Berlin GOOA EVOO Academy – new level

“Why Berlin? It seems to have little in common with olive oil, doesn’t it.”

is a common first reaction which I get when sharing more about my 2024 academic endeavour to broaden and elevate my olive oil horizons. Indeed, this is not exactly a Mediterranean geography, not at all, yet it is a vibrant meeting point of diverse gastronomic cultures, contemporary art and music, the spirit of novelty, and of many curious explorers who seek to sense the world differently. Professionalism, openness, and quality are locals’ values and set the standards high – in every sip of coffee, every bite of street food or in a more elaborated experience for the palate and the senses. 

All in all, I love that spirit of breadth and horizons that fly high and far, and beyond conventional borders. 

Setting high quality standards for olive oil (extra virgin olive oil) blends quite naturally into the above mindset and environment, and thus it is not a surprise that these prominent global olive oil events take place exactly in Berlin (both Berlin GOOA /Global Olive Oil Awards and the EVOO Academy™

As always in life, there are curious encounters which lead to other events. Similarly, with my acquaintance with the founder of the EVOO Academy™/ Berlin GOOA, Manolis Salivaras, with whom we happened to be guest speakers at the Elia Lesvos Confest in Mytilene in 2022*. Back then the topic of Manolis “Impact on quality from practices in olive oil production” very much resonated with the consumer dimension (perceptions, choices, trust) reflected in my theme “Olive oil as a key element of local gastronomic & cultural heritage”. These first discussions around the importance of quality and impeccable agricultural and production practices facilitated our further professional communication.

*more about this prominent international event one may find here

Going deeper into:

1st – the topic of quality and its driving factors, 2nd – sensory assessment of olive oil and defects, and 3rd – the latest innovative agricultural and extraction practices were three major motivators for me to join the 2024 Executive Diploma in Olive Oil Sommelier programme. 

In summary, we had 40 academic hours in 9 modules led by renowned professors and international professionals in the olive oil field, and a full tasting day in Berlin**. We assessed 55 samples following the IOC method. We were honoured to be junior tasters along with the Panel of judges of Berlin GOOA (in a separate hall), assessing 20 olive oils and following the competition more sophisticated evaluation method. I appreciated  that we had the opportunity to taste extraordinary oils with distinct Complexity, Clarity of expression and Persistence of Fruitiness, knowing their geography and cultivar only after the evaluation itself (20 cultivars in monovarietal EVOOs or blends, from 5 countries). 

**more about the diploma transcript one may find here Transcript Diploma in Olive Oil Sommelier 2024

The sessions about defects and defected oils were of great value.

They assisted training our sensory memory and sensitivity, an inseparable part of a taster’s job. Together with the theoretical part, giving a profound view on defects’ root causes (chemical origin, in the olive orchard, in the mill, in storage), the big picture came right in place.

What makes such initiatives extra precious is meeting colleagues and a professional community from different countries and backgrounds (mainly producers, but also ones involved with trade and promotion of artisanal EVOO of the highest quality). Passion for high quality EVOO was our shared language, life-long learning – our life philosophy. Definitely this learning and sharing experience deserves to be on the list for any olive oil professional!

A certificate of appreciation

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