Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian

AIRO’s goal is to bring the culture of the correct use of olive oil from the restaurant to gastronomy in general. This is done with courses that offer a method to discover the validity of an oil with ones own senses.

The courses are being offered thanks to the support of ChiantiBanca and are meeting with great success, showing the increased desire to understand a fundamental product of our agriculture and culture. The world of olive oil is living a moment of grand interest and activity as we produce the highest quality oil in history.

Improved techniques and the spread of information  are improving the image of our olive oil; but our means of judging the oil has remained more or less constant. We are producing healthier and better oil, but we need to understand the reasons why.

In order to spread this knowledge, we believe that the restaurant should be the middle-man, ambassador of the “cultura del gusto” (the culture of taste). A restaurant can actually become an authorized vendor of olive oil.

Where can one buy a good battle of olive oil? Although we are in the heart of the land of olive oil, it is difficult to answer this question. One of the reasons for this is the home use of olive oil.

A family needs 4-8 bottles a year of “good” olive oil to use as a condiment; luckily, because excellent oil has its price, from 9-20 euros per bottle. Here are some comparative examples:

– Low quality wine costs 2-4 euros for a 750ml bottle; medium/high quality wine costs from 7-12 euros; excellent wine costs from 30-300 euros and more

– Normal salt costs 50 cents per kilo; salt from Cervia costs 1.5 euros; red Hawaiian salt costs 20-30 euros

– Poor quality, non-Italian oil (500 ml) costs 4-6 euros – medium quality oil costs 6-8 euros; high quality costs 9-20 euros for the same size bottle. If you buy “excellent” olive oil, you will spend a maximum of10-14 euros more than buying the worst quality.

There are 12 euros difference between the best and worst qualities of olive oil. Since we use so little, why not buy it after having tried it at our favorite restaurant? in this way, the restaurant owner recovers his expense and is stimulated to buy excellent olive oil because he can sell it to the public.

And we don’t have to go crazy looking for a good bottle of oil for home use. The AIRO project foresees the commercialization of excellent oil thanks to a better understanding of the product. For this scope we will be writing articles that introduce some restaurants where one can try and buy some of the best oils on the market. Remember “con olio e il sale è buono anche un pezzo di grembiale!” (If you use excellent olive oil and salt, even a piece of apron will taste good!). And with excellent oil you will have a healthy “apron”!

Filippo Falugiani