Keen to learn about the craft of blending extra virgin olive oil? Golden, flavourful and full of plant-based nutrients, most extra virgin olive oils (EVOOs) are ‘mixes’ of different batches of oils milled from varying olive varieties. And it’s in this careful blending process that the real expertise begins.
At Allpress Olive Groves, our approach to blending is artisanal. All our oils are milled from 100% Waiheke Island-grown olives. The sunnier, dryer microclimate on Waiheke allows us to cultivate a wide variety of olives. We grow Ascolano, Frantoio, Picual, Verdale, Leccino and Pendolino varieties in our island olive groves.
We’re always looking to create a sense of flavour harmony when it comes to blending. What’s special about our range of blended EVOOs is that from season to season they’ll always be a little different, and they’ll always surprise us with something that tastes fresh and new. This year, it's tropical fruit.
Our small team of craft blenders have a breadth of experience. Anne, Russell and Darryl look after our olive groves, work the mill, plus blend, taste and test all our extra virgin olive oils. Anne was a founding member of Rangihoua Estate and has over 25 + years experience - she’s a true gem and EVOO expert with a rich and varied knowledge base.
Our blending process is rooted in a deep understanding of our Waiheke Island olive groves. Before we blend, we mill our olives at a ‘batch’ level. The batch refers to a particular yield of olives harvested from a specific olive grove. This level of traceability is rare by commercial standards. From a quality perspective, it means we can carefully monitor the unique characteristics of each batch to ensure consistency, freshness and flavour.
Tasting the batch
Each batch of EVOO is tasted in its purest form before we start blending. Tasting at a batch level allows us to identify its foundational flavour profile, usually classified as delicate, mild or intense. This also helps us to understand all the subtle nuances (and potential faults) of each batch, ensuring that only the most flavourful oils make it into our blends.
Blending for flavour
After tasting at a batch level, the craft of blending really kicks in. In this phase, we carefully start mixing compatible batches of EVOO together. Like wine, blending extra virgin olive oil is like making a layered cake. Getting the blend just right usually takes three or four rounds of mixing and adornment.
Aroma to taste
An important part of blending is what we call ‘the transfer of aroma to taste.’ We believe that a great extra virgin olive oil should taste as good as it smells. For example, if an EVOO exhibits an aroma of tropical fruit, we blend to ensure that the taste also reflects this unique characteristic. Blending is the craft that allows us to connect aroma and taste, and create distinctly flavourful Waiheke Island oils.
Our new season blends
All our blends have their own flavour profile and personality. This season, our range of blended EVOOs includes the Allpress Waiheke Blend, Allpress Harvest 22, Allpress Picual, Rangihoua Estate’s award-winning Frantoio Blend, the iconic number29 and more.
Why not make a day of it and visit us on Waiheke Island. Our warm and welcoming team would love to see you and guide you through a tasting. Alternatively, you can explore and shop our range of extra virgin olive oils online, click on the button below to shop now and receive free shipping for all NZ orders $50 and over until August 31st.