`2nd Olive Oil Competition Highlights Cretan Brands - Olive Oil Times

2nd Olive Oil Competition Highlights Cretan Brands

Mar. 25, 2016
Lisa Radinovsky

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The 2nd Cretan Olive Oil Competition took place March 19 to 20 in Rethymno, Crete. Organized by the Agronutritional Partnership of the Region of Crete and the Prefecture of Crete in coop­er­a­tion with a num­ber of promi­nent Cretan orga­ni­za­tions involved with olive oil, the com­pe­ti­tion awarded prizes for the best stan­dard­ized Cretan con­ven­tional and organic extra vir­gin olive oils (EVOOs) from the 2015 – 16 pro­duc­tion sea­son.

For con­ven­tional EVOO, the high­est honor, the Gold ELEA (or olive”), was awarded to Liokarpi PDO, a Koroneiki mono­va­ri­etal from Emmanouil Protogerakis Sons. The Silver ELEA went to Omega, a Koroneiki/Tsounati blend from Kardia Food. And the Bronze ELEA was won by Toplou Sitia, a Koroneiki from Biokalliergites Sitias.

For organic EVOO, the Gold ELEA was again awarded to Emmanouil Protogerakis Sons for another Koroneiki, Liokarpi Bio, while Kardia Food cap­tured both the Silver ELEA, for Kardia Tsounati, and the Bronze ELEA, for Kardia Koroneiki.

This year’s dou­ble Gold ELEA win­ner, Emmanouil Protogerakis Sons of Vori in south cen­tral Crete, is con­tin­u­ing a fam­ily tra­di­tion of ded­i­ca­tion to high qual­ity EVOO that began in 1930, when Evangelos Protogerakis founded the first olive oil fac­tory in Kamares, Heraklion pre­fec­ture. After con­tin­u­ous upgrad­ing and mod­ern­iza­tion of the pro­duc­tion and stor­age facil­i­ties, the com­pany is now run by broth­ers Vangelis and Michalis Protogerakis, grand­sons of the founder. This win­ner of mul­ti­ple awards, includ­ing two at BIOL inter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions, exports to Germany and the USA.

Kardia Food, win­ner of both of this year’s Silver ELEA awards and one of the bronze ELEA prizes, aims for flaw­less taste” while trans­form­ing the unique aura and the man­i­fold fla­vors of Crete into mas­ter­ful food acces­si­ble to as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble.” According to man­ag­ing direc­tor Babis Doukakis, olives near the vil­lage of Episkopi in north cen­tral Crete are processed within a few hours at the unusu­ally low tem­per­a­ture of 20 degrees Celsius — a rar­ity, espe­cially in Greece. The result: EVOOs with low acid­ity and high polyphe­nol con­tent, espe­cially for their Tsounati, which also won a gold award at the 2015 New York International Olive Oil Competition (NYIOOC).

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The Cretan Olive Oil Competition’s two-stage eval­u­a­tion process, with a chem­i­cal eval­u­a­tion and a blind organolep­tic test (for taste and odor), used the same sta­tis­ti­cal method as the International Olive Council’s (IOC) Mario Solinas com­pe­ti­tion. Most of the 71 sam­ples came from the Koroneiki olives com­mon in Crete. The com­pe­ti­tion was coor­di­nated by Eleftheria Germanaki, the panel super­vi­sor at the Rethymno organolep­tic lab­o­ra­tory, a judge for numer­ous inter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions, and a panel leader at the 2015 NYIOOC.

Italian agron­o­mist, olive oil cul­ti­va­tion expert, con­sul­tant, inter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized judge, and 2014 NYIOOC panel leader Giuseppe Antonio Lauro was one of the two panel super­vi­sors for this com­pe­ti­tion. He praised the pro­fes­sion­al­ism of the judges, empha­siz­ing that the results of the taste tests pre­sented a very small stan­dard devi­a­tion.

The competition’s other panel leader was Effie Christopoulou, a panel super­vi­sor and rec­og­nized chem­i­cal and organolep­tic trainer of the IOC and chem­i­cal expert for the EU and the IOC. One of the pio­neers of the organolep­tic method back in 1982, Christopoulou tasted many excel­lent EVOOs at this com­pe­ti­tion, not­ing hints of fresh grass and arti­choke among the most mem­o­rable fla­vors in the Cretan oils.

The awards were pre­sented by the gov­er­nor of Crete, Stavros Arnaoutakis, the pres­i­dent of the Agronutritional Partnership of the Region of Crete, Manolis Chnaris, and the mayor of Rethymno and pres­i­dent of the Association of Cretan Olive Municipalities (SEDIK), Giorgos Marinakis. Before the awards were announced, Governor Arnaoutakis empha­sized the impor­tance of tak­ing advan­tage of the brand name of Crete” to pro­mote high qual­ity stan­dard­ized Cretan prod­ucts, since this could help Cretans emerge from the eco­nomic cri­sis.

Mayor Marinakis stressed the impor­tance of both res­i­dents and tourists using local prod­ucts rather than imports, link­ing agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion to tourism while striv­ing for excel­lent qual­ity rather than a low price. Agronutritional Partnership pres­i­dent Chnaris sim­i­larly urged Cretans to aim to make the island a gas­tro­nomic des­ti­na­tion” for tourists, based on the famous Cretan diet and the olive oil cen­tral to it.

Giuseppe Antonio Lauro dis­cussed mar­ket­ing strate­gies, then Effie Christopoulou explained the blind tast­ing process used for the judg­ing of the sam­ples received (21 organic, 50 con­ven­tional). The nine Greek judges from the four regions of Crete and the two for­eign judges fol­lowed Mario Solinas cri­te­ria in two stages of tast­ings. Christopoulou explained that the judges were so impressed by the improved qual­ity of this year’s sam­ples and the very slight dif­fer­ences among the best oils that they went on to award fif­teen hon­or­able men­tions in addi­tion to gold, sil­ver, and bronze awards.

Those high qual­ity Cretan EVOOs deserved more than just six awards. Competition orga­niz­ers hope to both inspire Cretan pro­duc­ers to con­tinue aim­ing for excel­lence and high­light the won­der­ful taste and health ben­e­fits that Cretan EVOOs can offer the world.


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