Carola Dümmer Medina and Alicia Moya Valenzuela

Guía Oliva 2019, a new guide­book for the best Chilean extra vir­gin olive oils, is set to be pub­lished October 1.

The book will fea­ture detailed infor­ma­tion about a num­ber of local and imported oils, includ­ing a score from 65 to 100 points, a brief review of the oil, usage rec­om­men­da­tions, pro­duc­ers’ con­tact infor­ma­tion as well as where to buy the olive oil.

It’s going to be a book that exhibits what is hap­pen­ing with olive oil in Chile.- Carola Dümmer Medina, co-author of Guía Oliva 2019

“It’s a project that we’ve been talk­ing about for many years,” Carola Dümmer Medina, an olive oil jour­nal­ist and judge at the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, told Olive Oil Times. “The indus­try is strong and we think the con­sumers need a tool like this to under­stand a lit­tle bit more about olive oil.”

Dümmer Medina and Alicia Moya Valenzuela, an agro­nomic engi­neer at Chile’s Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaiso and also a judge at the NYIOOC, are writ­ing the guide to help edu­cate con­sumers not only about the extra vir­gin olive oils avail­able in Chile, but also how to use them in the kitchen.

See more: Olive Oil Books

“Consumers in Chile know very lit­tle about olive oil,” Dümmer Medina said. “They do not know many brands of olive oil, just the largest ones sold in the super­mar­ket. This will be very edu­ca­tional for them to under­stand what they can do with this spe­cific oil.”

In spite of hav­ing pro­duced 20,000 tons of olive oil in the 2018/​19 cam­paign – of which an esti­mated 90 per­cent is graded as extra vir­gin – oil con­sump­tion in the Western Hemisphere’s sec­ond largest pro­duc­ing coun­try is just 750 mil­li­liters per capita per year.

Dümmer Medina and Moya Valenzuela believe that pub­lish­ing the guide will help increase olive oil con­sump­tion, in part, by high­light­ing the oils of small-scale pro­duc­ers, which may not be sold out­side of the town in which they are pro­duced.

“I think for the small pro­duc­ers, it is a big oppor­tu­nity because they do not have much vis­i­bil­ity here on a national level,” Dümmer Medina said. “Now they will have access to a big­ger group of con­sumers that are will­ing to try dif­fer­ent brands of olive oil, so it is going to be a big oppor­tu­nity.”

Larger pro­duc­ers are also likely to ben­e­fit from the guide, the two authors con­tend, as it will also pro­vide them with an oppor­tu­nity to dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves from the com­pe­ti­tion.

“There are lots of guides in the world and peo­ple are always look­ing at guides to see which ones are the best-ranked oils,” Dümmer Medina said. “For me, the more infor­ma­tion avail­able about the com­pa­nies is bet­ter. It’s not like you buy oils solely because the guide said it’s the best one.”

“We will try to make it very inter­est­ing for con­sumers to read, giv­ing them some his­tory about the com­pa­nies,” she added.

For the guide’s first edi­tion, which will be pub­lished in English and Spanish, pro­duc­ers can reg­is­ter their olive oils on the book’s web­site before send­ing a sam­ple of their extra vir­gin olive oils to Dümmer Medina and Moya Valenzuela to be tasted and ranked. The only restric­tion on entries is that the oils must be sold in Chile or on Easter Island.

The guide will divide the extra vir­gin olive oils into six dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories. Three of these will be for Chilean olive oils based on the size of the pro­ducer, one will be for for­eign olive oils that are sold in Chile and the final two will be for fla­vor-infused olive oils, which are becom­ing increas­ingly pop­u­lar in the coun­try.

“It’s going to be a book that exhibits what is hap­pen­ing with olive oil in Chile,” Dümmer Medina said. “It’s a big oppor­tu­nity to make peo­ple more con­scious about the ben­e­fits of olive oil and to help them choose the best olive oils to buy in the super­mar­ket.”


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