Yep that’s right, you read that correctly – An Olive Oil Tasting tour! Portugal is known for its olive oil so it made sense that during my time in Porto I sample some of its amazing goodness. You can find tours easily on Viator or TripAdvisor if you would like to combine it with some port or wine tasting as well (something that I also highly recommend) or you can just head to Oliva & Co in the heart of Porto. This place is uniquely set up for people to try some of Portugal’s best Olive Oils in a way that expands your palate into true appreciation.
So what did I learn during my olive oil tasting tour?
- There are many different types of olive oil… and I don’t just mean the types that are infused with something else, like garlic or chilli. There are many different types of straight olive oil
- There is a tasting palate for olive oil similar to how we judge wine. You can have fruity or nutty flavoured olive oil… or you can have the not so nice tasting “dung” flavoured olive oil.
- Most olive oils are a combination of different varieties of olives. It is very rare to get single olive blends of olive oil
- Olive oil changes it flavour when tasted on its own Vs with bread.
- Matching the flavour of the olive oil to the food will not only enhance the food but also enhance the flavour of the olive oil
- Without having adding in any chilli, olive oil can be quite spicy and catch in the back of your throat.
- You can make tea from olive leaves which is both refreshing and healthy
- There is a type of olive that can only be found in Portugal – which is a crime as it is so delicious that it should be shared with the rest of the world.
What I found most interesting was discovering that my palate preferred the more “spicy” or bitter types of olive oil while most of my tasting companions palates preferred the “sweeter” or more delicate olive oils. It was fun trying each type, starting from sweet and ending in the most “spicy” – it taught me a lot about my own tongue and what flavours resonate most with me.
Why do an olive oil tasting tour in Portugal?
- It’s something different!
- Olives are a huge part of Portuguese cuisine, in learning about olive oil you also learn a little about their history, eating habits and culture.
- It’s delicious and cheap
- Unlike a wine tasting tour you don’t end up drunk scoffing a kebab or a pizza at the end of it
If you are planning a trip to Portugal I definitely recommend spending some time sampling their delicious olive oil selections. And while you are at it also indulge in eating as many olives as you possibly can as nowhere else in the world will you be able to eat them in such abundance for such a great price. Every time I eat a less than “average” olive I am going to pine lovingly for Portugal where every single olive was spectacular!