By Kyle Peacock
Ever try something straight from the source? It's one of the best ways to feel all of the product's power and appreciate its essence. Water, honey or even salt are often discussed, but the sweet sap from olive oil is an element overlooked.
You might be surprised by the heat residue left tingling on your tongue after drinking a small portion of olive oil. The true power of olive oil is often masked by other harsher flavors in dishes. If you learn to use the oil as a boat instead of just the water underneath one, you can enhance your dishes to another level.
My first time tasting extra virgin olive oil was strange. The little plastic cup filled with a murky green liquid made my stomach churn. The viscosity resembled that of water, but the color was as if your allergies came early. The silky liquid had a shiny skin, but once you peered deeper into the abyss, you found darkness. The light shining on the oil made the color shift from shining green to dark, and the murky mud made you wonder what secrets lie beyond.
The summer seasons always have a certain smell. The leaves leave their musky sweet aroma, filling the air. The dry air carries their scent into your nose, and you can practically smell the trees talking. This olive oil had the exact smell of a tree during summer. The dry smell caused the sensation of heat that tingles your nose hairs.
Tasting the olive oil took my taste buds on a roller coaster. The ascent began with an unexpected smile. You start with a thin layer of liquid on your tongue. It tastes a bit like the cup it had been sitting in. Then, you can taste the sweet berries that must have grown down the street from the olives. The wind carries the aroma of the fresh berries to the growing olives leaving your taste buds with a hint of earthiness for a brief moment. You think the experience is over, and as your tongue starts to settle down, you get an itch. There is a smooth and gentle wave of heat that lingers on your tongue.
The texture cannot be described with any other word than silky. It felt like fresh sheets on your body after a shower. The oil had the same effect as when you eat a big scoop of peanut butter. There seems to always be a layer of peanut hidden in crevices of your mouth.
You go along with the rest of the day, but the olive oil is like a crazy ex-girlfriend who wants you to remember her. She is always in the back of your mouth and the tip of your tongue, reminding you of the great times that you shared. The olive oil seemed to enhance each dish eaten afterward.
The intense ride of olive oil is something often overlooked. Instead of a sharp, fast climb of flavors and sensations that we are used to, olive oil takes a smooth and gentle journey across your palate. The smooth ride could be too slow for some, but for those who think life is worth the wait, it’s worth every minute.
Editors: Grace Tipps, Aly O'Shea, Taylor Glissman
Photographers: David Reinhart and Emily Turner