Olive Oil Convention in Lucca, Italy

Olive Oil Convention in Lucca, Italy

Italy’s leading olive oil producers will gather in the quaint Medieval town of Lucca this month to showcase their oil at the first annual festival called – Extra Lucca.

Fifty different producers from as far as Sicily, Calabria, Sardinia and Puglia will join producers from across Tuscany, as Lucca seeks to establish itself as the country’s olive oil capital.  oil

The festival, which takes place February 15 and 16, is founded and organised by Lucca oil expert and enthusiast, Fausto Borella, who is working with the town’s restaurants to make it a gastronomic event.

Backed by the agriculture ministry, the festival will be held at Villa Bottini, a stunning 16th century villa, and the San Romano auditorium, a converted convent.

Local restaurants and stores from the historic centre of Lucca will take part in the festival and provide opportunities for oil connoisseurs to speak to clients about the qualities of Italy’s best oil.

‘The event will enable people to connect with history and beauty as well as the tastes of the region,’ Borella says.

Chef Deborah Corsi from Livorno’s La Perla Del Mare restaurant, Luca Lacalamita, pastry chef from the renowned restaurant Enoteca Pinchiorri, and Marco Stabile, the 39-year-old chef from Florence’s Ora d’Aria Restaurant are certain to generate strong interest with their presentations.

Founded by the Etruscans and later occupied by the Romans in 180 BC, Lucca is a popular destination for Italian and foreign tourists as it showcases the colourful remnants of more than 2,000 years of history.

Julius Caesar and his colleagues Pompey and Crassus met here in 56 BC to endorse their political alliance and Roman ruins can still be found in the city today.

OILIn Medieval times Lucca thrived with trade and commerce and was plundered by plenty of invaders including the Lombards. The city became an independent commune with its own charter in 1160 and for almost 500 years, Lucca remained an independent republic.

It is famous for the Mediaeval walls and towers that still stand in the town, its ancient Roman amphitheatre and the Ducal Palace begun in the 16th century and finished by the famous architect Filippo Juvarra two centuries later.

The festival will feature olive-oil tastings, presentations and seminars. It will also give visitors an opportunity to sample typical foods like the famous spelt wheat from Garfagnana, that was once eaten by the armies of the Roman Empire and is now used to make soups and broths.

Local Tuscan olive oil producers including Tenuta di Ghizzano, Tenuta Il Poggione and Tenuta La Parrina will be joined at the festival by one of Sicily’s biggest names in oil and wine production, Planeta, as well as Viragi from Ragusa.  Oil

Fratelli Pinna from Sardinia and Gherardo Terzi from Calabria are among the companies invited to attend from elsewhere in Italy.

‘To get to know the faces of the producers who create oils of infinite purity, you have to listen to their words, their opinions and their dialects,’ Borella says.

‘Like the discovery of gold in the bottom of a creek, it has no value if it is not fused and transformed into art. So that is why olive oil, if it is not made in a certain manner, will never have unmistakable fragrances’.

ANSA:  Josephine McKenna

01 febbraio, 16:17

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