We are incredibly proud to have gotten 76 out of 100 score for our Orange Blend and thus awarded a Silver status from the Dutch Olive Oil Institute.
What does this mean?
Last year my dear friend and sommelier colleague Wilma van Grinsven-Padberg announced the start of an official tasting panel in the Netherlands. Great news as the quality and volume of consumption in the Netherlands leave room for improvement.
Due to the law in Portugal we always get our official technical analysis at LET ISA Lisbon. They do all the official tests necessary to commercialise and qualify olive oils. For a small farmer these costs are enormous because you don't pay per volume, but you pay per sample/batch, even if it is as little as a 100 liters. Without these tests you are NOT allowed to sell your olive oil. And there are many more laws applicable that unfortunately we see many small producers not living up to.
So what do we need to test each year?
To determine (extra) virgin quality we check the Physical/Chemical parameters: Acidity, Peroxide Values, K232,K270, Delta K, Waxes and Alkyl Esters.
Plus: Organoleptic analysis, simply meaning: a test by smell and taste performed by an official tasting panel. Anybody that tells you that the olive oil is extra virgin because the acidity is below 0.8 is just not educated and you will most likely buy virgin instead of extra virgin...
So the outcome?
We get a little bit more details in the notes from the panel, like how in competitions also we get these kind of scores. What we notice is a little less balance in the mouth, very correct as we make our Orange blend with and eye on our consumer, avoiding too much bitter flavours in our medium /allround blend. So the blend is made with spicy notes coming from Cordovil and Cobrancosa and we have mellowed it down with Galega and give it the fresh aromatic nose of Verdeal.
And as you can see this is exactly what the outcome is :
So, why not Gold you may ask? I asked myself the same and Wilma and me had a good discussion about this. In competitions and according to the industry this is just how we score and unfortunately this will mean that "off-balanced" and delicate varieties such as Galega will always have difficulties in this scene of judging. Bronze, silver or gold are all excellent, only bronze and silver will be a little less balanced then a gold. So, it is just as important to buy those rather than just always choosing gold awarded olive oils. After all, an olive oil is a natural, fresh juice and every year us producers just try to do our best to preserve the flavours as good as we can.
Some ground rules for culinary use?
Delicate oils for delicate dishes like, soft /fresh cheese, white fish, beans & cake baking,
Medium oils for your everyday kitchen like soups, pasta, salads, chicken & seafood
Intense oils for intense flavours and cooking techniques like salted cod, old cheese, grilling vegetable & meat. We have some great tips on our product presentation page.
We are incredibly proud the Dutch Panel is doing a great job and is in line with the other accredited laboratories around. And obviously for producers like us this institute will help understand our decisions on blending and quality and also proving to the Dutch consumers we have an excellent quality olive oil to offer!