I will admit, I am cheap when it comes to grocery shopping. I do not mind sacrificing some quality for a cheaper price. Most everything I buy is off-brand, because I honestly cannot tell a difference. To me, milk is milk, condiments taste the same regardless of brand and not buying well-known brands does not change the taste of foods. After my trip to Spain, things changed.
After the tours, we went further up into the little town to a hotel for the tasting. We tasted their extra virgin olive oil, the highest value of oil as extra virgin is routinely tested and held to high standards. They brought us two small glasses filled with olive oil, one stronger tasting than the other. First, we held the cups in our hands to warm up the liquid so that we could have a better smell of the oil. After smelling the two cups, we were asked what they smelled like. Some answers included grass, dirt or wood. After taking in the aroma, we slowly sipped on the oil. We were asked to observe the burning sensation, the thickness of the oil and our overall thoughts.
Wow—I was blown away! The fact that I was drinking straight oil honestly did not phase me. I loved the taste with or without bread. You could truly taste a difference. The oil tasted fresher, had more flavor and had a much better after taste than the value brand olive oil I normally buy. Because of this experience, I do not mind paying the extra in the grocery store for a brand or quality that is just simply better.