Interview to: Marco Antonucci
D1:How was used olive oil at your home in your childhood? Do you remember any your favorite traditional recipes based on olive oil?
I was born and live in the city on the shore of the Iseo Lake, in the Vallecamonica Valley, a region well known for a culinary culture with butter and cheese than extra-
D2:What were the recipes that have surprised you regarding the EVOO pairing either raw or cooked in the places where you have visited in Italy and abroad?
The extravergin is a base ingredients, among a few others, that can be employed both as a condiment (over salad, on raw and cooked meat, soups,...), as a complement (pasta with garlic, oil and hot chili pepper, beef marinated in oil, olive oil ice cream,...), as moreover a final product (pinzimonio, fett'unta, ghiacciolo or gocce di olio,...). This means that it's functionality has virtually "infinite" and often " undefined" possibilities. I' have surely been amazed by a flavor enhancement of "sferizzare" olive oil (paring a bite/small seize ingredient with an optimal dose of extravergin) in order to make it explode in the mouth, after eating, for example, a small piece of toasted garlic bread, licking an ice cream Nocellara del Belice flavor (a Sicilian native variety of olive), a gelled cube made of olive oil to lay it on a buffalo mozzarella, the Sicilian oranges covered with olive oil and sugar,...I could even tell many memories, which ways of use of the EVOO that often surprised me for its simplicity and for the end result: I think, without doubt, the absolute value of extra-
D3:Do you think that the high quality restaurant ( the world of catering) could be fundamental for creating the synergy with the producers of excellent EVOO in the view to offer consumers opportunities for the discovery of this product rich in fascinating diversities, history and pleasure?
I think it might be a way, but not the only or the most important.
D4:Given the lower profit margins compared to wine, do you have any suggestions for enhancing the wise use of EVOO in the kitchen and at the table? Do you believe that the EVOO list and/or the EVOO servicing cart can be effective for the enhancement of its ideal promotion?
Oil list, thematic oil-
We Italians often believe that we know everything about "Italian food" and we tend to act accordingly. I would like a little bit to joke, for example. Like most people who care of the sensory analysis, I have stopped by the time to taste the oils of my friends in order to not lose the friendships...! Every Italian guys has a friend, a brother in law, a colleague who provides the oil from Tuscany, the tomatoes from Calabria, the wine from Veneto... And of course they are -
Any rule that protects the consumer is always welcome: I suppose that it happened to everyone to find on the table bottles refilled several times or containing oils different than those indicated on the label; a friend bottler tells me that he still receives requests by some restaurateurs for empty labeled bottles. The law is useful, although not always being properly implemented and applied to (as is the case with traditional cruets in restaurants!).
I think that producers have not had major difficulties: many have been already using this type of device. What is certain is that if a foreign "observer" consults this law system, he will get an idea that throughout the olive oil production value chain the only ones who defraude would be the restaurant owners when they serve the oil on the table: Is it really true?
D7:What results do you expect from strategies that lead consumer to understand and explore the historical and cultural value of the essence of the olive? What considers may be of the tourism initiatives such as olive oil related tourism in your territory ( the so-
Purchasing an Italian extravergin means purchasing a piece of Italy. When purchasing an extravergin of Como Lake, Brisighella, Chieti, Trapani,...you are acquiring a piece of their territory, the work and dedications of each farmer and their story behind it. These elements are added values and have great importance for some Italian artisanal products (Culatello di Zibello, Bresaola della Valtellina, Brunello di Montalcino, Robiola di Roccaverano: only a few examples of products that are inextricably linked to the territory) but when we talk about the extra-
In the alpine valleys their is a culture of an artisan cheese with the "tare": the "worm"; in France people appreciate and acquire a unique virgin olive oil obtained from olives left to dry on the olive plant before and then on the nets (graticci).... In this contest we could do a thousands examples of the dietary habits of the people, from fermented soybeans in Japan to roasted grasshoppers in Colombia. What is fundamental here is the awareness. If the consumer likes the "tare" cheese or oil made with olives shriveled, there is nothing wrong: it would be more important to be aware of ingesting a worm cheese and an obviously defective oil.
The consumer must be conscious to make an "informed choice": consumers should know that the unfiltered oil is fine if consumed within 6-
The consumers could be aware that the unfiltered EVOO should be consumed quickly, so they can take control of what they are to choosing and acquiring. And as is the case with the acidity of an oil, even though it is a chemical parameter, it should not be perceived in the mouth: the consumer often confuses the acidity with the sensation of pungency in the back of the throat, without being properly informed of one of the most precious positive attributes of the EVOO, wealth index of polyphenols.
Abroad often people asked this kind of question, when we taste EVOO with a lower organoleptic profile and sometimes with higher price range. I do not respond with words. When I've got a chance, on the other hands, I prepare boiled potatoes and I give two warm slices of them: on one slice, first of all, I put a drop of the EVOO which "they asked to taste ", on the another I put a drop of EVOO with a pleasant level of fruitiness and a harmonious notes of bitterness and spicy (if the potatoes are not available, we can use the glasses to compare them). I believe that this way would be the best and simple method which allows indelibly each people to keep the emotional experience in their sensory memory, by comparison of the EVOO from different organoleptic features.
Marco Antonucci : Born in Lovere (BG) in Italy in 1967, architect, journalist, professional taster of vergin olive oil with Panel Leader qualification of COI. For many years he is engaged in either in Italy or abroad in spreading the culture of extravergin olive oil through seminars, olive oil tasting courses, meetings, guides, publications of the articles on the world of extravergin olive oil.