It was a fascinating course run by people very passionate about olive oil and Ligurian olive oil in particular.
We had sessions on combining oil with food, what causes defects in olive oil and an eye-opening session from the inspector from Rome responsible for finding olive oil fraud. Did you know they can DNA test olive oil with almost 100% accuracy? Olive oil fraud could be a thing of the past with the new tests.
Of course we also learnt all about the positive and negative attributes of olive oil and how to spot them. We had other sessions on combating the olive fly (the bain of all producers' lives but especially organic producers) and what we are legally allowed to say about our oil and what we're not. If everyone could participate in just 1/10th of the course they would never buy crap oil again!
Did you know that olive oil is the only vegetable oil obtained by pressing? All other oils are obtained by chemical means? Or that 'Olive Oil' (rather than Virgin or Extra Virgin Olive Oil) can contain as little as 1% natural pressed olive oil, with the rest made up by chemically refined olive oil? Scary eh?
I now see it as my personal mission in life to educate as many people as possible. It is only by education that people will make an informed choice for their health.
So, what now? Well, I have to sit 20 formal olive oil tasting sessions run by a tasting panel leader within 12 months and then I am qualified to go on the government list of professional tasters. I also have to attend an annual refresher course and a minimum number of tasting sessions a year but to be honest I enjoy it so much it will be a real pleasure. I confess - I am now an olive oil nerd!
Me receiving my certificate