The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

It was a day for olive oil at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. Saturday, August 3rd, where a sold-out audience of more than 100 participated in an all-day seminar led by Curtis Cord, the publisher of Olive Oil Times.

The interactive program was designed to provide an understanding of olive oil, from its historical and cultural origins to its place in modern culinary applications.

Olive oil health benefits, production processes, quality factors and sensory assessment topics were examined within an informal, conversational format that engaged attendees who asked questions freely.

Throughout the day, participants were treated to a tour of many of this year’s best olive oils — all award winners at the 2014 New York International Olive Oil Competition. A “Passport to the World’s Best Olive Oils” presented to attendees contained a complete listing of the 2014 NYIOOC winners and where to buy them.

Tickets to “The World of Olive Oil” seminar were $150, or $110 for Smithsonian members, and went quickly, according to organizers. The event was held at the Smithsonian’s Discovery Theater.

Oils from a wide range of countries were represented, and specific olive cultivars were highlighted in food pairings that illustrated olive oil’s unique ability to elevate the tastes of foods.

Cord said the event was an opportunity to foster a greater understanding of olive oil and provide people with the tools to make better buying decisions. He added that he was honored to be asked by the Smithsonian to give the talk.

“It was a fun day, the audience was engaged, and today there are some people here who know more about this important food than they did yesterday, and that’s progress.”

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