I’ve always loved food.
I even took Food Tech as an elective in high school because I thought it would mean an extra hour of eating twice a week (oh boy, was I wrong. Food tech is soo much more than just cooking and eating).
There are many types of cooking oils out there but Extra Virgin Olive (EVO) oil is coveted for its high antioxidant levels and health benefits such as reducing inflammation and helping our immune system1. It’s the main fat in the Mediterranean diet and MIND diet, a diet that is designed to reduce the risk of dementia.
Cobram’s EVO oil just happens to be Australia’s (if not the world’s) most awarded EVO. Usually, they have an in-person tasting to show off their new season oils but it’s moved online because of the pandemic.
I love their olive oil, supporting local Australian businesses and I had time to spare (with the lockdown) so I thought this would be a perfect chance to kill a couple birds with one stone.
Mise en place (before the session)
Before the session, they send you a package with 5 oils and some other goodies. There are four 50mL bottles of their new season extra virgin olive oil (including their ultra-premium Hojiblanca) with a rancid oil for comparison. The four Cobram EVOs were all freshly pressed earlier this year.
They also send samples of olive leaf tea and special offers which were a nice surprise.
Service (the tasting)
The session started with Cobram’s story and the health benefits of EVO. Then they debunked some EVO myths (apparently, you can deep-fry with EVO and it is safe2).
It’s safe to deep-fry with EVO
It was really interesting to notice the huge differences in the qualities of the different types of olive oils. Especially compared to the rancid one that they provided.
I had their olive oils with homemade Focaccia (because I like to go overboard when it comes to food).
Their chief oil maker even recommended some interesting pairings such as taking a thin slice of orange, covering it with cinnamon, some sugar and EVO or trying it with some dark chocolate.
The lightest oil was really light and almost refreshing. It didn’t feel like drinking oil at all and I somehow tasted tomato.
The classic oil was… a classic. I usually make salad dressing and cook with this type. But I did notice that the fresh one had a stronger smell and taste than the one that’s in my kitchen.
Next, the robust EVO is… very STRONG. The spiciness of the oil took us all by surprise. Lastly, their premium Hojiblanca oil had a different taste alltogether. I don’t know how to describe it other than “fresh”?
There was a huge difference in the qualities of the fresh EVO, especially when compared to a rancid one. The most obvious is firstly the colour (the rancid one was a weak yellow compared to Cobram’s vibrant green-ish yellow hue) and smell. There was no smell to the rancid oil. The second thing I noticed was the mouth-feel. Sipping this oil felt really greasy and coated my mouth the way that was like I drank a mouthful of canola oil.
I definitely would not recommend drinking rancid oil haha.
The pack down (conclusion)
For $10, I think that it was a great way to spend a Wednesday night while in lockdown. I learnt a lot and had some fun with the family.
If you have the time and money to spare, I think it would genuinely be an interesting experience. They have more upcoming virtual sessions here (I’m not affiliated with Cobram at all, I just really like their EVO!)
- Mazzocchi, A., Leone, L., Agostoni, C. and Pali-Schöll, I., 2019. The Secrets of the Mediterranean Diet. Does [Only] Olive Oil Matter?. Nutrients, [online] 11(12), p.2941. Available at: <https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/11/12/2941/htm>.
- Casal, S., Malheiro, R., Sendas, A., Oliveira, B. and Pereira, J., 2010. Olive oil stability under deep-frying conditions. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 48(10), pp.2972-2979.