We are all familiar with the term sommelier, who is an expert in the taste, identification and pairing of wines. However, did you also know that you can be a sommelier for olive oil? These experts use their sight, smell and taste to identify, describe and certify olive oil as premium or extra virgin. They can even tell you what region the olive oil hails from. Below are some tips and advice to help you become an expert, even if it’s just for one day. Before you start you will need: A glass or dipping bowl, slices of apple, a glass of water, some paper and a pen to jot down your thoughts, Al’Ard Extra Virgin Olive Oil, bread and za’atar to mop up any remaining oil! 1. Pour a small amount of olive oil into a glass and inspect the color. 2. Cover the top of the glass with your palm and use your other hand to wrap around the glass to slowly warm the oil to body temperature, which will bring out all its attributes. 3. Release the hand on top. Sniff the oil and then recover the oil. Do this as many times as necessary to get a good smell. Jot down any thoughts you might have on the smell. 4. Then slowly sip the oil, ensuring it coats the entire inside of your mouth and moves slowly down your throat. A very fine olive oil will give a slight tingling/stinging sensation when it first touches your mouth. A rancid oil may feel greasy in your mouth. See the lists below of positive and negative attributes, make a note of those along with the notes you took for smell and color. 5. If you are trying more than one oil, then drink water and eat some apple in between each oil. 6. For a more casual tasting experience pour olive oil into some dipping bowls and serve with a good quality bread and maybe even a bit of za’atar. You can still use the tips below to talk about the oil. Sight Look at the olive oil while swirling it around in your glass, closely examine the color. Yellow- these oils come from more mature olives often picked in warmer climates and towards the end of the harvest. This may also be a sign that the oil is rancid, by being exposed to light, air or heat. Green- these are picked from younger olives often earlier in the harvest. These are less acidic and often make up a more premium olive oil.