Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and the Environment has teamed up with the organization Ibercaja y Zeytum Servicios Oleotécnicos to create an olive oil educational program aimed at raising awareness about the benefits of olive oil.

The first course, which will run from January to May at the Centro Cultural de Ibercaja, consists of five theoretical and practical sessions. Each session allows students to discover the different benefits, aromas and flavors of the main varieties of olive oil through a process of comprehensive sensory analysis.

While the course is open to the general public, olive oil producers, chefs and others who work closely with the product are particularly encouraged to sign up.

Session titles will include “Introduction to Oilve Oil,” “Defects and Benefits of Olive Oil,” and “Major Oils of Spain.”

Particular emphasis will be placed on olive oils from Spain’s La Rioja province where olive oil production has grown significantly in recent years. La Rioja currently produces 500,000 liters annually and is home to 45 internationally recognized brands.

“It’s a region known for its small-scale, artisanal production,” Luis Javier Rodríguez Moroy, president of La Rioja Academy of Gastronomy told La Rioja.

The course will conclude with a special tasting event and benefit “Cocina Económica” to be held June 1. The organization Ibercaja Social Work will provide a quart of oil for every euro raised, with all proceeds being donated to charity.

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