Monna Oliva is a unique competition dedicated to the best table olives, organized by the Mediterranean Union of Oil Tasters UMAO. One hundred high-quality Italian producers got together with their efforts, experience and professionalism at the third edition of the event that has become a valuable reference point for the sector and an opportunity to look closely at the national production, examine issues related to the production of table olives, and find new growth strategies to face more and more competitive markets.
“The number of participants has increased from year to year,” said Paola Fioravanti, president of UMAO and chairman of the scientific committee of the competition. “The success of the event comes both from producers, which found a way to promote and publicize their products, both from the operators who want to know them better.”
“Table olives, which for a while were set aside and overshadowed by olive oil, progressively attracted greater interest, and in the last 25 years, according to data of the International Olive Council, consumption increased by 173 percent,” Fioravanti noted.
In fact, for their ease of use and abundant varieties which correspond to different tastes, olives continue to gain in popularity worldwide: Between 1991 and 2016, consumption has increased 2.8 times, from a little less than 1.000.000 tons to more than 2.650.000 tons.
Monna Oliva combined promotion and the dissemination of knowledge of table olives, which are closely linked to their production areas, in order to tie environment, tourism, consumption and production into a virtuous plot.
Tests were conducted in Rome by recognized experts led by panel leader Ivano Caprioli at the headquarters of UMAO, and the award ceremony, which is organized every year in a different Italian region, took place on June 25 in Ascoli Piceno (Marche), the birthplace of the Ascolana Tenera del Piceno (consumed either directly or stuffed and fried, according to the specification for the PDO certification obtained in 2005).
The contest was accompanied by events related to the production of table olives, which highlighted the excellence of a product respectful of tradition but open to new technologies to improve quality.
“The Italian product has reached such a high quality that the board had to work hard to find the winners,” pointed out Fioravanti. “All producer regions reached great results, like Marche that hosted the event, Sicily, Sardinia that had been often on the podium, Apulia and Latium with its great Itrana. I hope that this competition, once stabilized on Italian production, will cross Italian borders and meet table olives coming from the Mediterranean basin and overseas countries.”
You can find the winners and their website on the Monna Oliva website.