Posts Tagged ‘olive oil’

Olive oil: not just for Italians anymore

Spanish olive oils

Spanish olive oils

Now this is something you don’t hear about every day — an olive oil tasting.

Olive Oil from Spain, a promotional campaign organized and funded by various Spanish olive oil and trade agencies, recently hosted such a tasting at Chef John Sedlar’s Playa. Led by olive oil expert Alfonso Fernandez Lopez, the tasting was similar to what you would expect at a wine tasting, but olive oil has specific attributes that require attention in properly analyzing the oil.

  1. For the best tasting experience, don’t eat bread with the olive oil.
  2. To release the oil’s smell, warm up the glass with your hands. If possible, use a dark colored glass so you can’t see the color of the oil.
  3. Smell for a “green” or “ripe” scent. Oils with a fruity aroma are best used uncooked, for finishing. Bitter oils should not be used with bitter greens.
  4. To taste the oil, suck it into your mouth quickly through your teeth, mixing air into the oil.


We tasted four Spanish varietals:

  • Arbequina: smells fruity, like banana. Ripe, sweet. Good for finishing but too delicate for cooking.
  • Cornicabra: smells like ripe banana, apples. Medium-strength smell.
  • Hojiblanca: stronger smelling, like lettuce.
  • Picual: intense smell, like arugula or green tomato. Bitter, astringent.
Alfonso Fernandez Lopez

Alfonso Fernandez Lopez. Warm up that oil!

Even though I found all the oils to be “peppery” upon swallowing, i.e., it burns!, I enjoyed this unique tasting. I now know a little more about olive oil and how to use it properly, so that’s always a plus. And it didn’t hurt that we were treated to a lovely meal by Chef Sedlar afterward!

Note: This tasting and meal were hosted.


10 2011

Pretty, scene-y: Fig & Olive Melrose Place

View from the upstairs bar at Fig & Olive

A week ago (I know, I know — I’m behind!), the New York-based, olive oil-centric restaurant Fig & Olive opened its flagship West Coast location at the trendy corner of La Cienega Boulevard and Melrose Place. It was a scene, my friends: three nights of people in cocktail attire walking a red carpet complete with a step and repeat, as well as fashion presentations by Chol√© and Fendi. All that for a restaurant opening!

To be fair, the restaurant is housed in a pretty awesome space: it’s huge, and features rosemary bushes and an olive tree in the main dining room. There’s even an upstairs space, which houses the Fig Champagne & Cocktail Bar, unique to the L.A. location.

Fig & Olive’s thing is olive oil, which it uses in place of butter in nearly all its dishes. You can even buy bottles of its special infused versions at the restaurant (blood orange-infused olive oil, anyone?). The cuisine is inspired by the Mediterranean, and that means the entire region, including France, Italy and Spain.

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03 2011