With a goal to promote knowledge and appreciation for the benefits of producing, sharing and using extra virgin olive oil, the Escuela Valenciana de Cata hosted the latest in its series of educational programs about olive oil at the Universidad Polytéchnica de Valencia, Spain on November 20 – 21.
The program, Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Gastronomy, attracted a mix of attendees representing every element of the value chain for quality extra virgin olive oil including producers, distributors and retailers, academics, Michelin-starred chefs and enthusiastic students.
“We are passionate about creating greater awareness of the benefits of extra virgin olive oil throughout its value chain. Our programs are designed to help growers, professionals and everyday users of quality olive oil learn more about this important contribution to gastronomy and health,” said Susana Romera, technical director, Escuela Valenciana de Cata.
Michelin-starred chef Mariá José San Román, headlined the program with a two-part presentation on olive oil varietals and their use in cooking, followed by a tasting exercise with a wide mix of ingredients and dishes. Participants compared four different varietal flavor profiles including Arbequina, Cornicabra, Hojiblanca and Picual and created a range of different food pairings from meats, vegetables and desserts.
Chef San Román demonstrated new, simple techniques for incorporating quality extra virgin olive oil into everyday cuisine as well as menu examples from her Michelin-starred restaurant, Monastrell, in Alicante, Spain.
The program also included presentations by Michelin-star chef German Carrizo about innovative uses for olive oil in the kitchen; and by Manuel Selma, Agronomy Engineer with the University of Valencia about evaluation techniques of quality olive oil and production aspects. The program’s Technical Director Susana Romera provided in-depth presentations on olive oil classifications and the current market environment for quality extra virgin olive oil worldwide.
The latest program on gastronomy was just one of eight presented this year by Escuela de Valencia de Cata. Launched in 2012 by Susana Romera and Marta González Eguizábal, the educational initiative was recently awarded the Premio Nacional a la Difusion de la Cultura del Olivo 2014 by the prestigious Associacion Espanola de Municipios del Olivo in Cordoba, Spain.