Local olive oils face international expert in 'taste-off'

Wednesday, 28 February 2001

A selection of South Australian olive oils will be the focus of a controlled tasting on the Waite Campus of Adelaide University this Thursday, March 1st at 4pm, with a tasting panel headed by Luciano Di Giovacchino, an internationally recognised expert in olive oil quality with accreditation from the International Olive Oil Council (IOOC).

Professor Margaret Sedgley, Head of the Department of Horticulture, Viticulture and Oenology at Adelaide University, said the Department was proud to welcome Mr Di Giovacchino and to host the tasting.

"Olive researchers at Adelaide University's Waite Campus are active in assisting the growth of the Australian olive industry, and sensory evaluation of oil and table olives is pivotal to this thrust," she said.

The panel will select their oils from the range sold by Lucia's Providore stall in the Central Market on the morning of the tasting, using such criteria as uniqueness, new producer, varietal and quality to select the twelve contestants for the 'taste off'. Lucia's Providore is a well-known source of information and advice for Adelaide olive oil aficionados and will support the tasting by donating half the cost of the oils selected.

The tasting panel will also include local and interstate members of the Australian Panel for the International Olive Oil Council and will be conducted according to the criteria established for the Mario Solinas Quality Award for olive oils.

Mr Di Giovacchino was involved in the creation of the rules for this competition which is open to member countries of the IOOC and evaluates organeleptic characteristics in the four grades of olive oil: Extra Virgin, Virgin, Ordinary and 'Lampanti'. Organeleptic characteristics are the all important taste cues which combine to create the particular flavours and odours we perceive in olive oil.

The tasting will be conducted at the Sensory Laboratory in the Department of Horticulture, Viticulture and Oenology at Waite Campus, a leading facility which is currently being networked to provide state of the art technology for tastings in research programs and in conjunction with industry. This facility is used to identify the product characteristics that combine to produce the flavour, taste and feel that leads to consumer preferences in food and drink products.

Research conducted by the Adelaide University in collaboration with the olive industry aims to identify the all important components of olive oil which set the Australian product apart from that available in the rest of the world.

For further information: Professor , Head HVO, 8303 37249 (w) 8388 5636 (ah) Dr , HVO Olive Researcher, 8303 36665 (w) 8431 7237 (ah).


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