A new report shows that San Marino is the world’s leading per capita olive oil-consuming nation.
Stretching over 61-square-kilometer, the mountainous microstate is one of the most ancient republics in the world and is known for its perfectly preserved medieval architecture.
The inhabitants of the small country, which is located on the northeastern flank of the Apennine Mountains and is completely surrounded by Italy, consume an average of 22 kilograms (approximately 24 liters) annually.
That equates to around one liter every two weeks per person.
By comparison, annual per capita olive oil consumption in Greece sits at 12 kilograms and is 11.7 kilograms in Spain. Meanwhile, the figure reaches 8.2 kilograms in Italy and 7.9 kilograms in Portugal.
Overall, the report from Juan Vilar Strategic Consultants said 92 percent of olive oil consumption takes place in the 67 countries in which olive oil is produced. From there, producers export their olive oil to a further 131 countries.
“San Marino is a country that shares with Italy the advantage of olive oil as a main seasoning and dressing,” Luigi Sartini, a chef at the renowned Ristorante Righi in San Marino and a Michelin-star holder since 2008, told Olive Oil Times. “Here, olive oil is the fat most widely used and the condiment that characterizes most of our cooking.”
Sartini was not surprised that San Marino leads the world in per capita olive oil consumption.
“It is the heart of our tradition,” he said. “Almost all of my recipes end up with an extra virgin olive oil finishing. Just like many other chefs in the area, I am an enthusiastic adopter and admirer of olive oil.”
Sartini added that emphasizing that San Marino also has a rich olive oil culture, which may also be attributed to the high levels of consumption.
“For instance, if you want to give a relevant present to someone here, you will choose a fine extra virgin olive oil,” he said.
Along with individual consumption, Sartini said that many institutions in the country also use local extra virgin olive oil as a staple. More