With extra virgin olive oil use by Americans increasing every year and a recent United States International Trade Commission report revealing a majority of extra virgin olive oils on the shelves are “adulterated and mislabeled products,” a deep understanding of extra virgin olive oil is becoming essential to operate successfully in this dynamic category.
Lucini Italia is sponsoring the National Organization of Olive Oil Tasters’ (ONAOO) Extra Virgin Olive Oil Intensive Tasting Seminar, a two-day, in-depth training modeled after the five-day professional ONAOO course based in Imperia, Italy. A first of its kind in the United States, the course is led by Italian ONAOO instructors and will teach proper tasting techniques, sensory analysis and how technology plays a role with the quality of extra virgin olive oil, among other topics. Held in San Francisco two days before the Winter Fancy Food Show in January, the seminar is targeting buyers and category managers who have the task of listing and reviewing olive oils for sale in their stores and distributorships.
David Neuman, president of Lucini, attended the full five-day course in Italy last year and was extremely impressed with the high level of professionalism and vast knowledge the ONAOO instructors possessed. Lucini developed an hour long mini-training that explained how extra virgin olive oil is made, why quality is of the utmost importance and why it is imperative to be able to discern quality vs. fraudulent oils. Lucini held over 20 mini-trainings in the last year for major retailers, distributors and consumer magazines, all of which ended with the audience hungry to learn more about extra virgin olive oil and asking how they could attend an official ONAOO course.
Realizing that the high cost of travel to Imperia, hotel lodging, course fees and the fact that the course is held in English only twice a year may prohibit others to attend, Lucini began working with ONAOO’s scientific advisor, Dr. Mauro Amelio, to bring a version of the course to America. The cost of the US course is $500 and covers all materials needed, as well as olive oil centric meals.
“Lucini is not benefiting financially from the training,” said David Neuman, president of Lucini. “Simply put, quality is our mantra and the more people understand and respect quality extra virgin olive oil, the better and stronger the category will be as a whole.”
The Imperia-based course has been attended by Tom Mueller, author of the New York Times Bestseller, Extra Virginity, Nick Coleman, chief oleologist at Eataly in New York City and Eryn Balch, executive vice president of the North American Olive Oil Association.
“This course, or one like it, should be mandatory for anyone in the olive oil business–and everyone who wants to understand oil quality,” said Tom Mueller, who will serve as the keynote speaker for the seminar in San Francisco. “Plus the people in your course frequently become valuable contacts that broaden your experience of the industry.”
The course is taking place in San Francisco on January 17 – January 18, 2014. Visit www.oliveoilseries.com for more information, full curriculum and to register.