Olive oil seminars this February

Olive oil seminars this February

Dear friends and olive oil enthusiasts, 

Greetings from the LAI grove (picture below) with current temperatures 10°C- 12°C degrees. 

LAI grove, current temperatures 10°C- 12°C.

This month we are attending the fantastic olive oil seminars organised in collaboration with Vasilios Fratzolas (Olive oil taster and quality consultant- M.Sc. Food Policy) to further enrich our knowledge on best practices on olive oil.  

So far, in the 3-day-long course (out of the 6 days total), we heard from the following inspiring olive oil professionals: 
  • 🧪Emmanuel Salivaras- founder of multichtrom.lab (chemical and organoleptic evaluation)
  • 🤓Vasilis Frantzolas- founder of oliveoilseminars.com 
  • 🥼Agusti Romero Aroca from the IRTA Institute of Agrifood Reseach and Technology in Catalonia and
  • 👃🏽Carlotta Pasetto- ONAOO taster

Key take aways in a nutshell:

  • characteristics of olive oil (fruitiness, bitterness, pungency) 
  • grades of olive oil based on their characteristics (EVOO, Virgin, Lampante) 
  • the positive & negative attributes of quality olive oil 
  • chemical and organoleptic analysis and what it shows us about the olive oil and its production processes 🧪🥼
  • All the factors that may affect the quality of your olive oil from harvest to the bottling process.
  • best practices in the olive mill (e.g. malaxation temperatures used & duration for specific olive oil varieties)
  • best practices for the collection of olives (when, how, what kind of transportation storage containers to use etc) 🚚
  • 🌎In the course of the 3 days we got to taste over 30 different olive oils from across the world, ranging from outstanding quality EVOOs around the world, as well as getting to taste lampante olive oils in order to learn and be able to distinguish what defects they have.🥴  
  • 💸We had a short overview of the olive oil economy 
Photo from the classroom: olive oil tasting glasses with lids (IOC/DSE specifications) 

Picture above Agusti Romero depicts in a graph the defects of olive oil. 

Picture above with Carlotta Pasetto explaining the different classification of olive oils according the the aroma intensity of fruitiness and defects (Reg. 1348/2013)

➡️The characteristics of olive oil: 

  • 🍏Fruitines (these are the aromas you can smell) 👃🏽
    The desirable characteristics of aromas include: artichoke, fresh-cut grass, tomato leaf, herbs, cinammon, pine, unripe banana, unripe olive, green almond, green apple, walnut shell, nutty, citrus, pepper etc.
    Negative characteristics: rancid, fusty, musty, winey, vinegary, frozen fruit (wet wood) 
  • 👄Bitterness (sensation felt in your mouth) 
  • 🌶️Pungency (sensation felt in your throat) 

➡️ What can affect the quality of olive oil?

Even if the olives are perfect, the quality of olive oil can be altered from various factors such as:

  • 📅When the collection occurs (in which month)
  • 🖐🏽How the olives are collected (what tools are used)
  • plastic storage containers are prefered rather than the fabric sacks. This is the case because the sacks don't let the olives breath, the combination of sun and fabric will cause an increase in temperature and oxidize the olives faster 
  • ⏱️ duration from harvest to mill- the longer you wait the more oxidized the olives will get- so one needs to transport the olives within hours to the mill
  • olive mill (exposure to air, malaxation temperature according to variety, previous producer's patch, other factors like exposure to CO2 from a car near the door etc.) 
  • once the olives are pressed, the oil needs to be tranported for bottling (materials of storage containers used to tranport oil can contaminate the olive oil) 
  • shelf storage conditions in supermarkets (avoid direct sunlight)

As consumers you can also affect the quality of olive oil. If you would like to obtain its optimum quality for a longer period of time, you should watch for the following:  

  • 💨Air exposure (always close lid properly) 
  • ☀️Sun light exposure (store in a dark space)  
  •  🌡️ Temperature (store at 16°C-18°C) 


    About the Seminars

    These seminars take place every year, during February for two weekends and some classes are offered online. The seminars are held in English and Greek. Find out more here: Olive Oil Seminars – Σεμινά​ρια επαγγελματικού επιπέδου για παραγωγούς και ελαιοτριβεία απο την ομάδα του Βασίλη Φραντζολά​

    Picture above from the first round of tests. 

    📚Further recommended readings:

    1. Σύγχρονες Τεχνικές Ελαιοκομίας και Παραγωγής Ποιοτικού Ελαιολάδου (3η έκδοση) – Olive Oil Seminars

    2.Σύγχρονες τεχνικές για το κλάδεμα της ελιάς ( 4η έκδοση ) – Olive Oil Seminars

    Olive oil tasting cups can be ordered here

    The picture above depicts one of the various tests conducted for the participants. Cups are placed in order of aroma intensity (left-hand side, strongest intensity of smell and right-hand side, weakest intensity of smell). The participant has to turn around, so that they are not facing the cups, the examiner picks one sample and places it infront of the participant. The gap of the choosen sample disappears by placing all the remaining cups closer to each other. The participant turns around, now facing all the samples and smells the one sample the examiner chose for them. Based on the intensity of smell only, the participant has to find the correct position of the sample (the level of aroma intensity).    

    Cannot wait to hear the rest of the lectures this weekend 😍 

    Where you can find our olive oil:

    You can purchase our the LAI EVOO directly from our website here

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