Olive: Fundamentals of Mediterranean Cooking

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Skill Level: Easy

This introductory course will send you on a culinary journey centred around the olive and its significance to Mediterranean cuisine. Participants will come to recognise the various types and varieties of both olives and olive oil through various tasting sessions.  These tastings will help you understand the fundamentals of how your palate works. 

You will start by understanding seasoning through a basic vinaigrette and how to properly dress a salad. The course will also guide you through the  sourcing  and preparation of  vegetables, fish and meat dishes, all the while demonstrating why olive oil is the oil of choice in the Mediterranean for each of these preparations.

To round off this course we will be visiting a local olive grove to enjoy a tasting session of different olives and olive oils in the picturesque hills of Wardija. The culmination of your experience will be an exercise in your creativity designed to solidify the knowledge and techniques thought throughout your time at the academy. 


Day 1 - Introduction to Olive Oil and Tasting
The session will begin with a brief course introduction, a historical timeline on the relevance of the olive in the Mediterranean, and a basic explanation of how olives are grown to produce oils of different qualities and intensities. The remainder of our time will be spent focusing on tasting – including what makes up tastes and flavours, and how we, as humans, perceive them, followed by a short tasting session to understand the five basic tastes. We will complete the session with a tasting of olive oils from different regions in the Mediterranean.
Day 2 - Table Olives & Antipasti
The second session focuses on the table olive, how it is grown and the vast production methods available to turn this unpalatably-bitter fruit into the salty delicacy we are more familiar with. We will look at the various techniques of curing and brining used to produce table olives, which will give us a better understanding when we come to taste various olives from Mediterranean regions. We will discuss how to properly use them when cooking. To demonstrate this, we will use these table olives and a few other supporting ingredients to transform them into culinary elevations of their former selves.
Day 3 - Kitchen Introduction: Salads & Seasoning
This is when things get more hands-on! You will start by getting to know the knives in the kitchen and how to use them safely. We will then explore the process behind preparing a delicious salad without the need for an elaborate recipe, and will highlight some vibrant greens, a wide array of salad garnishes and a few pantry staples. We will look at how to create a balanced vinaigrette, how to put it all together and how to dress it to perfection.
Day 4 - Olive Oil Nutrition & Vegetable Cookery
Day four begins with a look at the health benefits of olive oil and how it forms the backbone of the Mediterranean diet. We’ll look at eating with seasonality in mind and how this leads itself to food that’s cheaper, better tasting and better for you. For the practical portion of this class we’ll turn up the heat, and focus on vegetable cooking techniques.
Day 5 - Fish & Low Temperature Cooking
The fifth session in the series focuses on fish, from learning what to look out for when purchasing to understanding how to cook and handle your fish, we’ll cover the entire process. We’ll explore two cooking techniques - sautéing it quickly, and poaching it slowly in olive oil. This same poaching oil will also be used to gently confit vegetables and aromatics to create a simple and delicious side dish and sauce.
Day 6 - Meat & High Temperature Cooking
Turning up the heat even further this week, we’ll look at searing, sautéing and roasting. We will focus on meat and vegetable cookery and use olive oil to create a vibrant sauce to balance out these heartier meals. You will come to understand what make cuts of meat different and how they each lend themselves to different styles of cooking. You will learn to identify quality in these cuts of meat when purchasing, and how to correctly store them at home.
Day 7 - Producer Visit
Stepping out of the kitchen, we will be taking a field trip to a local olive grove to enjoy a tasting session of the olives and their oil in their ideal setting for a first-hand look at the process behind the product.
Day 8 - Special Project Day
Your final day in the kitchen will be a culmination of everything you have learnt during your time at the Academy. With our chef’s guidance throughout the course, you will create dishes of your own for a group tasting and critique.


  • History of olives in the Mediterranean
  • Visit and learn the story of a local, artisanal olive oil producer
https://mcamalta.com/Science & Nutrition

Science & Nutrition

  • The anatomy and physiology of flavour
  • The nutrition of olive and olive oil
  • Basic food science
https://mcamalta.com/Cooking Technique

Cooking Technique

  • Correct knife skills
  • Timing, planning, and organisation in a kitchen
  • Dressing and preparing salads
  • Saute, searing and roasting
  • Pan frying
  • Fish and meat handling
  • Confit of fish and vegetables


  • Distinguishing between olive varietals
  • Identify varieties of olive oil/ distinguishing qualities and defects
  • Fish quality checks
  • Produce seasonality and quality
  • Correctly using olive oil for different applications

Fully booked! More dates to be announced soon!

The Mediterranean Culinary Academy classroom at No 4, Sappers Street, Valletta

All of our courses will be held at our purposely-designed professional kitchen class room on Sapper Street in Valletta, conveniently close to the nearby open-air public car park.

Our modular classroom has been created to morph effortlessly between technical and theory exercises, with plenty of space for you to work, cook and learn. Designed for up to 12 students and a lecturer at a time, our classroom is also home to the latest cooking equipment – although it still feels like a comfortable home kitchen.

We look forward to welcoming you!

Bookings Now Open!

What's included?

  • MCA Apron
  • Food & Drink
  • Recipe Pack
  • Course Notes
  • Use of Equipment

449 8 sessions over 32 hours