Our master miller, Bob Singletary, has been making extra virgin olive oil for more than three decades – including a slew of oils awarded Gold and Silver medals at this year’s California Olive Oil Council annual competition. Lately, Bob has been sampling the oils made from the olives we gathered during our latest harvest.
Like a winemaker, Bob blends these oils – Arbequina, Arbosana and Koroneiki – to create an olive oil matching our different customers’ taste preferences. We asked Bob how he goes about choosing and blending the oils to produce unique oils with certain flavor profiles.
How do you blend the different oils to achieve the desired flavor profile?
Blending totally depends on an individual customer’s preference – be it consumers, or chefs and others who special order our oil. In general, we have very intense oils, and the selection process is usually based on when the olives were harvested. The earlier the oil is made during harvest, the more intense and pungent that oil is. During the blending process we select different oils from the same olive variety to establish a more complex flavor profile. Oils made at different times of the harvest have flavors ranging from intense to mild.
Each of these individual oils has its own excellent flavor characteristics, and when identified and blended together the best of all qualities come together. Not only do we do single varietal blending to obtain maximum flavors, but we also take the best of each variety – Arbequina, Arbosana and Koroneiki – and create our Miller’s Blend. This blend has all of the best flavors that each type olive variety has to offer.
What type of taste are you trying to achieve with each of the oils – Arbequina, Miller’s Blend, Everyday Fresh and Arbosana?
Each style of oil has a totally different flavor profile. The Arbequina for retail consumers has the fruity and intense flavors characteristic of olives picked early in the harvest. The Miller’s Blend combines the best early harvest oils available. The Everyday is very fruity, but the end-taste profile is mild and not so robust.
The Arbosana generally is made at one time and the importance of selecting the exact time is critical to having a well balanced oil. If you are too early on this, the flavors are green and harsh and take time to settle out. This selection of when to harvest the olives is important with all varieties, but especially the Arbosana and Koroneiki.
Aside from blending the oils and removing the excess solids and sediment during the racking process, what else keeps you busy when it’s not harvest time?
The racking and blending process requires close attention by all of our milling team. We select oils for all of our packaging lines. Both lines require different oils at different times.
Being a part of California Olive Ranch is exciting, because we’re growing quickly. There’s always new and innovating equipment being installed, both at the milling operation and the packaging lines. I’m fortunate to work with a group of professional and passionate people that believe quality comes before all else. California Olive Ranch has a great team spirit, and the commitment to excellence is always there.
Your friends at California Olive Ranch