virgin are the healthy brands.
    What is “light tasting” olive oil? what’s the acidity level? is it chemically treated or not?
    this sounds like some brand name to me – which here we don’t have.

    1. Hmm. I don’t think ours have any indication of acidity levels or anything like that. At least not that I’ve noticed – so it certainly isn’t emphasised in any way.

      I just checked the oils in my pantry. They’re labelled with things like (“extra virgin”, “fruity”, “for salads”) and (“original”, “light taste”, “for cooking”). Absolutely no indication of acidity or anything that could be interpreted as quality.

      1. stick with stuff labeled “extra virgin” explicitely – they are highest quality (if not fake) – good for eating and frying.
        all the rest sound like someone is either adding flavouring components or just messing around.

  3. Orson Scott Card used to do a review column in his hometown paper, and he once mentioned that olive oils they sell in grocery stores are far inferior to the ones that are actually made in Mediterranean countries. You might need to find a specialty shop — but then again, you live in a huge sprawling city with hundreds of cultures. I live in a comparative backwater that people only recognize because famous people built colleges here.

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