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  OIL CULTURE
  The Olive Tree
Oil Production
Storing Oil
Olive Oil
Recurring Terminology
Tasting
Olive Oil and Health
In the Kitchen and on the Table

Tasting
In order to be appreciated and assessed overall, olive oil must be sipped alone and uncooked.

Combining it with bread is, on the other hand, the most natural and appetizing gastronomic combination.

The chemical analysis of the oil consider analytical parameters such as acidity, the ultraviolet spectrophotometric test and the number of peroxides.

The oils are also subjected to sensory or organoleptic analysis using the panel test method.


SENSORY ANALYSIS
MAIN POSITIVE ATTRIBUTES OF THE EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
MAIN NEGATIVE ATTRIBUTES OF THE OIL

SENSORY ANALYSIS
The sensory analysis assesses the oil involving human senses, in this case they are used as measuring instruments. Although anyone can attempt the challenge of oil tasting and forming their own personal opinion, it is undisputed that important and reliable results can be obtained from recognized professional tasters as recorded in the National Register of Olive Oil Tasters, whose qualifications and judgments have been coded by the International Olive Council. Professional tasting entails an in-depth awareness of the senses, the procedures to be carried out and the conditions to be complied with, as well as a wealth of experience and the acquired ability needed to correctly and harmoniously be aware of sensations.

Olive oil tasting mainly involves the senses of smell, taste and sight.
Tasting glasses Nose and olfactive analysis.
The oil must be poured into a glass and warmed slightly (about 20 ml/ one spoonful). One hand should cover the glass to prevent the volatile aromatic substances from being lost, while the other should hold the bottom of the glass, shaking it slightly so as to warm the oil by the heat from the hand (the ideal temperature is 28°C). Immediately afterwards the glass must be brought to the nose and the taster inhales, trying to take in all positive or negative aromatic sensations. If necessary this can be repeated several times.

Palate and taste analysis.
Take a mouthful of oil, without swallowing, first slowly and delicately sucking and then gradually becoming more vigorous. At the same time breathe in so that the oil is oxygenated and move it around the whole mouth cavity and taste buds. In thus doing, all the tactile (fluidity, consistency and smoothness) and taste (sweet, bitter, spicy and salty) sensations will be noticed. This is the most critical but also the most important phase during which the merits and defects in the oil become clear.

Sight and visual analysis.
This phase is noticeably less important than the other two as appearance is not necessarily an indication of quality; in fact, on the contrary, it can influence and distort assessment. And this is why colored (blue or brown) glasses are used, and the visual appearance of the oil is only revealed at the end. At this point the clarity, density and color of the oil are assessed.
THE MAIN POSITIVE ATTRIBUTES OF THE EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL ARE:
  • Bitter, characteristic taste of the oil obtained from green or unripe olives; it can be more or less agreeable depending upon the intensity.
  • Astringency, an oil produced from unripe olives, it is especially full of polyphenols which are responsible for the sensation much like the sharp taste of unripe fruit.
  • Artichoke, a very pleasant flavor of artichoke found in fresh oils that have only just been produced.
  • Sweet, pleasant flavor of the oil obtained from fully ripe olives in which, without exactly being sugary, the bitter, astringent, spicy aspects do not dominate.
  • Grass, characteristic flavor of oils recalling freshly cut green grass.
  • Aromatic herbs, characteristic flavor recalling aromatic herbs.
  • Flowers, oil flavor which generally recalls flowers, also referred to as “flowery”.
  • Fruity, oil flavor which recalls the aroma and taste of healthy, fresh fruit picked when perfectly ripe.
  • Almond, this flavor can manifest itself in two ways: typically of fresh almonds, or alternatively of dried almonds, which can be confused with incipient rancidity.
  • Apple, oil flavor recalling fresh apples.
  • Walnut, oil flavor recalling walnut kernels.
  • Pungent, pungent flavor is normally linked to fruity and grassy oils obtained from olives that are still green.
  • Tomato, oil flavor typical of the tomato leaf.
  • Rounded, tending to sweetness, without pungent traits.
  • Live, a fresh oil which has a good aromatic aroma that remains stable over time is referred to as "live".
THE MAIN NEGATIVE ATTRIBUTES OF THE OIL ARE:
  • Unripe or Acrid , characteristic of some oils which, upon being tasted, produce an astringent feeling in the mouth.
  • Vegetable water, characteristic flavor acquired by the oil due to poor decanting or prolonged contact with vegetable water.
  • Vinegary, characteristic flavor of some oils recalling wine or vinegar. This is basically due to the alcoholic fermentation of the sugars with the subsequent formation of acetic acid, ethyl acetate and ethanol in larger quantities than normal.
  • Cucumber, typical trait of oil which has remained hermetically sealed for a long time, particularly in cans.
  • Cooked, this is the typical trait of oil that has been subjected to excessive and prolonged heating during extraction.
  • Metallic, flavor recalling metal, a characteristic of oil that has been in contact with metal surfaces for a long period in unsuitable conditions during the various production phases.
  • Muddy, characteristic of oils left on the settled sludge or oils that have remained too long in contact with their own sediment.
  • Mold - Humidity, characteristic flavor of oil obtained from fruit in which a lot of fungus and yeast has developed through having been heaped up for many days in a humid atmosphere. Remember the sensation that you feel on entering a humid atmosphere which has been shut up for a long time.
  • Rancid, characteristic flavor common to all oils and fats which have undergone self-oxidation due to prolonged contact with air, light and heat.
  • Heated, characteristic flavor of oil obtained from olives heaped up that have suffered an early degree of fermentation (lactic); it is often accompanied by mold and a vinegary flavor.
  • Earth, oil flavor obtained from olives gathered from the ground and not cleaned.
  • Worm, characteristic flavor of olive oil obtained from olives attacked by the larvae of the oil fly.
   
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