` An International Competition in Sicily - Olive Oil Times

An International Competition in Sicily

Oct. 9, 2015
Luciana Squadrilli

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The olive oil taster and con­sul­tant Antonio Lauro has for years believed that Southern Italy — includ­ing the famous olive oil-pro­duc­ing regions such as Calabria, Apulia and Sicily — was in need of its very own high-pro­file olive oil competition. 

Now he says it will have just that, with Lauro at the helm of the new Domina International Olive Oil Contest (D‑IOOC) to be held from May 13 – 17, 2016 in Palermo, Sicily.

I have always thought that Southern Italy had to host its own com­pe­ti­tion and that it had to be a rel­e­vant one,” Lauro said. There are some other awards such as Sirena d’Oro or Biol, but they are lim­ited to spe­cific cat­e­gories, such as the Italian PDO or organic oils.”

This first edi­tion will only be the begin­ning of a new process of involve­ment and pos­i­tive debate for pro­duc­ers.- Antonio Lauro

Lauro said he aims for the new con­test to become the main European extra vir­gin olive oil com­pe­ti­tion,” open to Northern and Southern Hemisphere prod­ucts and with five dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories: extra vir­gin olive oil, organic, PDO, sin­gle vari­ety and blends.

His part­ners in this ven­ture include Vinar, an Argentinian con­sult­ing com­pany run by Raúl Castellani and his son Leonardo, who already man­age other inter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions in Israel and Argentina, and the Domina hotel brand, which owns a num­ber of prop­er­ties located in Italy, includ­ing Milan, Palermo, Venice and Positano.

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The Domina Milano Fiera Hotel will host the launch press con­fer­ence on the October 23, to meet the national and inter­na­tional press gath­ered in Milan for the last week of Expo 2015.

The beau­ti­ful Domina Coral Bay Santa Fluvia, a few kilo­me­ters from Palermo, will host the com­pe­ti­tion and related events includ­ing guided tast­ings, a sci­en­tific con­fer­ence ded­i­cated to oil, nutri­tion and health,” and a gala din­ner and award ceremony. 

On the last day, it will also be pos­si­ble for atten­dees to taste the short-listed samples.

Antonio G. Lauro

According to the orga­ni­za­tion about 200 sam­ples are expected, mainly hail­ing from the Mediterranean area (Spain, Portugal, France, Turkey, Ciprus, Malta, Greece and Italy) and from the Middle East (Israel, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank) but also from Overseas and the Southern Hemisphere, includ­ing North and South America and South Africa.

The jury will include Lauro him­self, Barbara Alfei and Indra Galbo from Italy, Selin Ertür from Turkey, Brigida Jimènez from Spain, Cristina Stribacu from Greece, Miciyo Yamada from Japan and Taghreed Mohamed A. Shehadeh from Palestine.

Among the key points to dis­tin­guish D‑IOOC from many other com­pe­ti­tions, Lauro sug­gested, are the dif­fer­ent rela­tion­ships to be estab­lished within the par­tic­i­pat­ing pro­duc­ers, and an empha­sis on the touris­tic poten­tial of the event.

On the first point, Lauro said, We hope that this first edi­tion will only be the begin­ning of a new process of involve­ment and pos­i­tive debate for pro­duc­ers. We want to invite them to join us for a four-day, full immer­sion of inter­ac­tion, exchanges and reciprocity.”

When the Domina man­age­ment told me they were inter­ested in the food and wine field, and that they wanted to aim for qual­ity both for their usual offer and for new kinds of events, I imme­di­ately real­ized they were the ideal part­ner for the com­pe­ti­tion since they are an inno­v­a­tive, dynamic and proac­tive com­pany,” Lauro said. 

Illustrating the point, the hotel will be cre­at­ing a spe­cific olive oil enthu­si­ast” pack­age to give vis­i­tors the chance to par­take in the com­pe­ti­tion by join­ing tast­ings, con­fer­ences and meet­ings, while enjoy­ing the breath­tak­ing beauty of the Sicilian island.

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