From Wales to the Mediterranean – on an EVOO odyssey

I’m the first Certified Olive Oil Sommelier in Wales and am passionate about all things Olive Oil – from the top of the tree, first day of harvest, award-winning EVOOs (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) to the lowliest supermarket shelf oils. Good quality, extra virgin; that finest, defect-free, liquid gold, unadulterated oil made with passion and love is pure magic. It’s oily for sure, with fruity, grassy, nutty, peppery undertones.

“In 2016, I travelled to the beautiful shores of Lake Garda in Italy to train as one of the first Olive Oil Sommeliers with IRVEA’s Olive Oil Academy. This fantastic experience, learning with people from around the world including producers from Turkey, Spain, Australia, and the USA taught me how to smell and taste for Extra Virgin oil, how to identify defects and the importance of freshness and balance in quality oil. Since then, I’ve taken part in many fascinating EVOO courses and workshops, meeting and learning from the best in the field. I’ve even joined the ranks of judges as the only UK representative on the international pre-judging panel of the prestigious annual Armonia EVOO competition. Being part of the world of Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a lifetime commitment – I’m excited to be continuing to learn from the very best across the globe to bring you the most up to date information and products.”

And how did a Welsh woman become immersed in the world of olive oil? Well, my epiphany happened on the hot streets of Barcelona. A career in PR and marketing, business coaching, writing and teaching English, plus stints living in Vietnam and Spain, led me to a walking food tour of the vibrant Gracia district of Barcelona with the fabulous team at Devour. During 3.5 hours we met the people behind, and tasted some of the best tapas and other local delicacies; sampled jamons, cheeses, cavas, and olive oils and visited delis and neighbourhood markets that tourists seldom see.  Being surrounded by such an abundance of fresh food, meeting the producers and talking to experts awoke memories of the kitchens of my childhood in the Middle East, where olive oil is always a staple. Passion ignited, I made it my mission to learn all I could about this ancient food and share it with others.

So! If you are looking to sell your artisan EVOO in the UK, to source the perfect oil for your business, or you’re a consumer looking to buy and use some of the best oils available – then I hope you find a little of what you’re looking for on these pages. If you’d like to hire me for a tasting or food pairing event or competition judging panel, send me some details here. If you have a collaborative project, media or business opportunity that you’d like to discuss, or would like me to feature your EVOO in an unbiased review on my blog, use the form on the Contact page to get in touch. And if you want to buy some of my favourite olive oils, check out the Oils page where every oil not only tastes fabulous but has an interesting story behind it. I only ever stock small batches so check back regularly for the perfect gift for yourself or a loved one and Contact me if you don’t find what you’re looking for.

Karen O

The Olive Oil Taster