When many of us think of olive oil we think of that bottle in our cupboard that we use for cooking. But for the Italians, it’s so much more! Beyond a condiment, true virgin and extra virgin olive oil is an essential staple of the Italian diet, with an impressive host of health benefits, flavor compositions, and a variety of uses. To preserve and nurture the continued cultivation of quality olive oil in Italy, the mission of our community partner for Iconic Italy is inspiring. Find out more about the integral projects at ANAPOO Association, in the q/a with their team below!
The History & Mission
Tell us about how ANAPOO started and the purpose it serves.
THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL TASTERS OLIVE OIL (ANAPOO) was born in March 1999. It is a non-profit association, founded by Marco Mugelli who brought together a group of specialists with the aim of promoting the spread of quality extra virgin olive oil. Marco was a pioneer in processing technology for the highest quality olive oil and developed innovative olive oil extraction systems designed to retain maximum flavors and health benefits.
ANAPOO’s main goal is the qualification of professional tasters of virgin and extra virgin olive oil and the management of professional tasting committees (panels) for sensory analysis about trade qualification of olive oils. Only those who are registered in the official national list of virgin olive oil tasters can register with the association. Through these efforts,
What exactly are ANAPOO's primary projects and current goals?
ANAPOO is able to:
collaborate with its members and third parties for the definition and application of e.v.o. quality standards.
Organize and manage professional training courses for aspiring oil tasters based on European standards.
Organize studies, research and surveys also in collaboration with public or private bodies/
Take care of the realization of educational and informative studies and publications about olive and e.v. oil food culture
Manage guided tastings of extra virgin olive oil and oil competitions.
Test commercial oil quality through its own authorized tasting commissions
Olive Oil in Italy
What is the history and heritage of olive oil in Italy?
Olive trees are native to the Mediterranean and have been used as a food source for centuries. As early as 6000 BC, olives have been turned into olive oil, according to archaeological evidence.
Olive orchards were present in Italy since the Mesolitic period and wide cultivation of this tree were found in Greece but it appears that the Romans were the ones responsible for refining its extraction and use. Nowadays, olive orchards are spread throughout Italy, from Liguria to Sicily boasting different types of olive varieties. Tuscany and Puglia are the two regions that grow the largest number of olives. Great for food preparation, body care and healing, this tree and its renowned fruit is the symbol of sacredness and peace. It is the main staple of the Italian diet.
Olive Oil in Tuscany
What is particular about the Tuscan region as it pertains to olive oil?
The Tuscan terroir is what makes the oil from this region so pristine. Different areas of the region produce oils different in color and flavor. The quality of the Tuscan air, composition of the soil and geographic location contribute to the oil changes in characteristic, even within the same region.
There are three main types of Tuscan oil, all of them branded by the IGP label (Protected Geographic Indication): Leccino, Moraiolo, Frantoio.
Talk to us about the ANAPOO team. Are they volunteers or is it a full time job?
ANAPOO is a group of people, all volunteers, with a great passion for oil tasting. Our organization is made of agronomists, producers, university teachers, but also simple enthusiasts who care for the education and preservation of good quality olive olive.
The visit on our Italy trip
What are you most looking forward to about your collaboration with Traverse Journeys and our guests visit to your organization?
We are excited to share our passion for olive oil and inform your guests about its wonderful property. Quality extra virgin olive oil unfortunately covers a very small segment of world trade. Its production is often not profitable and producers must support other activities to survive. This is why we want to spread the culture of quality extra virgin olive oil to visitors in our country and to Traverse Journey guests.
We care for people to learn that olive oil is not just a condiment, but a real food with great nutritional and health properties. Through our guided tastings and visits to producers' farms, we hope to give your guests greater awareness of the quality of this fantastic product and increase their interest in advocating for quality purchase and consumption.
We’re very excited to offer guests on our Iconic Italy trip the opportunity to truly understand the process of creating the ‘liquid gold’ of Italy, and to sample the robust flavors present when olive oil is produced to such high standards. Warning: it’s hard to go back to supermarket options once you taste the real thing!