As part of an effort to promote ongoing knowledge of olive oils and their production, a ‘Know Your Oil’ project has been carried out by CM Europa, a company providing a variety of services to the olive oil sector. Children aged eleven years from schools in Martos, Spain and surrounding areas participated in the program, where the cartoon, ‘Piqui and Mandy: The World of Olive Oils’, was used as a teaching resource.
The cartoon was created by Rosa Mª Marchal López, a chemist specializing in oils and an advocate for olive oil culture, in collaboration with Alfonso Buendía Martos and Trinidad Pestaña Yánez. It provides a simple description of the processes involved in the production of olive oil, by comparing and contrasting the production method and product to that of the more familiar orange juice.
After establishing that both olives and oranges are fruits from which natural juice can be extracted and that are beneficial for the health, Piqui and Mandy come to the agreement that olive oil and orange juice are, in fact, the same.
The comic highlights the nutritional benefits, different grades and uses of olive oil, using simple, colorful illustrations to explain processes.
Marchal López hopes that the comic will educate readers as to the different types of olive oils and reduce the common error of referring to olive oil in the singular tense rather than the plural to encompass the vastly different varieties available. Differences between extra virgin, virgin and refined olive oils are summarized in concise statements and easy to understand language.
Martos (Jaén) Spain is in the heart of the world’s largest olive oil producing region. “This town is basically based in the olive oil industry and around 90 percent of the children´s parents have some relation with the olive oil sector,” Marchal López told Olive Oil Times. “They have had fun with the owl Piqui and the rabbit Mandy, animals of the olive tree ecosystem while learning that virgin olive oils are natural juices of the olive,” she added.
While the characters and bright illustrations should appeal to the younger generation, the cartoon will no doubt increase knowledge of olive oil in adults and children alike, through its simple language and an engaging format.