We interviewed Mariagrazia Bertaroli, president and operative executive director of the EVO, DOP, IGP and BIO Oil tourism Consortium.
What was the origin and where do the roots from which EVOO Tourism consortium was born lay?
The consortium was born after years of confrontation with different professionals that operates in the oil sector and explored the limits, the unexpressed opportunity with a self-referential outlook.
This reality was born also from the awareness that the olive oil companies should find the courage to become multi-functional, open their doors to product culture improvement in order to differentiate themselves, describe their territory and environment
guardian role and transfer their enthusiasm for an extraordinary product.
Which are the peculiarities that differentiate and characterize the Consortium?
Right from the beginning we chose to put our attention into giving the producers the means to evolve and improve the awareness of the different spatial potentials, in an environmental-harmonious vision and giving value to the quality and excellence
that remain our starting point.
This prerogative is highlighted by the will of heading towards certificated productions and the valorization of small varieties which constitute our biodiversity fortune both in the field and on the table because more aromas and more flavors signify more
possibilities to play with the dish.
Our Technical Scientific Committee is the expression of the fact that we do not feel as if we’ve made it: the path is in constant evolution and because of this we chose personalities able to inspire us.
Putting ourselves in the shoes of an olive oil producer: because of which reason should I decide to be part of your Consortium?
Our syndicated are producers who want to improve themselves, who want to take risks, amplify their business and for this reason they accept to update, to enter territory chains, to experiment new perspectives of product valorization. What we do for the producers is precisely this: we educate them, we give them advices, we work on the co-participated needs emergence, we create nets between the food farming production chain of different territories and we create nets between public and private individuals. We also educate the tourism individuals because nobody should talk superficially about oil and the Extra-virgin has changed a lot in the past 15 years and it deserves to be understood and told with authoritativeness and in an accessible manner.
Your effort inspects different aspects: welcoming, education, culture, promotion, communication and divulgation. How do these aspects realize in territory activities?
The activities we are building are in constant evolution.
We started on different fronts, so that it was possible to intercept the question and the needs that come from different territory sectors and actors.
The first thing to consider is that, unfortunately, the implementational decrees have been signed at the end of January so the regional regulations are still in a definition phase. This is what slowed down the actuation of many educational phases, also in different aspects in which we are developing them. For example, the format for the welcoming in the company, the itinerary creations where the tasting experience is intersected with historic-artistical paths, or the creation of moments in the olive tree grove in suitable company’s spaces.
We are working with a tour operator, and also foreign ones, for the creation of packages where the central point is the olive oil tourism company, but also the historic, nature and artistical- interest goods around the company. For the promotion
we will be present to the main tourism fairs, to both present our products, and to bring our idea of managerial skills of the tourism compartment.
We created, through partnerships with different consolidated realities, some paths for the restaurateurs, where the quality EVVO becomes an investment for the naturalistic guides, creating a register of a new tourism figure: the olive oil tourism guide. We
are continuing a direct divulgation through our social channels, but we confide to start soon an action of presence on Italian olive growing suitable (or not) territories.
Moreover, the consortium is leader in a European project recently presented, for the creation of sustainable oil tourism paths that start from Portugal, passing through Spain, crossing our Country to arrive in Croatia only to end in Greece.
“The etiquette counts, but also the ethic does count”, tell us more about you value list.
We strongly wanted a value list because we always want to refer to them and on them, we lay our actions. The etiquette is what defines our products, but it is an external data, an objective one. The ethic is part of us, it comes from within the
produces, from loyalty, from trust, from the respect to life which it may be a human, vegetal or animal life. For this reason, also the landscape, the origin of our product and the place where the experience in primarily conducted, is among the things
that the olive grower safeguards.
We have olive oil trees that saw things that we study on history books and that are un under the sky museum which safeguards the Italian biodiversity, a value that the rest of the world envy us because it has no resemblance. And the care is called
sustainability today, a choice strongly supported by the Consortium. One of the major Italian experts on the field, Ada Rosa Balzan, is among our Scientific Technical Committee and with her we are building a fortune protection path for the
You have relationships with restaurateurs, authorities, public institutions, schools, tourism operators and private companies. Which are the incentives that allow you to involve different interests in the game?
The extra virgin is a product which is present in every human being, in different forms and uses and naturally it intersects worlds in which lives are diligent.
Everyone, according to their peculiarities, may be quality EVOO ambassador and everyone may create a product culture: some narrate in in a dish, some gain knowledge to transmit it to the tourist and some make people immerse in the production and
in the tasting aspects also with experience in olive tree grove. The things that can be done are infinite, we try and bring the companies to be pivot of a virtuous territorial ecosystem where every single individual or structure and reality
brings value. It must not be forgotten that the EVOO is an inclusive product and not an exclusive one: everyone should be able to be moved entering this world, transforming then this emotions in feelings and retain to a quality EVOO.