I must admit I love Italian cuisine. And this ravioli with butternut pumpkin and ricotta was perfect for lunch. Or…… https://t.co/Scq9c245i0
Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) adds its own special magic to any dish. Full of tantalising flavour and aroma, it is high in monounsaturated fatty acids. EVOO is the central component of the Mediterranean Diet which continues to top the charts for its longevity powers. It boasts a higher level of polyphenol antioxidants than regular olive oils and I love it drizzled over ripe tomatoes with basil or in a vinaigrette salad dressing. When I received a box of five fresh new season oils from Cobram, I invited a couple of foodie friends to do a blind olive oil tasting. Here’s how we rated the oils.
Best consumed fresh
Olive oil is best consumed when it’s fresh so I’m loving the new labelling on Australian brands that tells me its year of harvest. Being Australian grown and bottled, I know these oils are on the supermarket shelves faster than the imported Spanish or Italian oils. What’s more, I’m supporting Australian growers and minimising my food miles.
Cobram say it’s important to consume their EVOO within four weeks of opening the bottle - something difficult to achieve in a two-person household. Still I trust it keeps well in a cool cupboard in its dark-green bottle.
Cobram, a major Australian olive oil supplier, does everything related to oil from planting and picking, to processing and bottling. Like many other EVOO, they are certified to carry the Australian Extra Virgin certification logo showing they’ve been fully analysed and checked as authentic.
How the olive oils compared
We taste tested five lovely Australian extra-virgin olive oils side by side, starting with the Light and ending with the two Premium bottles. All were from Cobram and all were from the 2014 olive harvest. The two tasters were blinded in that all they could see were the codes A, B, C, D and E on five identical bowls. I offered a fine crusty wholemeal bread for dipping. Here’s how we rated them:
Light 8 out of 10
As expected, this was the lightest in colour with a warm golden hue. We found it grassy to sniff and surprisingly (to us) it had a lovely balance and great flavour.
Classic 7 out of 10
Another lightish-coloured oil. However it fell from favour due to a sharp aftertaste. Not unpleasant, just noticeable after the Light.
Robust 5 out of 10
Darker in colour, this oil did live up to its label and was almost too strong and overpowering. We certainly picked up a hit of lingering pepper in its flavour profile.
Ultra-Premium Hojiblanca 9 out of 10
Lovely grassy aroma, with a cloudy, murky look in the bowl which may put some people off – but not us. It had a mellow flavour without acidity. It was strong on the taste buds but very agreeable. This is a specialist bottling of this single-olive variety.
Ultra-Premium Picual 5 out of 10
Clearer and lighter in colour than the Hojiblanca and had a quite bitter aftertaste to it which we didn’t like.
These last two are from Cobram’s Reserve Label, which is a range of premium Extra Virgin Olive Oils that are produced using a selection of olives that were picked at optimum ripeness and ultra cold pressed on site within four hours of picking. This method delivers exceptionally fragrant, complex and flavoursome extra virgin olive oils – which we agreed with!
We also enjoyed these two as a vinaigrette dressing and drizzled over sliced tomatoes with boconcini and basil leaves.
The bottom line
We really loved the Ultra-Premium Hojiblanca which is reflected in its higher price - $19.99 for 500mL compared to $6-7 for the regular everyday 375mL. All were lovely so it just depends what you prefer and want to cook with as to which you go with. To my surprise our second favourite turned out to be the Cobram Light which was very balanced with no aftertaste.
Thank you to my fellow tasters Katie McMurray from KatieMacPublicity (and a huge olive oil fan) and Gaby Oporto, Recipe Developer @ForeverFOODS.
Thank you to Cobram for the five bottles pictured. I also bought another lot of the three 375mL bottles at my supermarket and I often buy Cobram for our kitchen.