The 12th Italian National Exhibition of Monovarietal Extra Virgin Olive Oils will be held on June 20 and 21 in San Benedetto del Tronto, Marche. It is organized by ASSAM (Marche Agri-Food Sector Service Agency) and the Marche Region, and it is one of the many events aligned with this year’s Milan Expo.
The aim of the exhibition is to enhance the value of Italian olive growing biodiversity and help characterize monovarietal EVOOs obtained from the huge selection of Italian native cultivars.
Monovarietal olive oils are those obtained using one olive variety, or cultivar. Various chemical and organoleptic features related to genetic heritage correspond to soil and climate conditions of areas that the different cultivars have been populating for centuries.
Barbara Alfei is president of the scientific committee for the event and panel leader of the group of experts that selected samples from several regions of Italy. “Monovarietal EVOOs allow to highlight typical genotype properties,” Alfei said.
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“Italian olive growing patrimony is extremely various,” Alfei added. It offers the opportunity to put on the market products characterized by different genetic and territorial identities, enriched with history, culture and traditions. This can be perceived and appreciated both by consumers and by the restaurant industry, for a more aware use in everyday life and a more careful research of the best combinations in gastronomy.”
Each cultivar, from the north to south of Italy, has its unique features — aroma, flavor, fatty acids and phenolic composition — and once you understand its potential, you can appreciate a single variety, trusting in its peculiarities, or prefer a blend of different varieties. “Research on product identity is a goal that producers are now pursuing to differentiate themselves in an extremely evolving and competitive market. They have to satisfy the needs of a dynamic, ever-changing scenery,” Alfei concluded.
Twelve editions of the exhibition have so far contributed to the Database of Italian Monovarietal Olive Oils (available online for now only in Italian), which currently consists of over 2,400 single-varietal olive oils and offers a description of the main fatty acids, polyphenols and organoleptic profile for every oil.
The 2015 panel analyzed 186 oil samples of 62 different varieties from 15 Italian regions, and from Greece — a guest with its Koroneiki variety. Despite this edition receiving 40 percent fewer oils than last year, a higher percentage has been allowed by the panel.
Apart from the last peculiar harvest that affected the quality of many olive oils, past editions saw a gradual increase in polyphenolic content for many varieties, thanks to a growing commitment of producers in achieving higher quality. In other words, over the years, single-varietal EVOOs submitted to the exposition reached increasingly greater intensities of bitterness and pungency, as well as a better nutritional characteristics.
The meeting will provide a valuable opportunity for many tasters to deepen their understanding of the sensory characteristics of monovarietal EVOOs and for producers to show off products that, despite a difficult year, reached high standards for quality.
For more information, see the event website.