June 14, 2007
153 exhibitors from Italy, Slovenia and Croatia, buyers from the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Romania, Serbia, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Morocco, 25 operators from the Ukraine, 1821 specialist publications from 35 countries, 51 associations from 29 countries; these are just some of the numbers from the first edition of “OLIO CAPITALE –Salon of typical and quality extra virgin olive oils”.
This was the leading theme that had been chosen by Fiera Trieste Spa for 2007 in parallel with the 59th International Trade Fair. As part of its campaign to promote a continuous series of specialist events the Fiera di Trieste selected oil – in particular the entire olive oil product chain – as an area of particular interest in terms of both the importance of the “made in Italy” production of oil, in constant growth, and also the properties it has as a food.
Extra virgin olive oil is following a path similar to that taken by wine, enjoying a new status, no longer the simple condiment but today a product well appreciated for its infinity of tastes and flavors linked to its territory of origin, as well as for its health benefits.
In 2006, the national consumption of olive oils in Italy reached a level of 215 thousand tonnes, equivalent to a value of 1 billion Euros. With its production of 800 thousand tonnes, Italy occupies a position of worldwide significance.
“Olio Capitale” presented a series of projects for training those involved in the various stages of this product chain. The exhibition, open to all in the industry, acted as an international showcase for national and foreign producers who had occasion to expand their commercial contacts. Among other events, one-to-one business meetings were organized between Italian operators and foreign operators and buyers invited to Trieste by the organization. Exhibitors had the opportunity to sell their own products direct to the public, who were able to visit the Salon free of charge.
A rich programme of events ran in parallel with the fair: seminars on technical aspects of agronomy, talk-shows on topics relevant to training for the players in the various stages of the sector and for foreign operators, moderated by the oil expert and journalist Luigi Caricato, tasting sessions with specialist instruction and laboratory testing, cooking lessons with practical demonstrations, the participation of leading chefs and other professionals working with olive oil, quality competitions, presentation of scientific studies.
During the exhibition, a competition was also held, the Concorso Olio Capitale (olive oil competition), reserved for typical and quality extra virgin olive oils produced in the Mediterranean area.
The novelty of this “Olio Capitale” Competition compared with all others is the composition of the Panel, which was made up of Professional Users (chaired by Rossana Bettini), Professional Tasters (invited Panel Heads) and for the first time ever a Public Panel. This Panel’s vote was used along with those of the experts, in deciding on the winner.
Anyone wishing to become a member of the Public Panel took part free of charge in an “introductory course to tasting of extra virgin olive oil”, held by Barbara Alfei from OLEA (Organizzazione Laboratorio Esperti Assaggiatori – specialist tasting laboratory organization