Olive oil is having a culinary moment and teams can learn from it. Olive oil has been the backbone of Mediterranean meals for thousands of years. In the U.S., sales of olive oil have tripled since the 1980s when a series of medical reports lauded olive oil for its health benefits, such as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Now olive oil is a common staple in many consumer’s pantries.
Yet with over 600 olive tree species and numerous regional and production techniques influencing the taste of olive oil, it can be difficult to communicate the wide varieties of olive oil tastes available. Unlike wine, color is generally not an indicator of taste. Use cases for olive oil varieties vary greatly from dipping bread, to salad dressing, to cooking. Further, despite the rapidly increasing popularity of olive oil, according to a 2013 UC Davis Olive Center research report, unbeknownst to consumers, much of the product sold in grocery stores is actually rancid (past its prime). As Brett Greenberg, a certified olive oil sommelier said, “I think consumers have grown accustomed to the sensory profile of what is not great olive oil. Once you become used to something, it’s hard to correct that.”
With so many choices and no common language to express different palatal experiences, even the bad ones, olive oil enthusiasts are left to chance when on their own. Coming together to share an olive oil tasting experience in real-time and building a common vocabulary to describe the experience is a reliable way for teams to bond.
As Harvard Business Review captured in The Secrets of Great Teamwork, “The solution to [incomplete information] is developing a shared mindset among team members—something team leaders can do by fostering a common identity and common understanding.”
Virtual olive oil tastings offer teams a way to celebrate together while providing a lasting impact. Teams “swirl, sniff, slurp and swallow” carefully curated olive oils and discuss words to describe the tastes. While tasting the olive oils, teams learn what it means to classify as an extra virgin olive oil (“EVOO”), cold-pressed fresh from the earliest harvest, versus olive oil that does not meet the standards of EVOO but may have enhanced health benefits and be more suitable for cooking. Armed with this vocabulary, teams will enjoy learning about olive oil together and forming enduring memories of a fun hour with colleagues trying something new.
Read more about the Sciabica Family California Olive Oil.