`San Martino to Host Third Edition of 'Extrascape' - Olive Oil Times

San Martino to Host Third Edition of 'Extrascape'

Apr. 21, 2014
Luciana Squadrilli

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The unusual olive oil com­pe­ti­tion, Extrascape, will begin its third edi­tion April 27. The event was born to award the best extra vir­gin olive oils from qual­ity olive grow­ing land­scapes, thanks to two dif­fer­ent juries made of experts in the two fields – pro­fes­sional tasters and land­scape archi­tects. Extrascape is orga­nized by an asso­ci­a­tion of vir­tu­ous craft pro­duc­ers, of a small Italian region MolisExtra, together with local author­i­ties (the Municipality of San Martino in Pensilis, with the Patronage of the President of the Molise Region and of the Department of Agriculture and Forestry of Molise Region) and the Research Landscape Unit of the Department of Architecture and Design of University La Sapienza” of Rome lead by pro­fes­sor Achille M. Ippolito.

As other sim­i­lar events, Extrascape also aims to spread olive oil cul­ture, thanks to a rich pro­gram of con­fer­ences and speak­ers. This year, Tom Mueller will present his book Extravirginity, which has been recently pub­lished in Italian, while Ippolito will speak about the pro­mo­tion of the olive-grow­ing land­scape in Molise as a cul­tural and eco­nomic asset. Also the State Forestry Corps gave its patron­age to the ini­tia­tive.

The stu­dents of the Landscape Management and Safeguard” Joint PhD course between three Universities (Sapienza, Tuscia and Unimol) will present their research on the local olive land­scape, and the pub­lish­ing of the records of the past edi­tions will be pre­sented.

But this year, the focus of the event will be the quest for the truth in olive oil, to quote Mueller’s web­site. Everyone will be able (sim­ply reg­is­ter­ing through the extrascape.org web­site) to join the debate that will be intro­duced by Alberto Grimelli, edi­tor at Teatro Naturale web­site, and will also fea­ture Rosy Patrone and Amedeo De Franceschi rep­re­sent­ing the Food and Safety Unit of the State Forestry Corps. The aim is to drive pro­duc­ers, traders, tasters and con­sumers to express their opin­ions and neces­si­ties about extra vir­gin olive oil.

I think that say­ing that Extrascape is only a com­pe­ti­tion is quite reduc­ing” says Francesco Travaglini, the MolisExtra pres­i­dent and founder of the ini­tia­tive. We have a spe­cific task, that is to give back extra vir­gin olive oil to its pro­duc­ers, which are the land­scape’s guardians and pal­adins. In my opin­ion, the piv­otal point of this year’s edi­tion will be the Unconference” that we are going to hold on the 28th. We called it E.V.O. VERO uncon­ven­tional con­fer­ence, that means a dif­fer­ent way to find and reveal the truth in olive oil. There is a new and promis­ing way to ful­fill the social and safe­guard demands of the real” extra vir­gin olive oil all over the World”.

Travaglini’s words explic­itly refer to the infa­mous New York Times’ info­graphic about olive oil fraud, Extra Virgin Suicide,” that some months ago gave an inac­cu­rate and mis­lead­ing sum­mary of the data con­tained in Mueller’s book. That’s why, in order to reply to the New York Times’ accu­sa­tions and to re-estab­lish the truth regard­ing olive oil, Extrascape also com­mis­sioned and pub­lished the info­graphic Extra Virgin Resurrection” using a sim­i­lar lay­out and design, the new slides made by the local agency KComunicazione offer a much more real­is­tic scenery of extra vir­gin olive oil pro­duc­tion and trad­ing in Italy, includ­ing the dan­gers of fraud and adul­ter­ation.

But this is only a part of the process, and does not reward the hard job made by hon­est olive grow­ers and oil pro­duc­ers as well as from the Italian gov­ern­ment in an attempt to defend high qual­ity prod­ucts and the land­scape. According to the Italian Constitution (art. 9) the Republic pro­motes the devel­op­ment of cul­ture and of sci­en­tific and tech­ni­cal research. It safe­guards the land­scape and the his­toric and artis­tic her­itage of the Nation.” It is true that many bot­tles labelled as Italian Extra Virgin” are not, and it is cru­cial to be able to detect them, as well as to rec­og­nize the value and excel­lency of the good ones. That’s why it is very impor­tant to guar­an­tee and stress the com­plete trace­abil­ity of the oil — the only way to be sure of where it comes from.

Producers from all over the world were invited to join the com­pe­ti­tion – and the Unconference, if they wish so – to prove that their oils, and the land­scapes they come from, are real and good.


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