24 Achieve Olive Oil Sommelier Certification After Intensive Week in California

They join the growing ranks of sommeliers around the world -- ambassadors of olive oil who will, in turn, educate others on matters of olive oil quality, usage, and appreciation.
Oct. 10, 2017
Olive Oil Times Staff

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Twenty-four peo­ple came from as far as Hong Kong, Greece and Turkey to gain a deeper under­stand­ing of olive oil sen­sory eval­u­a­tion at the fourth edi­tion of the Olive Oil Sommelier Certification Program in Campbell, California last week.

…incred­i­ble amounts of infor­ma­tion that will be used as a ref­er­ence guide for years to come.- Olove Oil Producer and Sommelier

Having suc­cess­fully com­pleted the six-day, com­pre­hen­sive course, they joined the grow­ing ranks of som­me­liers around the world — ambas­sadors of olive oil who will, in turn, edu­cate oth­ers on mat­ters of olive oil qual­ity, usage, and appre­ci­a­tion.

The atten­dees ranged from small pro­duc­ers to rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the very largest; from qual­ity-con­trol tech­ni­cians to pro­fes­sional chefs and restau­ra­teurs; from inde­pen­dent retail­ers to major dis­trib­u­tors.

Over the course of the week, they were led through guided tast­ings of more than 130 sam­ples of olive oil from 26 coun­tries by instruc­tors from Italy, Greece, Chile, New York and California.

The inter­ac­tive pro­gram spanned the his­tory and cul­ture of olive oil, olive tree cul­ti­va­tion and har­vest­ing, milling and pro­duc­tion, health ben­e­fits and chem­istry, qual­ity man­age­ment, culi­nary appli­ca­tions and food pair­ing and, of course, the sen­sory eval­u­a­tion of extra vir­gin olive oil.

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On two of the days, there were open forums, over lunch pre­pared by the International Culinary Center, where par­tic­i­pants shared their own ideas and projects with the group. What we have found is that tap­ping into the col­lec­tive wis­dom of such a diverse, inter­na­tional group of pro­fes­sion­als can often expose a clear path for­ward for the par­tic­i­pants’ ini­tia­tives and ambi­tions,” said Curtis Cord the pro­gram direc­tor, or at the very least, build on this com­mu­nity, and expand our net­works to make change hap­pen.”

In fact, past par­tic­i­pants of the pro­gram have wasted lit­tle time putting their exper­tise and con­nec­tions to work around the world.

Fabulous course with incred­i­ble amounts of infor­ma­tion that can (and will) be used as a ref­er­ence guide for years to come. Thank you for expo­sure to knowl­edge­able experts we were unlikely to have the oppor­tu­nity to meet,” a pro­ducer from California who com­pleted the six-day pro­gram said.

Another pro­ducer who, after the pro­gram, returned to imme­di­ately over­see the olive har­vest in Turkey said, I have learned much more than I expected. It was a very well struc­tured and orga­nized course.”

An awe­some course,” said a cor­po­rate chef who splits his time between California and Australia. Very excited to stay in touch with all of my new col­leagues and edu­cate more and more.”

The pro­gram’s instruc­tors included the Chilean expert Carola Dummer Medina; the con­sul­tant, EVOO judge and edu­ca­tor from Italy, Antonio G. Lauro; New York-based ole­ol­o­gist Nicholas Coleman; Greek agron­o­mist, con­sul­tant and expert taster Konstantinos Liris; award-win­ning California olive oil pro­ducer Pablo Voitzuk; the International Culinary Center culi­nary direc­tor Marc Pavlovic; Agbiolab founders Liliana Scarafia and Carlos Machado; and Cord, the pub­lisher of Olive Oil Times and pres­i­dent of the New York International Olive Oil Competition.

The next course will begin April 30 in New York, fol­low­ing the 2018 NYIOOC.



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