How to Taste Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition is currently taking place at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel. Every year extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) makers from around the world submit their best oils for judging here at Fairplex.

More than 600 entries were submitted this year from 22 countries across the globe, and our judges are currently evaluating and awarding all the entries.

But how does one judge extra virgin olive oils? How to differentiate between one flavor and the next? It’s pretty simple: just remember the 4 S’s.

How To Taste Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Fairplex Blog EVOO glasses 1024x679 How to Taste Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Entries from the 2014 Los Angeles International EVOO Competition

1. Swirl: First thing’s first, you have to make sure the EVOO is ready to taste. Our professional judges are provided with little blue glasses (see photo above). Swirl it around to release the aroma of the olive oil, but make sure to keep it covered until you’re ready for Step 2…

Fairplex Blog sniff How to Taste Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2. Sniff: Sniff the olive oil from the rim of the container. Judges are looking for intensity levels (robust, etc) and taking note of the various aromas.

Fairplex Blog taste 300x214 How to Taste Extra Virgin Olive Oil 3. Slurp: Finally, the actual tasting. If you’ve ever been to an olive oil competition, you’re probably familiar with the sounds of slurping from throughout the room.

The sound is distinct, as judges also make sure to inhale some air along with the olive oil.

This helps the flavor to spread evenly across the mouth and helps to identify bitterness levels along with other flavor details.

4. Swallow: Last, but certainly not least, is the swallowing. It’s not just a simple gulp from each sample. Judges are paying attention to the flavors and identifying pungency.

Keep these tips in mind if you visit us during the LA County Fair! You can sample the award-winning entries from this year’s competition at The Marketplace. Just remember your 4 S’s and you’ll be set.

For more information regarding the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition click here.