Right, let’s jump straight in today with the tasting of not one, but two, Extra Virgin Olive Oils: Bravoleum and Hacienda el Palo.
They were bought in Supersol, a popular supermarket chain with nearly 200 stores throughout Spain. I’ve chosen these to feature first, rather than something purchased from a specialist shop because a good supermarket is probably the easiest place to start for anyone interested in developing their taste for olive oil.
It’s important to remind you that I’m a consumer who’d like to know more, rather than an expert. Last December I attended my first tasting course – 3 hours in the company of the hugely enthusiastic and knowledge Mar Luna Villacanas at the Escuela Europea De Cata in Madrid. I’ve tried to remember and incorporate some of what Mar shared with us on this introduction to tasting olive oil course but I repeat, I’m not an expert and my opinions are my own. If I repeat this exact same tasting a year from now, I’ve no doubt that my palate will be more sophisticated but I hope I never lose the joy of these early days – I’m aiming for knowledgeable naivety and you’ve got to start somewhere! So, off we go.
Firstly, the Hacienda El Palo. Purchased this morning for 3,75 Euros. According to the bottle it’s Picual olives, Superior category, cold extraction by mechanical means. It’s an Extra Virgin and is best before September 2018.
Smell: red apple, fruity
Taste: strawberry, sweet on the tongue, then slightly bitter and nutty with an aftertaste of light pepper and pear.
Texture: smooth and light.
Secondly, the Bravoleum Arbequina. Purchased today for 6,95 Euros. It is branded as being Special Selection and, as the name suggests it is made from Arbequina olives. Best before September 2018.
Smell: ripe banana, corn, butter
Taste: cashew nuts, dried fruit with a slightly fiery, peppery aftertaste deep in the throat.
Texture: very light, almost disappearing once swallowed.
Both oils come from Hacienda El Palo, a multi award winning producer based in Jaen, Spain. Given their Best Before dates, these olives will have been harvested October/November 2016.
As I said earlier – these are simply my impressions of smell and taste. Check out the website for the producers tasting notes. They are both very pleasant oils, my preference would be for the Bravoleum but when I put both on the table at lunchtime my husband favoured the El Palo.