There may be innumerable olive oils in Italy, but there is only one trade show dedicated entirely to the art, knowledge, and industry of olive oil. From the 18th to the 21st of March, hundreds of olive oil producers and thousands of interested professionals and private gourmands will converge on Trieste for the fifth annual edition of this prestigious showcase for Italian and foreign extra virgin.
As part of the festivities at Olio Capitale 2011, participants will be introduced to some of the world’s finest extra virgin olive oils in guided taste sessions at the “Oil Bar”. There, industry professionals will offer lessons on the finer points and distinctive notes that reveal the olive varieties, production methods, weather, and terroir that have gone into the oils. Cooking classes with some of Italy’s renowned chefs will also be happening daily with an emphasis on pairing different olive oils.
To enhance visitors’ appreciation for the variations among these high quality producers, exhibitors will be offering tastes of their own table olives for the first time at the fair. The tasting table was added in the hopes of improving visitors’ understanding of the link between the nuanced flavor of different olives and the oils they are used to produce.
Italian minister of agriculture Nicola Cavaliere will present the “Goccia d’Oro” prize to 30 handpicked oils from the central region of Molise, known for its Aurina di Venafro and Gentile di Larino olives. The region was chosen because it is a prime representative of what Italy does so well — small production of high quality, highly specialized extra virgin olive oils. Olives such as the distinctive Rumignana Colletorto, the Rosciola, the Cellini Rotello and the Cerasa are linked to particular territories, altitudes, and growing conditions of Molise, serving to emphasize the art and region-specific qualities of Italian style extra virgins.
Visitors will also be given the chance to act as experts. The prestigious tasting competition, in which professional epicures pre-select the finalists, will then be judged by three different panels. Professional tasters will again make their evaluation as one panel, while professional cooks and producers will form a second panel. Finally a panel made up of ordinary visitors to the show, who first attend some of the scheduled tasting courses, will be asked to vote on their favorite of these top quality olive oils, and help select the winners of this year’s illustrious prize.