` Cerignola, Apulia Set to Host 2nd National Competition for Table Olives - Olive Oil Times

Cerignola, Apulia Set to Host 2nd National Competition for Table Olives

Jun. 15, 2015
Ylenia Granitto

Recent News

The olive is not only the fruit that gives us EVOO. It is cen­tral to many recipes in Mediterranean food cul­ture, the main ingre­di­ent of appe­tiz­ers, condi­ments and sauces and the queen of the aper­i­tif: a bowl of green olives is one of the essen­tial ingre­di­ents of an Italian happy hour — of course accom­pa­nied by a good glass of wine or a well-stirred Spritz.

Both for the shape — spher­i­cal or oval, tiny or large, and its bril­liant col­ors rang­ing from yel­low and black to the pecu­liar hue that gave rise to the term olive green” — the olive adds to the table a sense of cheer­ful joy. The olive reaches refined and friv­o­lous ele­gance when, skew­ered with a tooth­pick, it is dropped in a Martini glass.

In recent years there has been a trend of strong growth in both the pro­duc­tion and con­sump­tion of table olives. World con­sump­tion has more than dou­bled, with an increase of 169 per­cent from 1990/91 to 2014/15. In the first four months of the 2014/15 crop year (i.e. from October 2014 to January 2015), table olive imports were higher in the United States (3 per­cent) than in the same period a year ear­lier, accord­ing to the International Olive Council. Spain, the world’s top pro­ducer, is also home to the lead­ing con­sumers (4.0 kg annual per capita), fol­lowed by Malta (3.8 kg), Cyprus (3.0 kg) and Italy (2.4 kg).

Last year saw the birth of first National Italian com­pe­ti­tion for the best table olives, Monna Oliva, whose name is a clear ref­er­ence to the famous Mona Lisa, pro­tag­o­nist of the paint­ing by Leonardo Da Vinci and ambas­sador of Italian genius and excel­lence in the world. 

The unique event is a brain­child of Paola Fioravanti, a cham­pion for cul­ture of extra vir­gin olive oil in Italy and pres­i­dent of UMAO (Mediterranean Union of Oil Tasters), a non-profit orga­ni­za­tion estab­lished in 1995 to pre­serve and fos­ter the cul­ture of olive oil and other typ­i­cal food prod­ucts, that orga­nizes the event in col­lab­o­ra­tion with National Association of Olive Oil Women (Donne dell’Olio).

Quality matters.
Find the world's best olive oils near you.

The olive is a pre­cious fruit but still not suf­fi­ciently val­ued,” said Ivano Caprioli, a sen­sory ana­lyst and the panel leader for the com­pe­ti­tion. It is a great prod­uct, both for its taste and for the excel­lent nutri­tional prop­er­ties. It can be pro­duced by diver­si­fy­ing the farm­ing and pro­cess­ing tech­niques in order to obtain a prod­uct at rea­son­able cost.”

We find usu­ally only two or three types of olives dom­i­nat­ing the mar­ket,” Caprioli con­tin­ued, but there are many other cul­ti­vars that can be used for the table olives.” The pur­pose of the com­pe­ti­tion is to value the best table olives from dif­fer­ent ter­ri­to­r­ial pro­duc­tions and sup­port the pro­duc­ers, help­ing them improve prod­uct qual­ity and revi­tal­ize the sec­tor. In this way, small EVOO man­u­fac­tur­ers can diver­sify pro­duc­tion with­out nec­es­sar­ily adding a com­pletely dif­fer­ent prod­uct to their portfolio.

Duomo Cathedral of Cerignola (Apulia) Italy

Olives have excel­lent prop­er­ties com­pa­ra­ble to those of extra vir­gin olive oil and they can pro­vide sim­i­lar nutri­ents. Olives can also have a longer shelf-life than EVOO. The man­u­fac­tur­ing of table olives can be rel­a­tively easy. For exam­ple mak­ing them al nat­u­rale”, explained Caprioli, you just put the olives in a solu­tion of salt and water and the microor­gan­isms located in the exter­nal part of the olive will kick­start of the fer­men­ta­tion. You have to mas­ter the abil­ity to keep the fer­men­ta­tion para­me­ters under con­trol which is fun­da­men­tal to reduc­ing the bit­ter­ness and enhance the fla­vor and obtain a high-qual­ity product.”

About 70 farms will attend the sec­ond edi­tion of Monna Oliva. The con­test, divided by type of man­u­fac­tur­ing (Natural, Castelvetrano Style, Sevilla Style and California Style) is reserved for nat­ural, brined and wrin­kled olives.
See Also: Monna Oliva Event Information
Monna Oliva will also host the first Italian forum on table olives, a meet­ing of Italian pro­duc­ers, and a tech­ni­cal work­shop to talk about pro­duc­tion, tra­di­tions, and pro­mo­tional initiatives.

The event is itin­er­ant, held in places renowned for table olive pro­duc­tion. After the first edi­tion in Castelvetrano, Sicily, famous for the Nocellara del Belice,” this year’s event will be in Cerignola, Apulia, the birth­place of Bella di Cerignola,” June 25 to 27.

We eval­u­ated already many high-qual­ity prod­ucts and we do believe that this com­pe­ti­tion will reach an even higher level,” Caprioli con­cluded. For future edi­tions, we would like to invite pro­duc­ers from abroad. We would love to bring the com­pe­ti­tion to an inter­na­tional level.”

Related News

Feedback / Suggestions