‘Oil Bar’: a conscious approach to olive oil

LC, mezzo busto, foto PlumThere is not an ‘extra-virgin olive oil’, but different extra virgin olive oils. In Italy there are no less than 538 olives’ varieties, from which it is possible to obtain many different types of oil, and many more, if some of these cultivars are combined. This is why it is necessary to know the expressive richness of olive oils. Everything started in 2009, in Milan, when I organized a temporary exhibition space in order to examine the various types of olive oils. And I thought to a person in a coffee bar having the possibility to choose among many options. The organization of the ‘Oil Bar’ surprised everyone. This experience has been unique, as it has allowed tasting several hundred extra virgin olive oils of the different Italian areas of production. An unprecedented success was met, due to the originality and the unusual approach of this project. Many professionals coming from Spain, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Slovenia, Turkey, Greece, England, Tunisia, Switzerland, Japan, Russia, United States, Portugal, Chile, Argentina, Sweden, Morocco, Hungary, South Africa, Chile, and of course, Italy, took part to this meeting. This idea was appreciated because it was conceived in a simple way: a bar behind which many oils are available, for smelling and tasting them in the glass. Here oil is not tasted on bread, but in the glass, in its pureness. All this has allowed making the Oil Bar a true itinerant structure for promoting the knowing of olive oils, with a staff trained to explain not only the right approach for tasting oils and understanding their sensory characteristics, but also in order to spread a ‘matching code', useful for combining oil with other food commodities. The ‘Oil Bar’ can be a pole of attraction and cultural ferment, a proposal which would be useful for retailers, too, as well as within the HoReCa channel.

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