Garrigues olive oil fair kicks off with record number of exhibitors

Event includes workshops, talks, demonstrations and tasting sessions, all devoted to the liquid gold of Mediterranean cuisine


A representative of the oil cooperative Cervià de les Garrigues (by Salvador Miravet)
A representative of the oil cooperative Cervià de les Garrigues (by Salvador Miravet) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

January 19, 2018 07:25 PM

The 55th edition of the Olive Oil Fair in the county of Garrigues opened its doors on Friday, boasting some 150 exhibitors from different areas of the food industry, a record number for the event.The fair devoted to extra virgin olive oil held annually in the county capital, Borges Blanques, this year includes representatives from 32 olive oil cooperatives, mills and professionals.

Until Sunday, a number of different activities have been organized for professionals and the public, such as workshops, talks, demonstrations and tasting sessions to promote local products, but with extra virgin olive oil as the main attraction.Attendees will also be able to see live cookery presentations by three chefs with four Michelin stars between them: Fran López, Xixo Castaño and Jeroni Castell.

Invited to open this year’s event was writer and journalist, Pilar Rahola. The fair is expected to attract even more than the 72,000 visitors who attended last year, and who bought 69,000 liters of olive oil. Yet, it is not all about olive oil, and some of the 150 exhibitors in the 8,000 square meter pavilion hosting the event will be showing off associated luxury food products, such as wine, honey, cheese and cured meats.

The focus of this year’s fair is to highlight the value of extra virgin olive oil as a basic element of quality cuisine and the Mediterranean diet, as well as its health properties. In fact, the fair awarded its 2018 Olive Oil Culture Prize to Dr. Eduard Escrich, for his more than 30 years of research into the relationship between nutrition and cancer. For example, Dr. Escrich’s results show the contribution made by extra virgin olive oil in the prevention of breast cancer.

The president of Les Garrigues PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), Enric Dalmau, explained on Friday that this year was a record year for the olive harvest, which looks set to go on until the end of January. The results of the harvest, said Dalmau, are expected to exceed the four million kilos of olive oil originally forecast. Dalmau also made a call for prices of olive oil to remain stable “to ensure that small farmers can earn a living.”