The L.A. County Fair will host the seventh annual Olive Oils of the World competition during the 2006 L.A. County Fair Wines of the World competition at Fairplex in Pomona, Calif., May 17-19.
In just six years, the olive oil competition has gained a reputation of being the premier event that brings together the finest international and domestic oils and an impressive panel of professionals to judge them. The competition has grown into a huge success, beginning in 2000 with a mere 28 entries. Last year saw nearly 370 entries from 241 producers.
The extra virgin olive oil competition will be judged in two categories – domestic and international – and will be separated according to cultivar (olive varietal). Only extra virgin oils that have been chemically analyzed with free fatty acid levels of .08 percent or less are eligible.
Flavored olive oils will also be judged. These flavors can range from various citrus flavors to herb flavors.
This year, a special panel will conduct an international tasting seminar on Tuesday, May 16, prior to the competition getting started.
Darrell Corti, president of Corti Brothers Fine Wine and Gourmet Foods Italian Grocery Store in Sacramento, Calif., is the chairman of the olive oil competition. He is an internationally recognized food and wine expert.
Following the blind tasting model established by the International Olive Oil Council based in Madrid, Spain, the judges use special opaque blue tasting glasses made in Spain so they will not be swayed by color. Each judge tastes the olive oil and makes selections independently. After all of the olive oils have been tasted, they work together in determining the awards. Between individual tastings, the judges eat green apples or plain bread and water to cleanse their palate.
Thirteen years ago only three or four fine olive oils were produced in California. Today, there are about 300 growers and producers in the state.
The public will get an opportunity to taste the award-winning olive oils at the L.A. County Fair Sept. 8 – Oct. 1. For entry information on the Olive Oils of the World competition or the Wines of the World competition, please call (909) 865-4231, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Web site at www.fairplex.com/wine2006. For general information on the L.A. County Fair, visit the Web site at www.lacountyfair.com.
Media Note: The Fair will host an olive oil tasting for members of the media and wine judges only at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16. Contact the Communications office for more information.