Expo 2015 is going through the final month of events, overflowing with last-minute visitors who wind through the long lines to reach the various pavilions and enjoy food and culture from around the world. And now, the focus is on olive oil.
The Universal Exhibition was the occasion for a special edition of Ercole Olivario, a national competition dedicated to the best Italian extra virgin olive oils.
A selection of companies with a history of success at Ercole Olivario was presented to Expo attendees. The “Premium List 2015” was composed of 103 companies from 17 Italian regions — a catalog of producers and farmers who represent Italian olive oil excellence. The series of conferences, tastings, pairings and cooking shows involved professionals and amateurs, cooks and press.
Ercole Olivario also had a social perspective at the Expo. The universal value of the olive oil as a unifying element of peace and brotherhood was the subject of a meeting entitled “Olive Tree, Guardian of the Earth, Guardian of Men” that took place in the Holy See Pavilion.
During the event a basket containing 100 bottles of EVOO was delivered to representatives of the Refettorio Ambrosiano, an institution that combines quality food and solidarity in the reception of refugees. All producers participating in the competition were invited to join the initiative by sending olive oil to a migrant reception center in their region — a small gesture in the face of a huge crisis, yet one that can serve as a call for ethic and social responsibility in the agribusiness sector.
Laura De Parri runs the farm Cerrosughero in Canino, Latium, where the monovarietal EVOO DOP Canino is produced. “It is a great satisfaction for us to be selected for the Premium List,” she said. “We are so proud to have created a quality product despite the difficulties encountered last year. This year, our olives are perfect and we expect a great olive oil.”
About the spirit of solidarity that permeated this edition of the competition De Parri added, “It was touching to give our small contribution to help people who faced such difficulties. I hope everyone will follow this example.”
Another winning producer, Roberto Ranise, announced “We can count on a larger production and a better quality than the last year of our Taggiasca.” He received several awards with the light fruity EVOO DOP Riviera Ligure, Riviera dei Fiori, produced in province of Imperia. “I am pleased that Ercole Olivario judges recognized our dedication to quality over years.”
Another event was organized by Pandolea — Women of Olive Oil — an association of producers and experts. They presented “Bruschetta or Merendina?” — an educational project on healthy eating and olive oil culture for students in primary schools.