Madrid Seeks the ‘Perfect’ Olive Oil
By Naomi Tupper
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Santander
The Spanish capital has carried out olive oil tastings in shopping centers throughout the city to determine what locals consider to be best characteristics of extra virgin olive oil , all in a bid to create a new ‘super’ oil.
After six years of research, The Madrid Institute for Research and Rural Development, Agriculture and Food have prepared a variety of coupages, or mixtures, of extra virgin olive oils from the region, made with different varieties of olives, harvested at their prime. A multidisciplinary team made up of biologists, chemical engineers and agronomists were responsible for the selection of the best produce available in the 25 thousand hectares of olive fields located in the Community of Madrid to make up the five mixed varieties. All the mixtures on offer for tasting included the Cornicabra olive variety as a base, which is produced by the majority of farms in the region.
Local consumers from a variety of socioeconomic and age profiles were given the opportunity to taste and give their opinion on the characteristics of each mix, in order to determine the olive oil sensory profile which was the most popular and therefore the most likely to be purchased among the Spanish population. Tasters had the opportunity to sample oils of both mild and stronger intensity that varied in color, some of which also had a spicy quality, with results indicating that overall the mild-flavored oils were deemed the most popular.
The research was designed with the idea that, from mixes of single varietal olive oils produced locally, a new ‘super’ olive oil could be created based on the preferences of local consumers, which will hopefully become a best seller around Spain. The recipe for the unique oil will have specifically controlled collection times and strict parameters for the olive varieties and qualities that have been used in the primary oils before mixing so as to produce a uniform product and to give the consumers what they want, every time. Based on the consumer research, it seems likely that the new variety will have a mild flavor when it hits supermarket shelves.
This article was last updated June 3, 2013 - 10:55 AM (GMT-5)