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Olive Oil Flows Through Expo2015 and Beyond

May. 4, 2015
Luciana Squadrilli

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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.

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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.

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