From May 1st to October 31st, 2015 Milan will host the Universal Exhibition dedicated to the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.”
The 1.1 million square meters of exhibition will be a huge, global showcase where more than 140 participating countries will show how they manage tradition and technology to offer “a concrete answer to a vital need: being able to guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone, while respecting the Planet and its equilibrium.”
The aim is to stimulate the exchange of ideas and shared solutions and to promote innovation for a sustainable future.
The exhibition will host each country’s pavilions as well as areas for international organizations. Over 20 million visitors are expected during the 6‑month Expo. They will be able to learn about, and taste, the world’s foods and discover the gastronomic traditions of the different countries.
Extra virgin olive oil will have its own spaces during the event, both inside the Expo area and in other locations which are preparing to welcome visitors with tastings, meetings and food tours.
The core of olive oil’s presence at Expo will be found at the Bio-Mediterraneum Cluster dedicated to the sea connecting the three continents of Europe, Africa and Asia. Mainly sponsored and managed by the region of Sicily, which is intended as a connection point for the whole Mediterranean area, it will host products and events from 10 other countries: Greece, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Malta, San Marino, Serbia, Albania and Montenegro.
Built to resemble a typical Mediterranean setting, the 7,304-square-meter area includes four buildings facing a large central square paved in different shades of blue, referring to the colors of the Mediterranean sea. The Cluster’s initiatives will focus on promoting the Mediterranean diet as a healthy model. From 14 to 20 September it will celebrate the “Mediterranean Diet Week” with a number of workshops and educational events.
In order to recreate the colors, tastes and aromas typical of Mediterranean countries, the different areas will display each country’s local food in which olive oil plays a key role. Sicily appointed olive oil expert Gino Celletti to coordinate and organize the different initiatives dedicated to extra virgin olive oil, with educational sessions and cooking demonstrations.
Lebanon anticipated at the Verona Sol fair in April its attendance at the Expo, presenting a special extra virgin olive oil package studied together with the Sicily Region and in collaboration with the Italian Cooperation in Lebanon and the Ministry of Agriculture: it included twin olive oil bottles (100 ml each) originating from Lebanon and Sicily and an informative fact sheet showing Lebanon’s rich olive oil heritage.
The Kasbah-style Moroccan pavilion will present the Green Morocco Plan. The strategy, launched in 2008 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Maritime Fisheries, aims to make agriculture the main growth engine of the national economy, including olive growing: table olives and olive oil production is expected to triple by 2020.
Uruguay, one of the world’s top ten producers of extra virgin olive oil will welcome visitors in a “multi-sensorial” spiral pavilion to offer a sample of Uruguayan life through multimedia contents and tastings mainly focusing on sustainable growth and production of citrus, meat and extra virgin olive oil under the motto “Life grows in Uruguay.”
Going back to Italy, the “Identification and conservation of ancient olive groves in the Mediterranean region” project implemented by the Apulia Region was shortlisted as a finalist at the Sustainable Development Best Practices Contest. Despite not having being selected among the 5 winners which will be shown in a film produced by Expo Milano 2015, it will be illustrated through a photographic story displayed in Pavilion Zero, the largest thematic Pavilion in the Expos’ history, developed in collaboration with the United Nations.
A special “made in Italy olive oil bottle” was chosen as the result of a design competition which involved the students of the Brand Management and Communication and the Product Design masters at the Milan IED European Design Institute. Named “Italian Olives Only, a bottle for Expo,” the competition was part of the Solo Olive Italiane project launched in 2013 by Unaprol and Symbola, Foundation for the Italian qualities.
During Expo 2015 the project will be implemented with new initiatives focusing on extra virgin olive oil culture which will have the specially designed bottle as their symbol. The winning project named “Flow” was designed by a multidisciplinary, multicultural and an all-women team made up by designer Damla Teoman and by strategists Duangporn Saenghiranwathana and Ivy Aning, taking inspiration by the common and typically Italian gesture to pour olive oil onto food at the table.
According to the jury’s opinion “Flow’s innovative design communicates in a complete way all the extra virgin’s values, with a new, original and unprecedented shape.” The bottle will be presented at Expo2015 during a dedicated convention.
Outside the Expo area but not too far from Milan, the Garda Lake region will offer additional occasions to taste and experience Italian olive oil culture thanks to the initiatives coordinated by the local Garda Lake PDO Consortium (Consorzio di Tutela Olio Garda DOP).
Valtenesi, a beautiful rural area near Brescia, will organize a food event lasting the whole duration of the Expo, which will be dedicated to the region’s main products: extra virgin olive oil and lake fish.
From May to October, the historic Turri oil mill located on the Veneto region’s part of the Lake, will open its doors to visitors guiding them through the “educational olive grove”, the modern oil mill, the ancient farm implements’ collection and the products tasting.