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Olive Oil Workshop

Study abroad in Italy means learning both inside and outside the classroom walls. Yesterday night Professors Simon Young and Zachary Nowak took students participating in the Umbra’s Institute’s Food Studies Program to the cleverly-named Osteria a Priori (located in Via dei Priori). Their hosts, Alessandro and Maurizio, delved into not only how to correctly evaluate the quality of olive oil, but also how to have an “olive oil culture” not just an “olive oil habit, which means while shopping you spend the same amount of time choosing you olive oil as you spend buying toilet paper,” Maurizio said.

Jamie, Kristin, and Teagan at Osteria A Priori. (Photo by Ian MacDonald)

Seated on simple wooden stools around a huge table, students compared a more “industrial” (“Good only for painting wood,” chimed in Maurizio.) oil to an extra-virgin Umbrian oil from 2010, and one that had just been pressed. “This was olives on a tree five days ago”: again, Maurizio. The Olive Oil Workshop is one in a series of food practica designed to teach students the biochemistry, history, and culture of various important Italian food products.

For the handout for the workshop, click here: Olive Workshop

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