The annual event dedicated to the Selection of DOP and IGP extra virgin olive oils of Tuscany is back and can be attended in person. The historic initiative promoted by Regione Toscana in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce of Florence, together with PromoFirenze and Fondazione Sistema Toscana, saw the participation of all 44 companies producing the 52 selected oils, excellence of the regional oil production.
On the stage of the Cinema La Compagnia di Firenze, with the president Eugenio Giani and the vice president and councillor for Agribusiness Stefania Saccardi, there were also the secretary-general of the Chamber of Commerce of Florence Giuseppe Salvini, the director of Fondazione Sistema Toscana Francesco Palumbo, the president of PromoFirenze Massimo Manetti, Tiziana Sarnari of ISMEA – Direction services for development, Laura Mazzanti, technical manager of the Analytical srl laboratory in charge of the Selection, Alessandro Parenti panel leader and university professor representing the tasters participating in the Regional Selection Commissions.
Special guest of the event: Carlo Conti, who received the recognition of Ambassador of DOP and IGP extra virgin olive oils of Tuscany
“Our goal – said the President of the Region – is to bring extra virgin olive oil to the same level of knowledge and appreciation that exists for wine. Tuscany already rewards innovative extraction techniques that respect the product. It also rewards biodiversity, tradition, the profitability improvement of companies, the maintenance of the olive landscape, and the professional growth of olive growers. So, together, we want to give life to a real oil revolution, with producers as protagonists, creators of a story that is part of our DNA. We will be at their side to protect and promote one of the strongest and most identifying symbols of Tuscany in the best possible way “.
“The Selection of Tuscan oil – said the vice-president and councillor for agri-food – aims to stimulate the commitment of olive oil companies towards the continuous improvement of the quality of the product that is already an excellence and to reward them by promoting their oils through economic and image promotional actions. Tuscan oil must become an attractor like Tuscan wine, and Selection is one of the most valid tools that support us in this journey”.
“The story of agri-food excellence – said the director of the Fondazione Sistema Toscana – has always been at the centre of attention for Fondazione Sistema Toscana through its magazine, intoscana.it. More recently, thanks to innovative formats such as ‘Toscana Bella e Buona’ and ‘Storie di Moderni Contadini’. I would like to add that our Foundation supports the communication of the regional events, Buywine and Buyfood, as well as taking care of the website and social networks of Vetrina Toscana. For some years now, the promotion of the Oil Selection has been added, an event that is growing hand in hand with the interest of tourists on the theme of oleotourism. We can see it from the appreciation of the offers and content on the subject published on Visittuscany.com, the site dedicated to the destination of Tuscany also managed by FST “.
“Quality olive oil – said Giuseppe Salvini, secretary-general of the Chamber of Commerce – belongs to the products of Tuscan excellence that the world envies us. The 383 mills active in the region, of which 82 in the territory of the metropolitan city of Florence, in 2011, produced over 11 thousand tons of oil with a very high-quality level: a quality also guaranteed by the 5 Tuscan DOP and IGP brands, which alone represent 25% of nationally certified production. Thanks to this quality, the consumer who buys a certified oil is aware of buying an extraordinary product that represents a territory, whose price, however, is not yet adequate to the effort and production costs”.
The various contributions focused on the excellent vintage in terms of quality, accompanied by a strong reduction in production due to the penalizing climatic conditions of the 2021-2022 olive oil campaign. Tuscany sees 90 thousand hectares of olive groves, of which 16 thousand of biological surface, with over 15 million plants and 80 varieties of a native olive tree, a unique genetic heritage deeply linked to the territory. Among the most popular varieties we find: Frantoio, Moraiolo, Leccino, Maurino and Pendolino. Involved in the sector are 32,700 companies and 393 active mills. In 2021, 11 thousand tons were produced, -45% compared to the previous year.
From the data processed by ISMEA, it emerges that Tuscany is the Region that has best interpreted the geographical indications, IG, in the olive sector. Unlike others, it has a share of IG product that fluctuates between 13% and 28% on total production, while the national average stands between 2% and 7%. The panorama of Tuscan IG has 4 DOPs: Chianti Classico, Lucca, Seggiano and Terre di Siena and 1 Tuscan IGP:
The regional IG certified production in 2021 was back on the threshold of 3 thousand tons. The Tuscan IGP represents about 95%, followed by Chianti Classico with a share of 4% and followed by the other 3 DOPs. In 2020 the value of the production of IG oil in Tuscany had settled at 25.4 million euros, 36% of the national 71 million. In the wake of the success of the Tuscan IGP, other regions have seen the regional IGP recognized to give greater impetus to the sector. Sicily first, then Puglia, Calabria, Basilicata, and Marche have chosen regional recognition.
Tuscany’s leadership is also consolidated in the export of IG oils. In volume, Tuscan productions reach peaks of 50% of the national total, while the value share exceeds 60%. Of the entire export turnover of Tuscan IG oils, over 75% is made outside the borders of the EU. *
Quality oil is a heritage that can have important tourist implications. Just a few days ago, in fact, the Regional Council approved the law on oleotourism, a rule on which the Region and in particular the Department of Agribusiness, has worked hard in recent months to help agricultural companies to develop all those activities related to rural tourism that can represent an extra boost for Tuscan agriculture and launch oleotourism on the promotion paths it deserves.
During the morning, the special mentions “Origin Selection”, “Bio Selection”, “Single variety Selection”, and “Biophenols Selection” were awarded, to which this year the “Packaging Selection” was added. Finally, the “Best Oil” award was given to each DOP and IGP, chosen from a shortlist of at least three oils (see attached table). Grosseto, Florence and Siena are the provinces with the most awarded companies.
The Selection of oils was created to highlight the best DOP and IGP oils of Tuscany in order to support and increase the regional olive-olive sector in Italy and abroad through economic and image promotional actions, also with multi-sectoral initiatives, and at the same time to spread the culture of certified quality extra virgin olive oil, stimulating the effort of olive oil companies to continuously improve the quality of the product.
On the occasion of the event, the 2022 Selection Catalogue was presented, written in Italian and English, and also published online on the website of the Tuscany Region; it includes the descriptive sheets of all the selected oils and represents a valid enhancement tool for the manufacturing companies.