Olive Oil Tasting Workshop

Do you want to improve your tasting ability? Ever wondered how to describe different food flavours? Want to pick a good olive oil from a bad one?

Many people find it difficult to describe flavours in food, but I believe that anyone can learn and improve with a little guidance and practice. This unique workshop is an opportunity to learn more about your senses while enjoying award-winning South Australian produce.

You’ll learn:

  • to improve your tasting ability
  • to appreciate olive oil
  • what makes a good (and bad) olive oil
  • how extra virgin olive oil is judged

You’ll sample:

  • oils fresh from 2016 harvest
  • award-winning oils and olives from South Australian producers
  • food made using quality olive products

This hands-on workshop is ideal for people wanting to learn more about olive oil and practice their tasting skills, especially those working in the food industry. Ticket $60 per person including light supper.

Olive Oil Tasting Workshop – Adelaide

Wednesday 17th August 2016 6:00-8:00pm

The Market Kitchen, Level 1 Adelaide Central Market

Book a seat


Beer Sensory Master Class

beer sensory_Goodieson 1 S








While wine festivals, lunches and dinners abound in South Australia, the opportunity to participate in a beer sensory master class is all too rare.

Taste, Smell, Texture…all your senses come into play when drinking beer. Harvest Festival in McLaren Vale provides an opportunity to learn more about the beer sipping experience with an educational sensory adventure guided by Jeff Goodieson of Goodieson Brewery and Briony Liebich of Flavour Logic. Continue reading →

Fleurieu Food Olive Awards 2015

Consumer education is recognised as one of the best ways to increase consumption of extra virgin olive oil, one of the healthiest and most versatile oils around. The Fleurieu Food organisation have found ways to involve regular shoppers in the regional olive awards taking place every spring. Continue reading →

Become a better taster

Try these tasting tips to help improve your tasting ability and memory of food/drink flavours and other perceptions. This brief summary derives from my experience training taste panels to describe various foods and wines over the years. They are good practices to remember when you are trying to communicate what you see, smell, taste and feel when eating and drinking. Continue reading →

Fresh, fruity and bitter: Olive Oil or Beer?

EVOO cup olivesbeer tasting line up





Judging Olive Oil and Beer

I have been fortunate to participate in judging beer and extra virgin olive oil for national competitions. The Royal Adelaide Beer & Cider Awards are held in July each year and the Royal Adelaide Olive Awards take place in August.

As in all good competitions that rely on comparing taste, the samples are presented blind-coded in such a way that judges are only aware of the award category and style. In both competitions, samples are scored using a 20 point system for sensory quality and overall impression by panels of at least four experienced judges. Scores take into account aroma, flavour, mouthfeel and overall impression factoring in balance, intensity, flavour persistence (or length) and complexity. Beer judging also considers appearance in terms of colour, clarity and carbonation.

The more I reflect on my judging experiences, the more I think how similar the sensory profiles of judging olive oils and beer actually are. Extra Virgin Olive Oils and hoppy beers share many similar flavours other than their lingering bitter aftertaste.

Describing Olive Oil and Beer

In terms of sensory descriptors, I have lumped the similarities of extra virgin olive oil and beer into three broad flavour categories:

1. Freshness – fresh is best when it comes to consuming olive oil and beer. Both should be bought fresh when you need them and avoid letting them sit around for longer than 6 months, especially in places where excess heat, sunlight or harsh fluorescent lighting can seriously change the flavour of the liquid. By the way, these damaging light affects are why most beers and olive oils are packed in dark glass bottles. There is a growing trend towards more beers being packed in cans which, in my experience, help keep beers fresher for longer. Oils are also suitable for packing in cans or metal tins, with stainless steel preserving freshness the best.

2. Fruitiness – the array of fruity flavours that appear in both olive oil and beer are amazingly similar. In oil it is due to the variety and ripeness of the olives as well as the growing and processing conditions. Beers showcase fruity aromas and flavours due to their fermentation process and hop additions. One of the most recognised fruity esters in beers is isoamyl acetate, smelling of ‘banana confection’ (common in Wheat beers), which I have perceived in many fresh good quality oils as ‘green banana’ notes. Many Australian Style Pale Ales can smell and taste like citrus, apple or tropical fruits, which are all common in olive oil taste notes.

3. Bitterness – the levels of bitterness in beers and olive oils actually define their styles. All beer judging competitions I’ve been involved with allow judges to refer to beer style guidelines which always list an acceptable IBU (International Bitterness Units) range for the style. Oil styles are classified by bitterness levels from delicate oils with low bitterness to more strongly flavoured robust oils displaying high levels of bitterness that builds up in the back of your mouth.

So next time you drink a fresh hoppy beer or drizzle your local freshly harvested olive oil on food, take time out to think about and compare these flavour groups and remember – fresh is best!

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