Appreciating olive oil as you would a fine wine

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The way the experts taste olive oil is a lot like how experts taste wine.
Pour the oil into a small bowl or cup; warm it in your hand and swirl it around, coating the sides. Smell the oil slowly, then suck it into your mouth and try to coat as much of your mouth as possible, then exhale.

When you do this with a prized olive oil, you may notice more when you smell, not when you taste – trying a few winners, I was reminded of the scent of a freshly mowed lawn.

Olive oil has a shelf life.
It should be used within two years — unless it’s marked as Arbequina olive oil, a more fragile type that should be used up within a year. Store it in a cool, dark place in the pantry (not the refrigerator, which is too cold, Jenkins says). Prized oils can be expensive – we tried a French oil that was $24.99 for a 500-milliliter bottle – but Jenkins says you can pay as low as $10 for a one-liter bottle of good extra-virgin oil at Fairway.

OK, you say. So I’m having a dinner party and want a good extra-virgin olive oil for bread. Where do I even start?

Jenkins says to start by noting the region that the olive oil was produced.

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