`Istrian Olive Oil Gets National PDO

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Istrian Olive Oil Gets National PDO

Nov. 18, 2015
Isabel Putinja

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The Croa­t­ian Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture, Tihomir Jakov­ina, pre­sented 20 local olive oil pro­duc­ers with the offi­cial label Istrian Extra Vir­gin Olive Oil” last month at the Cen­ter for the Devel­op­ment of Olive Pro­duc­tion in the Istrian city of Vod­n­jan.

Speak­ing at the event, the pres­i­dent of the Istrian region, Val­ter Flego, said that the offi­cial Istrian Extra Vir­gin Olive Oil’ label will ensure a higher qual­ity and more com­pet­i­tive prod­uct, while pro­tect­ing local olive grow­ers, and guar­an­tee­ing high qual­ity and authen­tic­ity for the con­sumer.”

An agri­cul­tural prod­uct with a pro­tected des­ig­na­tion of ori­gin (PDO) is one which is pro­duced, processed and pre­pared in a cer­tain geo­graph­i­cal area. Such a des­ig­na­tion guar­an­tees the ori­gin and authen­tic­ity of local agri­cul­tural prod­ucts and pro­tects their names from mis­use.

Though olive oil was pro­duced in the Istrian penin­sula since Roman times, the local oil olive indus­try has received an impulse only in the past 20 years. Thanks to invest­ments by regional and munic­i­pal gov­ern­ments, pro­duc­tion has increased sig­nif­i­cantly and olive oil from this region is gain­ing increas­ing inter­na­tional recog­ni­tion.

Olive trees in Istria, Croatia

In 1994, there were approx­i­mately 350,000 olive trees grow­ing here and three olive oil mills in oper­a­tion. Today, this fig­ure stands at 1.2 mil­lion trees and 30 mills. The munic­i­pal­ity of Vod­n­jan alone has 500,000 olive trees. The city in South Istria is also home to five award-win­ning olive oil pro­duc­ers and is the host of an annual olive oil fes­ti­val.

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Since many Istrian olive grow­ers are small fam­ily busi­nesses pro­duc­ing lim­ited quan­ti­ties of olive oil, they can­not com­pete on the Euro­pean and inter­na­tional mar­kets in terms of quan­tity. How­ever, Istrian olive oil is increas­ingly being rec­og­nized for its high qual­ity and exquis­ite fruity note.

At the New York Inter­na­tional Olive Oil Com­pe­ti­tion (NYIOOC) in April 2015, eight extra vir­gin olive oils from Istria won awards, and the 2015 edi­tion of the Flos Olei guide lists 56 olive grow­ers and Istrian olive oil pro­duc­ers.

As part of a tourism devel­op­ment project, sign-posted olive oil routes” across the Istrian region point vis­i­tors in the direc­tion of the olive groves and tast­ing rooms of pro­duc­ers where locally-pro­duced olive oil can be tasted and pur­chased.

While the process of gain­ing PDO sta­tus for Istrian extra vir­gin olive oil on the national level took five years, the next step would be recog­ni­tion at the Euro­pean level. Extra vir­gin olive oil from the Croa­t­ian island of Cres already enjoys PDO sta­tus at the EU level, along with three other Croa­t­ian agri­cul­tural prod­ucts.



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