I have to admit (as I mentioned in the previous blog entry) I was a bit hesitant about going to an olive oil tasting. After all, filling my mouth with the heavy olive-y stuff didn't sound quite appealing.
Arriving at the Murmuri hotel apartments, we piled into a teenie elevator and made our way to the first floor. What should have been a short trip up felt like eternity. I held my breath during the journey, since I didn't want any strange nasal whistling (thanks to some kind of summer hayfever that has attacked me) to freak out the ladies next to me.
Stepping out of the elevator, we were greeted by a handful of jovial older people in suits and asked to enter a small conference room, where a screen and projector were set up for a PowerPoint presentation (didn't expect that). We were offered beverages, then sat down for the presentations.
First up was Dama de Elaia owner, Josep Safont, who began in Catalan, then was cued to change to Spanish. After Safont, we were educated on olive cultivation and oil production throughout the world (my head went a bit dizzy between figures of hectares of land and tons of oil). I did learn though that olives and olive oil can be produced in places including the Eastern United States (who knew?). After that, it was time for the "science guy" and some experimenting.
We learned the locations of different tastebuds, about the lives of professional tasters and then did our own tasting. We were told to "not be shy," and let Mr. Science know what we smelled and tasted. I blurted out "tomatoes, it smells like tomatoes" for the first one, a guy two seats over agreed, others however seemed to smell and taste hints of bananas (sorry, never got to smelling or tasting that).
This is where things took a bit of a wrong turn. As my colleague made a desperate get-me-out-of-here-now-I-don't-want-to-miss-the-Brazil-Chile-World-Cup-match face, we had to endure participants asking questions, to which The Scientist went off on lengthy tangents to answer. However, we were rewarded a few moments later with catering and wine.
The fare at these kinds of presentations is usually almost non-existent and what little is served is typically of poor quality. Not only that, but people seem to turn vulture-like, sweeping in and knocking others over for the less-than-par eats (especially the men). The food at this event, put on by the quirky folks at Flan Sin Nata, was EXCELLENT: jamón serrano, croquettes, chicken with coconut, tuna with mint, K-Naia white tine, even the dessert was divine. The food came from the Murmuri kitchen, which offers its catering services to parties in and outside of the hotel (contact them through Flan Sin Nata, or the hotel restaurant).
All in all, I was well-impressed by the olive oil tasting (I am even contemplating looking into becoming a professional taster).