Flavor Your Life!
Have you ever been to an olive oil tasting? Last month, I was invited to a tasting, blending, and educational event all about a favorite kitchen staple, of mine: Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The event was at Fairway Market Cafe in New York City and was hosted by Flavor Your Life. Flavor Your Life is a campaign sponsored by several organizations, including the European Union, to help celebrate the virtues of true Extra Virgin Olive Oil through education.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is so commonplace that it can be found in most American homes today, including my own. But sometimes we forget how great these every day items can be! And I was very impressed with the amount I learned from this event, and I look forward to bringing it all into the kitchen with me. Join me in a journey of appreciation for this “liquid gold.”
A Twist on Tradition
I’d never been to an olive oil event like this before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It wound up being very similar to a wine tasting event, except for the blending at the end!
Flavor of Health
Even as a member of a quarterly olive oil club, I had no idea just how many health benefits Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) boasts. It’s a great source of polyphenols, which have anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. And that all varies with the age of the “drupe” or olive when it’s harvested (the younger it is the better and more bitter). You want to check the labeling of your bottles; each one should have a traceable ID number. And it should be certified by the region it’s from.
After learning the benefits of authentic EVOO, we moved on to the tasting portion, which was where the fun was had! And like a wine tasting, we learned the proper way to taste the oils.
First you warm it in your hand to bring out the different notes and then you smell the olive oil. Based off scent, you try to guess the region and age of the olives. It played out like a game show and few of us were winning any points!
Then you sip with lips puckered to get the air in so that you can taste the oil on every part of your tongue. You ask the following questions: does it come from a green or ripe olive? It is light and fruity? Medium and fruity? Or perhaps it’s more intense. I didn’t realize there were so many nuances in olive oil.
A Blend of Our Own
Now that we were all experts in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, they let us create our own special blends with the varieties we’d tasted. They even provided a beautiful bottle for us to bring home. You may already know that EVOO is best for cooking, drizzling, and dressing. But did you know you can also use it to preserve leftover grilled or roasted vegetables? What about using it as a moisturizer for dry skin?
Perhaps I’ll try it with this recipe provided by Flavor Your Life:
- ¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 2 teaspoons chili powder (more if you like it spicy)
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 pound raw salmon
- In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, salt, black pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, celery seeds, ground coriander, and paprika.
- Rub the extra virgin olive oil into the salmon. Rub the dry spices over the top of the salmon. Let stand for 30 minutes to allow the spices to soak into the salmon to deepen the flavor.
- Grill over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes, until the flesh is flaky and cooked through.
- Best served warm with a crispy side salad.
Many thanks to FYL for inviting me to experience such an enlightening evening! Salute!