the bottom of a clear bottle of olive oil on a wooden tablel, with a sea view beyond it

In the shadow of a Medieval monastery outside of Barcelona (Món Sant Benet, Catalonia, Spain), a world class team of olive oil experts will convene March 19–23, 2018 to teach an olive oil evaluation course, Tools for the Trade: Tasting, Testing and Understanding Olive Oil.

Organized by IRTA, the Catalan Institute for Research and Technology in Food and Agriculture, and taught in English, this five-day course provides the solid foundation needed by traders and producers to make good olive oil decisions. At its heart, this is an olive oil sensory analysis course, but it continually enhances the tasting lessons with lectures on the "what, why, and how" of olive oil production, health benefits, regulation, culinary uses, and more. The emphasis in this course is on practical information that is supported by research and experience: it aims to equip you with the toolbox you need to be a better buyer, marketer, producer, retailer, chef, or aficionado of olive oil. 

Participants will receive a course certificate and a set of specially-produced standard defect samples to take home with them for continuing reinforcement of the lessons of the course.

An array of international experts will share their olive oil knowledge and dozens of specially selected olive oils. A solid foundation of olive oil sensory analysis is central to the course, with detailed instruction in tasting technique, intensity training, recognizing common defects, and describing positive attributes led by Agustí Romero and Luis Guerrero of IRTA, and Alexandra Devarenne of Extra Virgin Alliance. In addition, there will be tasting flights highlighting premium extra virgin olive oils from numerous regions of the world, led by panel leaders such as Juan Ramón Izquierdo of the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture arbitration laboratory, Ana Brito Carrilho of the official Taste Panel in Lisbon, Portugal, and Manolis Salivaras of Greece.

The presenters include chemistry researcher Stefania Vichi of the University of Barcelona, sensory scientist Erminio Monteleone of the University of Florence, olive oil function researcher Rosa Lamuela of the University of Barcelona, olive processing technology specialist Gabriel Beltrán of IFAPA in Andalusia, and olive oil standards expert Paul Miller of Australia.

Recognizing that producing good olive oil is just the first step, the course will also explore end user needs, communication, and experience. Culinary considerations and the challenges of marketing will be addressed by Maria Reyes of KeHE Distributors, David Neuman of Gaea North America, Rosa Vañó of Castillo de Canena, and chef-researcher Jaume Biarnés of ALICIA Foundation. To learn more, visit the course website, which includes an overview of the program and a full list of the instructors.

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Thanks to the Extra Virgin Alliance for sharing this information and the small introductory photo.

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