Olives Open Day!

What
a great day at Nangkita Olives last Sunday as part of Tasting Australia. It was
Mother’s Day and as tradition dictates in Australia, it was raining, but not so
much as to spoil our fun, just a little drizzle to make the fires seem warmer.

There
was an assortment of unique, up-cycled fire receptacles: an old kitchen cooker,
the insides of an old washing machine, and a very tall gas cylinder (orange
with rust) – all churning out welcome warmth.

But
the real highlight of the day was the olives and the numerous (free) sessions
to expand our foodie knowledge. The cooking session was an early highlight with
numerous dishes to taste – who knew you could make chocolate mousse with olive
oil!? It was to-die-for and we can’t wait to make it at home so we can indulge
in more! Cakes and scones made with olive oil instead of butter were also a
surprise to me and very good.

Next
up we heard from Briony Liebich (Flavour Logic) who helped us learn more about
how we actually taste (aroma is a huge part of it), and what we can taste – salty,
sweet, sour, umami, and
bitter – bitterness being of particular importance in assessing olive oil and
olives. The key to a pleasing experience is a balance of flavours, and harmony
with the foods the olives or oil is to be used with.

Finally,
we attended a masterclass with Richard Gawel, who I’ve done some training with
before, and learnt more about how to taste olive oil and how to describe its
qualities. We also learnt more about the harvest and extraction processes and
the critical element – the time and conditions between the two.

Needless
to say, the key is freshness and gentle handling and the samples of the olive
businesses there spoke to this really well. With lots of South Australian
producers, why would you risk buying a flabby, fusty, muddy or rancid oil from
overseas?

The
final thing to mention – perhaps it should have been the first! – is the
generous and welcoming spirit of the whole event. This was epitomised by the
‘VIP’ status we achieved by simply paying $20 each to indulge in all we could
fit in: spit lamb sliders with luscious ‘slaw, pizza, bread, cheeses, several
types of crackers, olives, tapenade, and wine! Yes, wine was included in this
price! Then the whole thing was topped off with a lavish spread of desserts:
baklava, middle-eastern crescents (not sure of their name), tarts with rhubarb,
cakes, strawberries and cream, and more.

Seriously,
what a great day and what a generous event hosted by Nangkita Olives, and
featuring a number of local producers, all of whom deserve our patronage as
local businesses, SA employers, and purveyors of food pleasure.

The
hayride with the kids was fun too and we saw both pole harvesting and
mechanical harvesting as we rode through the olive grove. The only thing we
didn’t do was pick some olives and have them pressed in the centrifuge to take
home a bottle of our very own oil… something to look forward to at next year’s
open day. Meanwhile, I’ll be doing what Briony of Flavour Logic suggests and
investing in ‘a bank of delicious sensory memories’ throughout the year to come.

PS
whose wines were there? Very good – and great to meet a reader there! 🙂

©
Palitja Moore, text and image (in my home kitchen with hubby’s olives), 2016

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