Azienda Agricola Colle Para

Next Month I’ll join a multidisciplinary panel of judges in Molise, Italy to decide the winners of the first Extrascape competition. Does the world really need another olive oil contest?

Each season judges from Los Angeles to Beijing swirl, sip and scrutinize samples for their organoleptic qualities and declare the world’s best olive oils (and thank goodness they do). But there’s another story that needs to be told.

Now more than ever we need to be concerned with the story behind the bottle and look at the farm it came from. Ethics, sustainability, historical heritage and harmony with the surroundings should also be weighed.

Extrascape will look through the cobalt blue tasting glass to the origins of great olive oils and recognize the importance of the farm and its landscape in the creation of the world’s best olive oils.

Entries will first be evaluated by a panel of professional tasters before undergoing another round of technical analysis by the agricultural science and landscape architecture departments of a trio of Italian universities. Finally, a jury will take into acount all of the recommendations and decide the outcome.

Winners will be announced at a May Day ceremony in Molise coinciding with a local event, La Carrese. They will be honored at a special exhibition at the well-known Chicago restaurant Spiaggia, and profiled in these pages and the international press.

The first Extrascape competition will be a tribute to the great olive landscapes of the world, and a recognition of the simple truth that great olive oil can only come from a great landscape.

Producers can register here.

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