Gaetano Avallone, the president of Oleum, died last Monday. He has been fondly remembered by many of his colleagues for his contribution to the Italian extra virgin olive oil sector.
The Italian sector of high-quality extra virgin olive oil suddenly lost one of its leading lights, Gaetano Avallone.
We are talking about a great man and a great professional who, several years ago, had already realized that the olive oil world should have been rethought and revolutionized.
A professional taster, panel leader and expert in production and extraction techniques, Avallone was the president of the National Association of Professional Olive Oil Tasters, Oleum.
Over the years, he contributed significantly to the development and improvement of the quality of Italian Liquid Gold, through his activities of popularization and dissemination alongside collaborations with the country’s best olive oil producers.
Austere in appearance, “the Professor,” as he was affectionately yet respectfully called by his friends, had a special ability to understand and embrace others, making them feel comfortable, while sharing his vast knowledge and experience with warmth and empathy.
Philosophy and olive oil production were often intertwined in his words. Professionalism and skills joined with special human traits made him a point of reference for high-quality producers since the early 1990s, when he co-founded the Salerno-based association Oleum.
The following are words from those who shared the same passion with Avallone:
“He created some of the best products out there,” award-winning olive oil producer and miller, Nicolangelo Marsicani, said. “He made these exceptional extra virgin olive oils out of nothing.”
“We are talking about a great man and a great professional who, several years ago, had already realized that the olive oil world should have been rethought and revolutionized,” he added. “He is, in fact, among those who unleashed the wake of excellence of recent years.”
“Gaetano Avallone was my teacher at the tasting courses, and afterwards, we worked together,” Laura Dal Sacco, a professional taster and secretary of Oleum for eight years, said. “It was always a pleasure and an honor to support him in the many activities of the association.”
Dal Sacco said that he was a lover of beauty in all its forms, from nature and architecture to poetry and foreign languages.
“He was bound to move towards extra virgin olive oil,” she said. “He had dedicated himself wholeheartedly to this passion for 25 years, so completely that he became an expert in every area of the sector.”
“He was an innovator, possessing a generous and smooth intuition, and he was a forward-thinking man who saw at least 10 years ahead,” she continued. “He was a chosen master without any self-referentiality. We all owe him a lot, and even if now we are a little lonely, we will continue to work on the route he marked out.”
“I owe a lot to Gaetano Avallone, professionally and humanly speaking,” NYIOOC panel member, Antonio G Lauro, said. “We first met only four years ago, and he has given me so much, and there was so much more to do. We will honor his commitment to quality, and we will do our best to be good students for a great professor.”