Extra Virgin Olive Oil Tasting: An Introduction with Sarah Wolferstan - Context Travel

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Tasting: An Introduction with Sarah Wolferstan


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Do you know what good olive oil tastes like? If you don’t, you may be missing out on not only its fruity, bitter, peppery notes but also its health benefits. When we taste Extra Virgin Olive Oil, we are tasting its terroir: a liquid landscape made up of the soil, the air, the sun, the plants surrounding the olive tree, a particular cultivar, or a blend of several. Join EVOO expert Sarah Wolferstan for a tasting lesson on Mediterranean olive oils.

We will start with a brief history of olive oil production in the Mediterranean and unpick the differences in categories of oils depending on how they are harvested, milled, bottled, and stored. Then we will discuss how to taste EVOO and learn how to identify an oil’s qualities or defects. We will do a comparative tasting of at least three different oils, which you can buy in advance if you choose.

We will discuss top tips for choosing an oil, understanding labels, and how to judge price factors. We will be introduced to the world of EVOO Sommeliers and find out how to pair our olive oils with different dishes. Finally, we will discuss some of the myths surrounding cooking with olive oils, looking at smoking points and cooking techniques to ensure you get the most from this fresh juice’s famed health benefits.

Led by an expert on Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Cultural Heritage Studies, Sarah Wolferstan, this interactive seminar will introduce participants to the different tastes of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the Mediterranean. Designed to inform curiosity and future travels, participants will come away with an increased knowledge of how olive oil is produced, how to taste it, its health benefits, and advice on how to choose, cook, pair, and store EVOO to keep it at its best.

Oil Tasting Instructions

Please plan to have at least 2 Extra Virgin Olive Oils from different groups to compare. Our oils will taste slightly different - even two bottles from the same company can differ - and each person will note different things - but we will be able to observe similarities and compare. You won’t need much oil so small bottles are fine, but remember, the oil will last you a few months, you can cook with them, and so hopefully these are good investments. 

You will need as many small glasses as you have oils, and if you want to taste like a pro then have a green apple, or a bottle of fizzy water, to hand (optional). 

Suggested Extra Virgin Oil Varieties:

  • Californian or Spanish Arbequina
  • Californian or Italian Tuscan IGP or blend
  • Californian or Greek Koroneiki

Participants will receive a full list of oil recommendations after enrollment.  These websites are good resources for online purchase of EVOO:

  • UK https://shop.zooteek.co.uk/artajo10/880-1097-artajo8-250ml-4-tins-pack.html#/16-unit_or_box-unit
  • USA https://www.cooc.com/2019-harvest-seal-certified-oils/

Sarah Wolferstan has a BA Hons degree in Archaeology and Anthropology from Cambridge University (1999) and an MA in Cultural Heritage Studies from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London (2005), where she now works on European strategic partnership projects. Sarah first visited Sicily as an archaeology student, and after a stretch in the UK, she returned to Italy with her Sicilian husband in order to manage and improve the family's groves. She qualified as an Olive Oil taster in 2015, and returned to the UK where she set up a company - Alivu Ltd - to import the family's oil, running tasting and educational events in person and online. She has taught on Cultural Heritage and Heritage Management MA courses and is currently a visiting scholar on the Managing Archaeological Sites MA, and lectures on archaeology and olive oil for various foodie organisations, including ‘Terroir Hospitality’, and the ‘Cook the Farm’ intensive course run by the ‘Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School’ in Sicily.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
83%
(5)
0%
(0)
17%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
T
T.D.
A rich experience

This was a fantastic virtual tour of olive oil from the its historical and heritage roots through to an experiential experience of tasting and selecting oils. Highly recommend for olive novices and experienced buffs alike.

B
B.C.
Great class. Fun, informative and will be very useful.

This class will inform my EVOO purchasing and enjoyment

S
S.T.
A well-informed engaging session!

Sarah is not only an expert in and lover of olive oil, she also has the gift of conveying her passion and information in a very interactive and enjoyable manner. Time flew by and I wanted more!

M
M.C.
Loved everything!

I loved Sarah's extensive knowledge and passion for olive oil as well as the fascinating history and how it has impacted civilizations around the world

N
N.B.
EVOO

I found this presentation very interesting and useful. Sarah has a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm on the the subject of EVOO.

Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
83%
(5)
0%
(0)
17%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
T
T.D.
A rich experience

This was a fantastic virtual tour of olive oil from the its historical and heritage roots through to an experiential experience of tasting and selecting oils. Highly recommend for olive novices and experienced buffs alike.

B
B.C.
Great class. Fun, informative and will be very useful.

This class will inform my EVOO purchasing and enjoyment

S
S.T.
A well-informed engaging session!

Sarah is not only an expert in and lover of olive oil, she also has the gift of conveying her passion and information in a very interactive and enjoyable manner. Time flew by and I wanted more!

M
M.C.
Loved everything!

I loved Sarah's extensive knowledge and passion for olive oil as well as the fascinating history and how it has impacted civilizations around the world

N
N.B.
EVOO

I found this presentation very interesting and useful. Sarah has a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm on the the subject of EVOO.