Madrid Fusión 2015, Spain’s prestigious culinary event, conducted three days of creative showcases, culinary demonstrations and presentations in Madrid, this week.
From center stage presentations by world-class chefs and educational classroom tastings to a multitude of varietals on display from around the country and a juried cooking competition, the show demonstrated that extra virgin olive oils from Spain continue to gain greater appreciation among those most familiar with the ingredient.
On the conference’s first day, extra virgin olive oil was center stage with chef María José San Román’s presentation “Un Aceite Para Cada Plato” (An Oil for Every Dish). While the chef’s presentation was the only olive-oil centric demonstration, many other chefs showcased the value of olive oil in their creations throughout the 3‑day event.
Chef Dani Garcia wowed the audience with his presentation Texturas Helada, featuring olive oil-based savory ice cream creations with truffle and Michelin 3‑star chef Pedro Subijana demonstrated liberal use of extra virgin olive oil in his Bekarki menu from Akelare.
In addition to the eight Jaén Selección 2015 producers, many olive oil brands were on display and available for tasting from producers including Abbae de Queiles, La Boella, Dauro, Marqués de Valdueza, and Marques de Griñon. While the selections were dominantly of the Picual and Arbequina varietals, others like Cornicabra, Hojiblanca and Cuquillo were also available for tasting.
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“Olive oil is the single most important ingredient in the culinary heritage of Spain, yet many chefs are still unfamiliar with the variety of flavor profiles that olive oil can bring to creativity,” said San Román. “We have many varieties native to Spain that deserve attention and consideration beyond Picual, Arbequina and Hojiblanca. Regional varieties like Changelot Real, Royal and Empeltre are just some of the options open to chefs that are ready to experiment with this amazing ingredient.”
Olive oil’s prominence in Spanish gastronomy bookended the event on day three when major conference sponsor Makro presented a special olive oil tasting course covering the basics of flavor profiles and tasting techniques; and the Diputación Provincial de Jaén held its XII International Award for Cooking with Olive Oil, using the region’s top-ranked olive oils for 2015, won by Chef Xanti Elias of Restaurante Acanthúm.