The specialist Italian trade fair, held in the city of Trieste, played host to a record number of visitors and attracted even greater international involvement than previous years.

Olio Capitale 2013, one of the only trade events dedicated entirely to olive oil attracting around 10,500 visitors through the doors of its new venue, the Stazione Marittima, located in the city center. Those attending included people from all walks of life from olive oil buyers from around the globe to members of the general public interested in learning more about olive oil culture, organizers said.

President of the Trieste chamber of commerce Antonio Paoletti described the event as not only a trade fair where buyers from all over the world come to deal with producers, but also a celebration of olive oil at the very highest level. The event, which was concluded March 4th, is said to have also brought benefits for the city, which is a hub for European trade.

The focus of this year’s expo was the Mediterranean diet, with special attention also paid to product quality and the unique uses for olive oil in transforming the mundane into something special in the culinary world. Particularly popular were the cookery classes held in conjunction with the Italian National Federation of chefs, which saw the participation of over 3,000 people throughout the duration of the show with around 100 participants attending each demonstration given by a local chef.

Business interactions were also fruitful, with the expo providing a unique opportunity for producers and buyers to meet. 231 companies, ranging from small boutique producers to large suppliers, displayed their products this year and vast quantities of business meetings were conducted between exhibitors and buyers from specific target markets from Europe and around the world throughout the event.

Perhaps the highlight of Olio Capitale 2013, was the Concorso Olio Capitale competition. Winners were announced on the final day of trade. Tuscany was a stand-out region, boasting six of the top fifteen finalists, however Puglia was the biggest winner of the day taking four of the seven prizes on offer. Sardinia and Sicily also took home prizes for their top oils.

Although the oils making up the final places were pre-selected by a judging panel, all potential extra virgin olive oil consumers were represented in the final judging. A total of three panels made up respectively of chefs and restaurateurs, professional testers and members of the general public were responsible for selection of the winners on the day.

This year saw the biggest international contingent to participate yet, with 20 percent of the oils heralding from outside of Italy. However, the host country was still the big winner when it came to the competition, resoundingly chosen by the judges over oils from Spain, Portugal, Greece and Israel.

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