In its fifth edition under the title of “Flos Olei” – formerly published as Guida all’Extravergine by a different publishing house – Marco Oreggia’s guide was presented to the press and public in Rome last month. Written in both Italian and English, the guide offers a comprehensive overview of worldwide olive oil production, proving to be a valuable tool for extra virgin enthusiasts, informed consumers, buyers and merchants.
Showcased products and farms hail not only from the major producing countries like Italy, Spain and Greece, but also from other Mediterranean countries such as Croatia, France, Slovenia and Morocco and from new areas such as Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Some are switching from being (relatively new) consumers to becoming producers: among them, Japan, Brazil and Peru.
Journalist and food critic Marco Oreggia is publisher and editor of the book. He explains: “Flos Olei has become a point of reference for all those working in the sector – and our guide is growing year by year. For the 2014, edition we decided to showcase the most important 500 companies in the world, describing 703 labels and 47 countries, with Switzerland and Ukraine as new entries. In addition, the accurate introduction offers useful information to both experts and novices who want to get to know this wonderful product.”
As the authors point out, among the highlights of this edition of the guide, and of the launch event that took place in Rome on the 1st December, there is a particular focus on business. In fact, 60 farms from different countries and many other Italian food craftsmen presented their products at the event itself.
“Flos Olei is also important for those who buy olive oil,” said Laura Marinelli, editor of the guide, journalist and expert taster, “as demonstrated by the fact that buyers from major markets such as the UK, Holland, Sweden, Ukraine, USA and Japan took part in the event. The reputation of our guide is a real endorsement, and more and more customers consult it before deciding on a purchase.”
An in-depth analysis of the global extra virgin market is also proposed, highlighting the present situation characterized by the extension of the production borders and a tendency toward free trade. This may involve a number of problems due to the lack of a transparent legislation within the European Community and in the rest of the world, even though new norms about the origin, labeling and the introduction of new anti-fraud chemical parameters were approved and introduced in many countries.
The guide supplies historical and cultural information and production data. Italy and Spain are analyzed in detail and subdivided into regions, while every producing country has a dedicated fact sheet to introduce the local olive growing background.
Each of the selected 500 farms also has a dedicated page about its history, growing and milling techniques. The book also provides details of the best products selected by a panel of tasters, including notes about oil tasting and gastronomic matches.
As in previous editions, the guide also features “The Best 20,” the ranking of the best companies and labels divided into categories. This year there was a special recognition in memory of the Italian journalist and food writer Cristina Tiliacos, who sadly passed away few years ago. An award was attributed to the supermarket chain owned by Fozzy Group in Ukraine.
The Farm of the Year was De Carlo, which has produced extra virgin olive oil in Apulia since the 17th century. Emerging Farms were Le Tre Colonne, from Italy, and Finca La Torre from Spain. The Frontier Farm award – making olive oil in faraway lands or with an avant-garde spirit – went to Noan Olive Oil, which produces extra virgin in Thessaly, Greece. Their philanthropic project involves local olive growers supporting educational activities for disadvantaged children and teenagers. The “Made with Love” Farms (high-quality farms showing special care and passion for their activity) were Frantoio Romano from Italy and Morgenster Wine and Olive Estate from South Africa. Italian PDO Tuscia by Selects Colli Etruschi was awarded The Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil of the Year.