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London, conference on extra virgin olive oil

Londra, convegno sull’olio extra vergine di oliva
Londra, convegno sull’olio extra vergine di oliva

Extra virgin olive oil was the protagonist of an event hosted by the Italian Embassy in London. The conference was titled “Sience behind extra virgin olive oil” and focused on the organoleptic qualities and nutritional factors of EVO oil, but also on the difficulties faced by producers in dealing with growing demand, labelling and potential fraud. Both Italian and British experts attended the event.

With its strong agricultural vocation and its renowned reputation as a producer of EVO oil, Italy plays a leading role not only in the domestic, but also in the international market, accounting for 15% of the world’s entire olive oil production. In the UK, Italy is the second largest supplier of extra virgin oil.

In his opening speech at the event, Ambassador Inigo Lambertini focused on the sensory attributes of EVO oil. Giovanni Sacchi, Director of the ICE Agency in London, recalled that 2022 saw Great Britain import as much as 85,000 tonnes of olive oil worth EUR 85 million; of those, 55% were extra virgin oil.

However, the export of extra virgin olive oil poses new challenges for Italian producers: the very low oil production reached in 2023 has drastically reduced supply volumes. Another issue is that of potential fraud, which is becoming increasingly frequent despite stringent labelling regulations.

The event ended with a presentation by chef Maurizio Bocchi, who pairs local products with Italian extra virgin olive oil in his restaurant in Lancashire, followed by a tasting enabling guests to appreciate the organoleptic features of the different varieties of extra virgin olive oil.

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