A New Breed of Sommelier


The complexities of Italian olive oil make way for professional intervention.

This article, written by Giorgio dell’Orefice, appears on Italy 24.

In Italy, olive oils now have their sommelier too

The quality of olive oil is certainly a feature, but it can also become a true profession. Those skills, simply handed down from father to son, have been turned into a real profession by the Association of Olive Oil Tasters (ONAOO). The organization was founded in Imperia in 1983 and after 30 years of honorable service (with more than 300,000 students trained) it has become a point of reference in the sector.

Over the years the association has provided an important contribution to the codification of the olive oil descriptive characteristics, and above all to the continuous action to spread a culture of quality olive oil.

Oil tasters are professionals who are somewhere in between those who in the wine world are the enologist (or a technician who supervises the production) and the sommelier (or a figure that accompanies consumers).

“At least, this is the path we intend to follow. After supporting the production chain and in particular the oil-millers, in the near future we would like to work more closely with the catering sector and the final consumers, explaining the different characteristics of the extra virgin olive oils and their different combinations,” said the ONAOO President Lucio Carli.

They place big bets on the quality card but, paradoxically, the tasters can find a new boost to growth in such a terrible year for olive oil as the current one.

Read more on Italy 24.

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