Olive & Oil 02/05/2011

Beauty and goodness of olive oils

A six millennium long history, but extra virgin olive oil is only 50 years old, as it was established in Italy in 1960. Nicola Pantaleo, heir to a family of oil entrepreneurs, recalls the out of time fashion of oil

Nicola Pantaleo

At the end of 2010 we celebrated the fifty years of the commercial denomination “Extra Virgin Olive Oil”. When Luigi Caricato dedicated an article to this anniversary on its online magazine “Teatro Naturale”, with the help of those who lived those years, and I want to remember my parents Donato and Maura, we went through this story, like a movie, and we remembered the denominations which preceded extra virgin oils: oil “sopraffino”, oil “fino”, oil “vergine”, and so on.

At that time, there was an absolute need for clarity, not only for producers, but most of all for consumers, who faced a number of names, and bought without knowing if they were purchasing what they were actually looking for.

The denomination “extra virgin” olive oil made the product unique in the field, and it became impossible to confuse it with other products. We cannot say if the name was a good or bad choice, but today we can definitely say that this name is famous worldwide in all its translations, and undoubtedly appreciate by consumers everywhere.

When we got to know that Luigi Caricato was going to organize the event “Happy Birthday to the Extra Virgin Olive Oil, King of Fats”, us from Nicola Pantaleo SpA, founded in 1890 and always committed to make the product known all over the world, we could not miss this event and we asked to be active part of the ceremony.

Nowadays, all operators, technicians, journalists, and enthusiasts could reunite for this event and we are proud to share the emotion of such an important moment.

Nicola Pantaleo SpA was able to make the extra virgin olive oil known and appreciated on the national and international markets, earning the confidence of consumers. We gave our little, but we think important, contribute to the diffusion of the Made in Italy brand in the world.

It is not by coincidence that we are leaders in Japan, unique Italian company in that market to entirely make our product in Italy, Our presence in Japan is a source of satisfaction, a reward for our professionalism and oil culture, that we pass from father to son over generations. Being leader in a market known for its premium on “total quality” pushes us to further spread our passion for extra virgin olive oil in other important countries, such as India, where we have been pioneers since 2003, or in more mature markets, such as the USA.

However, we are committed to Italy too, where unfortunately there is a deficit of true knowledge on all aspects related to the product. Nowadays, all consumers know the name “extra virgin”, but not all positive features, such as the hot or bitter notes, and thus cannot fully appreciate its virtues. If we only think of this aspect we can definitely say that the extra virgin oil is 50 year old, but does not show its age. It is necessary to educate consumers, and make them realize that only paying a fair price can reward all efforts of everyone involved in the production.

Nicola Pantaleo SpA, founding member of the Consortium of Guarantee of the Quality of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, aims at improving the knowledge of extra virgin oils together with other firms, and we hope that no consumer will ever think that a hot note is a sign of acidity, for instance.

A long way lies ahead, but Nicola Pantaleo SpA is committed to reaffirm the value of a product which was named, with a standing ovation from all 166 delegates representing Unesco countries, the prince of Mediterranean diet, and immaterial cultural heritage of humanity.

Therefore, we can only wish happy birthday to extra virgin olive oil!

di Nicola Pantaleo