By Julie Butler
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Barcelona
A promotional project uniting the Spanish regions of Catalonia, Valencia and Aragon – where fortune is said to have favored the largest concentration of millennium olive trees – has won first prize this year in the Spanish Association of Municipalities of the Olive Tree (AEMO) awards for spreading the culture of olive oil.
“Taste the oil from a tree under which Caesar may have taken his siesta on any given day during his Spanish campaign – that’s a message that makes a major splash in a New York City restaurant,” AEMO said in announcing the win.
Under the Millennium Olive Trees and Olive Oil project by the Commonwealth of the ‘Taula del Sénia’ – which combines 27 municipalities around the river Sénia – the three regions use their legendary olive trees to enhance sales of their olive oil and generate wealth.
The “compact, excellent and original project” had enhanced not only the promotion of extra virgin olive oil but regional gastronomy and olive oil-related tourism, AEMO said.
In awarding second place, it praised the passionate promotion of olive oil by Tomiko Tanaka, “a Japanese woman who from Seville has been spreading the essence of olive oil to south east Asia.”
And a further prize went to Agustí Serés, the driving force behind the museum his family has lovingly created at the restored 100-year-old olive oil mill Ca l’Agustí in Lleida, Catalonia.
AEMO also recently announced the 2012/13 recipient of its award for Spain’s best olive oil mill – Galgón 99, producer of the Mario Solinas quality award-winning Orobailén extra virgin olive oil.
The mill impressed with its well-equipped and impeccably hygienic stainless steel facilities, rigorous quality rating of incoming olives, and painstaking production process, while its olive oil did so with its wealth of nuances, AEMO said.
Runner-up was Córdoba’s Aroden mill, maker of the another multi-award winning extra virgin olive oil, Cladivm.
And Córdoba is also the location of the winner of the prize for best master miller – Alberto del Moral, of the Sucesores Hermanos López mill, behind the Morellana olive oil brand.
Del Moral’s scrupulous labor starts with scrutiny of the arriving olives, a watchful eye over all parts of production, especially temperature control, and the maintenance of the premises in a state of maximum hygiene.
“Alberto loves his work and does it with passion and total dedication even while working all kinds of hours during harvest,” AEMO said.