The fifth edition of the annual Beyond Extra Virgin conference will kick off in Córdoba on June 8 with the title: “Olive Oil Opportunities: Adding Value Through Excellence.”

Up to 250 people are expected to attend the 3-day international congress, which is being organized by Spain’s Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva Español.

The organizations presenting the congress are Association 3E; the Culinary Institute of America, St. Helena; and Interprofessional. Simultaneous translation in Spanish and English will be provided.

As always, Beyond Extra Virgin will focus on so-called “super-premium” olive oil – both its production and evaluation, and its culinary applications.

Among the session topics on the advance program are the requisites and conditions for excellence in olive oil; the rising global market for premium flavor experience; sensory science and mapping flavor diversity; innovative methods for sensory evaluation; and olive oil culture among consumers.

Also on the agenda are discussions on insights from current research; new olive plantation systems; the new agenda for olive processing and handling; excellence as a function of the milling and extraction process; excellence in the world of chefs and restaurants: strategies to leverage costs for profits; and the art of ‘Beyond Extra Virgin Olive Oil’ frying.

This year’s conference has attracted a wide range of presenters and speakers, including Claudio Peri (Association 3E), Greg Drescher (The Culinary Institute of America), Vassilis Zambounis (journalist), Tom Mueller (journalist and writer), Jean Louis Barjol (International Olive Council director), Aris Kefalogiannas (Gaea Products CEO, Greece), José Ignacio (Director, Master of Gastronomy, University of Córdoba), and Nancy Harmon Jenkins (food writer).

And from the Interprofessional organization Teresa Pérez, Pedro Barato and Pedro Rubio.

Among top chefs lined up to participate are Spain’s Daní Garcia, Celia Jiménez Caballero and Maria José San Román; and Paul Bartolotta from the U.S..

California-based olive oil consultant and educator Alexandra Devarenne, who will be a presenter, has been involved with Beyond Extra Virgin since its 2007 launch at UC Davis and said it was exciting to see how it had evolved.

“This year I think we are seeing a broader recognition of the importance of excellence to the olive oil industry. It seems that the value of producing and promoting superior quality, unique extra virgin olive oils is becoming clear to some who were skeptical in years past.

“A growing segment of increasingly educated and interested consumers presents an opportunity to the olive oil producer seeking to differentiate their product, and command a premium price.

“The global nature of excellence is another theme that is growing in importance each year for Association 3E and Beyond Extra Virgin; this year we will have participation from Australia as well as the Mediterranean and California,” she said.

In a press release, the Interprofessional said that the congress would encompass production control, sensory evaluation, culinary application, marketing and communication – all critical aspects for olive oil excellence – and attract people from all parts of the sector, including producers, millers and bottlers, and managers of enterprises seeking to achieve excellence.

Chefs and restaurants would also learn how to turn high quality olive oils from a cost to a profit center by creating a gold standard on culinary art based on flavor discovery of excellent olive oils.

“Beyond Extra Virgin is more than a conference; it is an opportunity to exchange and update ideas about excellence in olive oils on a global perspective. It matches art and science, tradition and innovation, and shows how to introduce the consumer to the richness of Mediterranean cuisine and lifestyle,” the Interprofessional said.

Olive Oil Times will cover the event from Cordoba with live updates.

Conference Program


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