By Alexandra Kicenik Devarenne

The fourth edition of Beyond Extra Virgin is being held in Verona, Italy on September 20–22, 2010. Billed as an International Conference on Olive Oil Flavor and Excellence, Beyond Extra Virgin IV will focus on the sensory qualities of super-premium olive oil. It will be presented in Italian and English with simultaneous translation, at the Palazzo Giusti.

Beyond Extra Virgin is unique among olive oil conferences in the scope of its program. It gives equal emphasis to both sides of the super-premium olive oil equation: the production and evaluation of excellent olive oil, and its culinary application. The organizations behind the conference are the Academy of
Georgofili, Association 3E, the Culinary Institute of America and the
UC Davis Olive Center.

Producing excellence and bringing it to the table

The conference is aimed at olive oil producers who are committed to achieving the highest quality. Presentations and panel discussions will address topics such as planning for particular flavor profiles, controlling critical production operations for sensory influence, appropriate sensory measurement, and describing olive oil characteristics in the marketplace.

Presenters and panelists for the conference include:

  • Harold McGee, author of On Food & Cooking: The Science & Lore of the Kitchen
  • Paul Bartolotta, executive chef/partner, Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, winner of two James Beard awards, Las Vegas
  • Prof. Luis Rallo Romero, University of Cordoba
  • Bill Briwa, chef instructor, The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, Napa Valley
  • Prof. Jean Xavier Guinard, University of California, Davis
  • Maria Jose San Ramon, chef/owner, La Taberna del Gourmet, named Spain’s best tapas bar in 2009, Alicante, Spain
  • Prof. Erminio Monteleone, University of Florence
  • Nancy Harmon Jenkins, food writer and specialist in Mediterranean cuisine

The program for the final day of the conference focuses on the culinary application of super-premium olive oil. Ultimately, olive oil is an ingredient in food, so the Beyond Extra Virgin conference explores this world in depth. A series of cooking demonstrations and tastings will emphasize the interaction of flavors when different olive oils are combined with food. Chefs, writers, producers and olive oil purveyors will benefit from this discussion of a new culture of olive oil that can be a reference point and inspiration for consumers, the media, retailers, and others.

What is Super-premium olive oil?

4th-beyond-extra-virgin-conference-to-focus-on-olive-oil-excellenceSuper-premium is the category of olive oil that lies “beyond extra virgin.” A standard developed by the international Association 3E (the 3 E’s are Ethics, Excellence and Economics) sets the bar for super-premium well above extra virgin. The 3E standard looks at both the product and the process. Chemical parameters are much stricter than the IOC extra virgin standard: free acidity must be less than 0.3% (extra virgin standard is 0.8%), peroxide value less than 7.5 (EV is 20) and K232 less than 1.85 (EV is 2.50). In addition to the absence of defects, the super-premium certification looks at the positive attributes of an olive oil. A detailed sensory analysis is part of the certification process, and each oil receives a description of its flavor profile which is part of the oil’s identity card.

Equally important is the process: complete traceability from tree to bottle and a commitment to stringent quality control. Association 3E super-premium selection olive oils come from producers who have undergone an in-depth audit of their production processes and have agreed to complete transparency. The preservation of diversity in olive oil is a critical part of the 3E mission. It is recognized that there are no geographical, varietal or other boundaries to the commitment to excellence. Non-Italian associates of 3E will receive one free conference registration. Due to the format of Beyond Extra Virgin, participants in the conference will be limited to 120 people.

For more information and conference registration, visit the organizer’s website:  Association 3E – Beyond Extra Virgin IV

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