Judy Ridgway : Olive Oil Expert

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Tasting Classes

Over the last many years I have held a well-attended series of one-day tasting and appreciation classes in London in Brighton. More than a hundred people have so far completed the course, some of them going on to take part in the three day Savantes events which have been held in London, Italy, Spain, America and Australia.

All classes are currently held in Brighton. I keep the classes fairly small so that everyone can join in, numbers vary from four to seven. The course usually starts at 10.00am and finishes around 4.30-5.00pm. The fee for the course, which includes a light lunch and 12 tasting oils from around the world, is £200.00 (no VAT).

I am hoping to start up on one day courses again. However, I plan to change the format. I will be offering to conduct courses for groups of four or more friends or colleagues at my apartment in Brighton. The fee will be £700.00 for the group, including 10-12 extra virgin oils from around the olive oil world and a light lunch. Additional participants, up to a total group of seven, will be charged at £150.00 each. Groups should be gathered by one organizer. I will no longer be offering single places.

If you are interested in this scheme perhaps you would like to write to me at judryridbgway@tinternet.com with an indication of numbers and suggesting dates, Sundays excepted, and we can finalise a date. There may also be opportunities for half day classes.

The class covers the following topics but there is provision for specific items to be included on request:

  • What is olive oil?
  • Standards for extra virgin olive oil
  • How to taste
  • Why taste and what to look for?
  • Faulty oils and how to recognise them
  • Describing olive oils
  • Concept of style in olive oil
  • Specific flavour characteristics
  • Origins, designations and labelling
  • Importance of varieties, cultivation and harvest time
  • How olive oil is made
  • Olive oil in the shop and the home


  • Bastide du Laval Subtil 2018 - Provence, France
  • Bravoleum 2019 - Jaen, Spain
  • Colona - Molise, Italy
  • Lia 2019 - Peloponnese, Greece
  • Lunaio 2019 - Seggiano, Italy
  • Farcioni 2018 - Produce of EU
  • Soler Romero/Gay Farmer 2019 - Jaen, Spain
  • M&S DOP Monte Iblei 2018 - Sicily, Italy
  • Nunez de Prado 2018 - Baena, Spain
  • Odysea Organic 2019 - Crete, Greece
  • Primo - Sicily, Italy
  • Puro Nectar 2019 - Pulia, Italy
  • Turkish Deli Evoo 2018 - Turkey
  • Verdemanda 2019 - Catalonia, Spain

Advanced Courses

I have been asked about the possibility of holding more advanced classes for people who already have some experience of tasting olive oil. Subjects might include taste comparisons of oils pressed from specific olive varieties or pressed from the same varieties but from different regions of the world. Oils produced by different extraction methods might be another subject to pursue. I am open to suggestions.

If you would be interested in such a course please email me on judyridgway@btinternet.com with an indication of your particular area of interest.


  • Agrexpo (Faris) DOP Kalamata - Greece
  • Tuscan Chianti Classico PDO - Italy
  • Barocco Celina di Nardo - Italy
  • Carapelli Organic - EU and non EU blend
  • Castelines AOP Vallee des Baux, Noir d’Olive - France
  • Castillo de Canena - Spain
  • Co-op own label - EU blend
  • Fonte di Foiano Grand Cru - Italy
  • Gay Farmer - Spain
  • Gaziella - Italy
  • Light to medium rancid Leccino oil - Italy
  • Medium fusty oil - Portugal
  • Morgenster 2018 harvest - South Africa
  • Mother’s Garden - Spain
  • Strongly musty oil - IOC sample
  • Verdemanda - Spain


"Despite this being my second time to attend your course there was so much more that I have learnt about this fabulous product. I look forward to attending another session in the future."
- Leonie Mirmikidis, Director, The Premium Greek Olive Oil Company, October 21st 2017

"What a wonderful day I had yesterday. Under your experienced guidance I learnt so much and it was "fruitful" and enjoyable. I went home and started to use my sense of smell. Great fun and very rewarding. Many thanks for a memorable day."
- Leonie Mirmikidis, Director, The Premium Greek Olive Oil Company, February 10th, 2017

"Just wanted to say a big thank you for a truly enjoyable, informative and tasty day."
- Trevor Duckham

"I just wanted to say thank you so much for the course on Wednesday 11th May. I found it so helpful and informative. I ran a stall at a fair promoting our olive oil at the weekend and found my notes from the course really useful. Especially in talking about the taste of the oil to potential customers- which is exactly what I wanted to get out of the course. Thanks again for such a well run course."
- Katie Musgrove, allabouttheolive.co.uk, June 3rd 2016.

“Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed and found useful the course on Wednesday - shall definitely be recommending it to others!”
- Malcolm Gilmour, laganum.com, May 13th 2016

"A wonderful day spent learning how to taste oils. This is my second time doing Judy’s course and it was every bit as valuable as the first. Judy’s expertise when it comes to all things olive is illuminating. I expanded my range in terms of naming aromas and tastes and learned more about defects in oils. As always, an interesting mix of people, a good lunch and entertaining stories about Judy’s EVOO experience from around the world completes the picture. Whether you are a producer, an importer, chef or just a foodie, I’d recommend Judy’s tasting course – you’ll learn a lot in one day.
- Karen Cryan, August 6th 2015.

"Thank you for a lovely and very informative day yesterday. It was good to meet you and I very much enjoyed the whole experience.”
- Joanna Pope, perfecttree.co.uk, August 15th 2014

"The course was really effective, well organised and pleasant, definitely value for money and I will recommend to friends.”
- Michele Andricciola, April 2013

"Just a quick note to thank you SOOO much for an absolutely brilliant day yesterday. It was so interesting, packed with information, and we both learned such a lot. The chance to taste such a great and educational array of oils along side you was invaluable."
- Stavia Blunt, Liquid Gold Products Ltd - November 1st 2012

"I enjoyed your workshop so much, it was an eye opener and has indeed helped me in distinguishing oils for our import business."
- Dutch specialist retailer - April 13th 2012

"We all enjoyed the olive tasting experience and learned a great deal. Thank you very much."
- Gary Hannam, January 20th 2012

“I have known Judy Ridgway for a number of years and more recently since we established our own olive groves at Monte Castello on Lake Garda Northern Italy. I attended the Savantes olive oil course in Seville in 2010 where she was a lecturer and expert taster, I found her knowledge and tasting ability outstanding, having spent over 40 years in the wine trade a wine maker and buyer and having completed all the trade exams including the Master of Wine course I was amazed at her tasting ability to identify not only the olive varieties but country of origin and above all quality assessment."
- Jeffrey Benson, Agricole Monte Castello

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