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AIRO (International Association of Olive Oil Restaurants) presents a new training course dedicated to olive oil tasting, study of the olive oil production chain, and olive oil and food pairing.

The course enables food lovers, restaurateurs, professionals in the olive oil sector and trade operators to learn more about extra virgin olive oil, The trainings are organised in the regions of Tuscany, Emilia Romagna and Lombardy.

The course is structured in three levels, and offers the possibility to enroll in the first level and later decide whether to continue with the following ones and obtain the diploma of ‘Olive Oil Taster’ (physiological ability to taste olive oil) recognised by the Ministero delle Politiche Agricole Alimentari, Forestali e del Turismo (MIPAAFT).

The course is held according to the criteria established by the Reg. CEE No. 2568/91 and subsequent amendments, and by the MIPAAF decree of 18th June 2014.

The one that takes place in Florence is now in its third edition and is accredited by the Federazione Toscana Dottori Agronomi e Dottori Forestali: its members receive 10% discount on the course’s price.

The aim of the first level course is to give participants a basic knowledge of the the extra virgin olive oil supply chain, from the cultivation process to the transformation and conservation techniques. It also includes an introduction to the tasting technique, through the tasting of virgin and extra virgin olive oils, and the evaluation of olive oil and food pairing.

The second level expands upon the topics studied in the first level, particularly focusing on the promotion of extra virgin olive oil, stressing the positive attributes, the use in cooking and its nutraceutical beneficial elements, with an overview on national and international cultivars.
The course also enhances the aspect of food and olive oil pairing. Professional chefs (selected by AIRO) present their dishes to the students, who have the opportunity to test the impact of the flavour of olive oil on the dish, while trying to discover the secrets of the olive oil-food pairing. A series of taste tests of quality olive oils, both Italian and non-Italian, are scheduled.

Finally, the third level is reserved for students interested in acquiring the certificate of ‘Physiological Ability for tasting virgin olive oils’, and it consists of four lessons dedicated to selective tasting tests, aimed at recognising negative attributes like winey, burnt, rancid flavour.

Divulging knowledge about top-quality extra virgin olive oil is the main mission of AIRO, an important message that the association wishes to bring to a wide audience.

Sure enough the course not only addresses professionals who work in the olive oil sector, or those who aspire to do so, but it also offers an excellent opportunity to everyone who wants to know more about olive oil and its health benefits.

As part of the Mediterranean diet, the “green gold” has got proven therapeutic properties: extra virgin olive oil is an extraordinary product that, if consumed in the correct quantities, reduces cardiovascular risks, reduces the lipid levels in the blood and lowers blood pressure, besides being a valid ally in the prevention of bowel cancer.

Its health benefits are on the same scale as prescribed medication, as reported recently by the US Food and Drugs Administration. Therefore, choosing the best quality olive oil and consuming it in moderation, is a healthy choice that helps our well-being.

The lessons are given by some of the leading experts in the sector. From the first lesson, the participants will be accompanied during their training by a group of agronomists, professors, doctors, tasters, consultants and expert journalists.

Respected and experienced personalities such as:

  • Filippo Falugiani – President of AIRO
  • Franco Pasquini – President and panel leader of ANAPOO
  • Alberto Grimelli – Agronomist and journalist
  • Fiammetta Nizzi Grifi – Agronomist of the DOP Chianti Classico Oil Consortium
  • Cristian Sbardella – marketing and communication manager of Olio IGP Toscano
  • Alessandro Parenti – Professor at the University of Florence
  • Marco Pampaloni – Agronomist and panel leader
  • Simona Pappalardo – Agronomist and olive oil taster of AIRO
  • Cristian Marinelli – RAQ at Analytical Food
  • Chiara Cherubini – laboratory technician at Analytical Food
  • Giacomo Trallori – Gastroenterologist
  • Pietro Barachini – Società Pesciatina di Olivicoltura
  • Silvia Maccari – Chef at “The Florence School of Olive Oil”
  • Farida Furini – laboratory technician at Valore Italia.

The next course for olive oil tasters will start on 13th January 2020, in the evening (7pm-9pm) at the Hotel Mirage, via Francesco Baracca 231, 50127 Florence.

For information: Responsabile Didattica e Ricerca, phd. Elisa Corneli – info @

To download the full program and registration form: