Like Wine, Olive Oil has Flavour Differences Depending on Region

Certain wines go with certain foods, but is that the case for olive oil?

New research has found, like wine, Australian olive oil has different flavour profiles and health benefits depending on the region where it's grown.

And, according to the Queensland Olive Council, producers and consumers could benefit from it.

The council has just wrapped up a project looking into the profitability of creating a geographical origin system for Australian olive growers.

The project also posed the question: Are there significant differences in the taste of olive oil from region to region?

The answer is, yes.

'Nutty' flavours and 'sweet' flavours

Sensory scientist Richard Gawel, who is also an olive oil judge, was the primary researcher on the project and compared olive oils from the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia with those produced near Toowoomba in Queensland.

He said despite the oils being of the same varietals and harvested at the same time, there were noticeably different flavours between the regions.

Dr Gawel said, in addition to that, the oils also had a unique "chemical fingerprint".

"[By that] I mean things like polyphenols, which are important for health, squalene, which is actually also very healthy for you, and another compound called tocopherol, which is a type of vitamin E," he said.

"We found that between the two regions there were differences in the profile of these compounds."

Paring olive oil with your food

The Queensland Olive Council believed the differences were enough to change the way consumers shopped for olive oil.

Chief executive Amanda Bailey said, following the research, they were looking at setting up a website to educate consumers about the differences and how that could be used in everyday life. More