Medoliva and the New Face of EVOO in Italy
Preparing for our trip, we thought Medoliva would be similar to other trade fairs we have participated in like SOL in Verona or TuttoFood in Milano. In other words a lot of walking about, handshaking, exchanging of business cards etc… and yes there was all that… but there was so much more.
Despite the fact that entrance to the fair was free for all, Medoliva is an event almost exclusively for oil producers and buyers. That meant that all the big machinery manufacturers were there flogging their wares as well… I actually thought that it was very cool to see the process from press to bottling up close and personal.
But the best part of the three day event was Club Medoliva – an area dedicated to learning, tasting and discovering the top 200 oil producers from the Mediterranean. Each of the 200 producers had their bottles displayed with a description and summary of the product and tasting cups. Attendees were free to read, sample, re-sample, touch and explore. At times the producers were close by to answer questions, as were EVOO experts like Marco Oreggia (editor of Flos Olei) but for the most part you were the master of your own exploration process. It was amazing.
It was also fun to put the faces to the names and here’s where we had the most wonderful and unexpected discovery. The majority of the artisan Extra Virgin Olive Oil producers in Italy are small family run businesses, many that have been producing oil for decades if not hundreds of years. What is now happening within these family businesses is that the new generation is now taking the helm and while historically it has been the “sons” to take over, now often it is the “daughters”. Young women who have gone to University to study engineering or agricultural sciences return to the olive grove and transform the business utilizing organic methods and modern marketing. The wonderful thing is that the tradition, care and respect is maintained but added to it is a passion, youth and innovation not seen before.
An example is the two 30-something sisters, Angela and Lucia who have taken over Librandi in Calabria. Under their watch, it has been transformed to a completely organic farm that over the past few years has accepting awards for the top Organic extra virgin in national and international competitions. Their story and dedication is nothing short of inspirational.
Librandi will be available on our website in July. We can’t wait!