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Olive Oil Tastings in Edmonton (or Calgary)?

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I read an article in today's edition of the Edmonton Journal concerning the owner of the Black Olive in Victoria who brings his own olive oil from Greece and sells the same to customers.

That got me to thinking because although I use a fair amount of olive oil I do not know much about it apart from the standard acidity levels and cold, first press v. pomace factors.

I have to confess I usually decline the saucer of generic olive oil infused with a commercial grade of balsamic vinegar as I do not like the taste nor the smell.

However, a few years ago I had lunch at a nice seafood restaurant in Montreal (Peel Street I think between Rue Ste. Catherine and de Maisoneuve) where the olive oil was outstanding.

It was like liquified arugula, green and peppery. Great with bread and on a salad. The restaurant sold about 4 brands and I kicked myself later for not having picked up some but the thought of the bottle breaking in my hand luggage discouraged me.

I buy the generic quality for everyday cooking but am wondering if anyone can suggest a place where higher quality olive oils can be tasted because there can be quite a difference in taste...preferences...and of course, price.

I know that Spinelli's and Hellas Food have good selections and I occasionally pick up a small bottle of higher priced olive oil for salads but a tasting as can be done with wine and cheese in some locations, would be nice before opening one's wallet.

Any thoughts?

I am in Edmonton so that is my primary interest but if Calgarians can suggest an option there, I may be able to work that into my next trip "south".

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  1. Bite in Calgary will let you sample their high-end olive oil and balsamic vinegar before you buy.

    1. Bob - I was at an olive oil tasting at Bin 104 in November. Not a lot of samples, but a good demonstration of the difference between 'new world' and 'old world' - similar to wines, with the new being more fruity and upfront, but less complex. They were paired with a variety of wines and snacks. They would probably do it again if there was interest. I think at that event someone also mentioned Italian Centre planning something (though it might have been a balsamic tasting).

      Nextt time you are in Calgary, check out the oil selection at Cookbook Co. - they had several open bottles that you could sample before buying. I got a couple of really interesting spanish oils there.

      1. Anyone heard anything about any upcoming tastings, particularly in Edmonton? I recently came back from Spain and tasted a couple of different oils there, and would be interested in learning more.