AOVE, Barcelona, botifarra, Catalan food, Devour Spain, EVOO, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, food market, Gracia, Hojiblanca, mercado, Oli Sal, Olive Oil, Olive Oil Tasting, Sahita, sommelier, Spanish cheese, Spanish Olive Oil, specialist food shops, Syrian pastries
My love of EVOO started in a rather surprising way, on 21st April 2016, on a Devour Barcelona Food Tours walking tour of Gracia Neighbourhood. Of the 10 stops on the tour, there were three ‘stand out’ places I was really looking forward to:
- A grilled botifarra (sausage) sandwich with cava (okay, I confess, I love cava and the thought of starting the day with it was bliss!),
- Sampling a selection of Spanish and Catalan cheeses at the central market and
- The handmade Syrian pastry at Patisseria Principe.
Another six sounded lovely and one I’d already discounted as ‘not for me’. Yep, the olive oil tasting.
In my defence, I hate greasy foods. I have always picked the fat off meat, used the absolute minimum of butter or spread on sandwiches and wouldn’t eat anything where I could see fat/oil or grease on it. So olive oil wasn’t likely to float my boat was it!
However, the fifth stop on our tour was to Oli Sal a shop specialising in Extra Virgin Olive Oils and artisan vinegars. There were three oils available for us to try and some really lovely looking bread so, not to be outdone by my tour companions, I took the plunge, dipped my bread into the first oil and tasted it. Hmm, surprisingly creamy and not at all greasy. The second was very peppery and the third tasted like hazelnuts. I was shocked. Not only had I voluntarily eaten (and enjoyed) three ‘oily’ things, but could tell the difference between them.
Given such a rapid conversion I decided to buy a bottle of ‘good oil’ to take home and – admittedly, swayed by the beautiful packaging – chose a 100 ml bottle of Sahita, which is an hojiblanca olive. Hubby was a bit shocked at the price (which neither of us can remember now but it was about 5 euros I think) but I was determined to buy a decent bottle, and where better than this beautiful specialist shop?
When we got back home to Vejer I was still thinking about olive oils and how much I’d enjoyed the even limited tasting that we’d done. I started researching to see whether there were olive oil tasting courses that I could take and a whole new world opened up before my very eyes!
Not only are there numerous fabulous sounding tasting holidays and workshops but you can even become a certified olive oil sommelier. Imagine that – I thought sommeliers were wine specialists!
And that was it. A passion was born, right there at Oli Sol, 170 Travessera de Gracia in Barcelona. Thanks Devour Spain – you’ve literally changed my life!