25th 'Ercole Olivario' Recognizes Italian Excellence

The 25th Ercole Olivario awarded Italian extra virgin olive oils that managed to achieve a high level of quality despite a difficult season.

By Ylenia Granitto
Apr. 21, 2017 10:39 UTC

The 25th Ercole Olivario, a com­pe­ti­tion ded­i­cated to Italian olive oil excel­lence, cul­mi­nated with an award cer­e­mony in Perugia, Umbria on April 1st.

174 extra vir­gin olive oils from 17 Italian regions par­tic­i­pated in the lat­est edi­tion of the con­test, after hav­ing been first selected by regional pan­els and then eval­u­ated at the Chamber of Commerce of Perugia by 16 tasters rep­re­sent­ing every region.

Despite the dif­fi­cult sea­son expe­ri­enced by Italian farm­ers, 99 final­ists, includ­ing 47 PDOs and PGIs, reached the final stages with high lev­els of qual­ity, the orga­niz­ers said.

Organized by the Italian Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Handicraft and Agriculture (Unioncamere), in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Chamber of Commerce of Perugia and with the sup­port of the National Chamber System, the com­pe­ti­tion aims to pro­mote the extra vir­gin qual­ity of the Italian penin­sula with a spe­cial focus on PDO, PGI and organic prod­ucts; to sup­port oper­a­tors who con­tribute to improv­ing qual­ity; and to enhance the role of skilled tasters to pro­mote EVOO value at home and abroad.

Since the first Ercole Olivario in 1993, 8,378 par­tic­i­pants have joined the event and 1,550 final­ists have been awarded.

This year, Lazio achieved great suc­cess with four awards, fol­lowed by Marche, Puglia and Umbria (two awards each), and Abruzzo, Calabria, Sardinia, Sicily and Tuscany (each with one award).

Twelve par­tic­i­pants from the most-awarded region had been selected for the 24th edi­tion of the regional com­pe­ti­tion Orii del Lazio (Gold of Lazio), pro­moted by Unioncamere Lazio.

A panel, con­sist­ing of at least one rep­re­sen­ta­tive from each province of the region, car­ried out the assess­ments of sam­ples in the chem­istry lab­o­ra­tory of the Chamber of Commerce of Rome, which is the body autho­rized to per­form chem­i­cal and phys­i­cal analy­ses for the cer­ti­fi­ca­tions of pro­tected des­ig­na­tion of ori­gin of extra vir­gin olive oils; while the orga­ni­za­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion was real­ized by Agro Camera, a spe­cial com­pany of the Chamber of Commerce of Rome aimed at devel­op­ing the agri-food sec­tor.

Marco Prosseda, was among the win­ners of Orii del Lazio, thanks to a medium fruity Sabina DOP. In the last year and a half, he joined his father Adolfo, who pas­sion­ately man­ages the farm DueNoveSei in Moricone, in the province of Rome, which has been in their fam­ily for three gen­er­a­tions. Carboncella, Salviana and Frantoio are located at 296 meters above sea level on the hills of the regional nat­ural park of the Lucretili Mountains among oak and beech woods.

I started to work on the farm and soon boosted the olive oil from a qual­ity per­spec­tive,” Prosseda told Olive Oil Times. We paid strict atten­tion to agri­cul­tural prac­tices and har­vest, we crushed olives in a few hours and relied on a new effi­cient mill, we stored our extra vir­gin olive oil under nitro­gen, and revamped the pack­ag­ing,” he said. We achieved these results, fac­ing the dif­fi­cult sea­son, because the whole pro­duc­tion process worked well, and also thanks to my lucky star, my daugh­ter Elisa, who was born the day before the vic­tory.”

Lucia Iannotta was one of the win­ners of the Ercole Olivario, with her intense fruity Colline Pontine DOP Olio Iannotta, which has its roots in Sonnino, in the province of Latina. Every time I receive an award I am so touched and almost incred­u­lous,” she revealed. This recog­ni­tion is the corol­lary to our com­mit­ment and efforts.”

Her olive trees are all sec­u­lar Itrana and belonged to her grand­fa­ther. We made a painstak­ing and patient work. A qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil can’t come out of a sin­gle fac­tor; it is the prod­uct of so many ele­ments and above all, it is the fruit of pas­sion, atten­tion, and care,” she pointed out.

Iannotta is sup­ported by her mother, sis­ter, and other col­lab­o­ra­tors. Her son, Antonio Maria, is the youngest team­mate whose birth coin­cided with the begin­ning of her work in the olive grove, a decade ago.

Her olive groves are pecu­liarly lush and note­wor­thy. I call them extended-orchards since they retain orig­i­nal fea­tures of the ancient olive groves, in which fruit trees such as figs, prickly pears, black­ber­ries, and almonds were planted among the olive trees,” she explained and con­sid­ered that her work was a com­bi­na­tion of tra­di­tion and inno­va­tion.”


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