Guía Oliva 2019, a new guidebook for the best Chilean extra virgin olive oils, is set to be published October 1.
The book will feature detailed information about a number of local and imported oils, including a score from 65 to 100 points, a brief review of the oil, usage recommendations, producers’ contact information as well as where to buy the olive oil.
It's going to be a book that exhibits what is happening with olive oil in Chile.
“It’s a project that we’ve been talking about for many years,” Carola Dümmer Medina, an olive oil journalist and judge at the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, told Olive Oil Times. “The industry is strong and we think the consumers need a tool like this to understand a little bit more about olive oil.”
Dümmer Medina and Alicia Moya Valenzuela, an agronomic engineer at Chile’s Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaiso and also a judge at the NYIOOC, are writing the guide to help educate consumers not only about the extra virgin olive oils available in Chile, but also how to use them in the kitchen.
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“Consumers in Chile know very little about olive oil,” Dümmer Medina said. “They do not know many brands of olive oil, just the largest ones sold in the supermarket. This will be very educational for them to understand what they can do with this specific oil.”
In spite of having produced 20,000 tons of olive oil in the 2018/19 campaign – of which an estimated 90 percent is graded as extra virgin – oil consumption in the Western Hemisphere’s second largest producing country is just 750 milliliters per capita per year.
Dümmer Medina and Moya Valenzuela believe that publishing the guide will help increase olive oil consumption, in part, by highlighting the oils of small-scale producers, which may not be sold outside of the town in which they are produced.
“I think for the small producers, it is a big opportunity because they do not have much visibility here on a national level,” Dümmer Medina said. “Now they will have access to a bigger group of consumers that are willing to try different brands of olive oil, so it is going to be a big opportunity.”
Larger producers are also likely to benefit from the guide, the two authors contend, as it will also provide them with an opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition.
“There are lots of guides in the world and people are always looking at guides to see which ones are the best-ranked oils,” Dümmer Medina said. “For me, the more information available about the companies is better. It’s not like you buy oils solely because the guide said it’s the best one.”
“We will try to make it very interesting for consumers to read, giving them some history about the companies,” she added.
For the guide’s first edition, which will be published in English and Spanish, producers can register their olive oils on the book’s website before sending a sample of their extra virgin olive oils to Dümmer Medina and Moya Valenzuela to be tasted and ranked. The only restriction on entries is that the oils must be sold in Chile or on Easter Island.
The guide will divide the extra virgin olive oils into six different categories. Three of these will be for Chilean olive oils based on the size of the producer, one will be for foreign olive oils that are sold in Chile and the final two will be for flavor-infused olive oils, which are becoming increasingly popular in the country.
“It’s going to be a book that exhibits what is happening with olive oil in Chile,” Dümmer Medina said. “It’s a big opportunity to make people more conscious about the benefits of olive oil and to help them choose the best olive oils to buy in the supermarket.”