Italian Good Living | “Oil list”, why give value to it?

“Oil list”, why give value to it?

The “oil list”, an efficient solution to give value to the product, to improve the clients’ experience and help them know this food’s characteristics. 

By Claudio Vignoli

At the last edition in Piazza Village in Napoli, the kermesse that took place at the end of last June, dedicated to the food symbol of the  Neapolitan city (and not only!), an EVOO tasting class was given to the Neapolitan pizza makers. 

Under the guide of Nicola Di Noia, Unaprol and Evoo School Foundation executive director, the pizza makers discovered the Extra Virgin Olive Oil, starting from the production processes and arriving to efficient methods for the correct combination. 

The class objective was especially a cultural one: it was chosen to involve the best Neapolitan pizzerias which were then allowed to insert in their menus an “oil list”. The idea is not only to help the client find the perfect oil&pizza combination to exalt the flavors, but also to let people know about the excellences among the EVOO of the Campania. 

Ventures like these are crucial to give value to our own productions and to promote our DOP and IGP. The food service world in that sense has a fundamental role and may become keeper and standard bearer of a particular food, such as the olive oil, which cannot be considered anymore as a simple condiment. 

Yet, the EVOO and catering duo is still very underestimated. 

As it often happens, we are the Country of contradictions: despite the Italian EVOO being perceived all around the world as an high-quality product, the Italian operators do very little to give value to the EVOO. The producers, on one hand, that communicate to little the quality and the beneficial goodness of their product; and the consumer, on the other hand, who often have confusing ideas and let the prices lead them. In the middle there are the restaurateurs who, not so rarely, according to purely commercial logics, tend to put on the table low-quality EVOO bottles since they do not represent an earning source, differently from the wines. 

Yet, the food service may, and should, have an important role in the transmission and promotion of the Italian food excellences that are not just wine, meat and cheeses, but also refined condiments such as the EVOO and the balsamic vinegar. 

The “Oil List” is surely one of the most efficient solutions to give value to this product, to improve not only the client’s gourmet experience, but to help them know the characteristics of this food. In Spain the restaurateurs have been already active in that sense for many years, with tasting courses very similar to the ones we apply for wine.

Also our restaurateurs need to begin to consider the olive oil not as a price anymore, but as an earning opportunity to also promote their place, creating tasting courses and combinations dedicated to their menus. 

There are many opportunities especially now that it has been finally approved the implementation decree which regulates also the oil tourism: an occasion not only for the great star restaurants, but also for the smaller restaurants which will be able to try and re-invent their offer.