World's Best Olive Oils for 2016 Announced

The results of the 2016 New York International Olive Oil Competition were announced at a packed press conference this evening.

Apr. 14, 2016
By Hannah Howard

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Curtis Cord, pres­i­dent of the New York International Olive Oil Competition (NYIOOC), announced the best olive oils in the world for 2016 at a press con­fer­ence packed with over 200 olive oil pro­duc­ers retail­ers, dis­trib­u­tors, chefs and jour­nal­ists from around the world in New York City this evening.

The crowded audi­ence was abuzz with antic­i­pa­tion, nerves and excite­ment. One pro­ducer said she was nearly in tears. My boss told me not to come home unless I win,” she said. Viewers from around the world, who watched the live-streamed broad­cast online, joined the New York crowd, wait­ing for the results.

Cord was flanked by the NYIOOC panel of judges, com­prised of 15 top tasters from every region of the globe, and led by Carola Dümmer Medina, Fernando Martínez Román, and Konstantinos Liris. After metic­u­lously tast­ing and eval­u­at­ing over 820 oils from 26 coun­tries — the largest inter­na­tional col­lec­tion of olive oils ever assem­bled — over four intense days, the win­ners were decided. At 6:00 pm EDT on April 14, the news was revealed to the world.

Making high-qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil has always been a demand­ing task,” Cord told the audi­ence. Past suc­cesses do not guar­an­tee that pro­duc­ers will craft a win­ning oil this time.”

Unlike wine,” Cord said, an excel­lent vin­tage for extra vir­gin olive oil lasts but one year, with each new sea­son forc­ing farm­ers and millers to earn their met­tle again, to face a new set of chal­lenges in their quest to pro­duce a juice with­out defects, and cap­ture the fleet­ing qual­i­ties of healthy fruit.”

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Despite the many chal­lenges, 314 pro­duc­ers took home awards, an over­all suc­cess rate of 38 per­cent. Italy won 109 awards, over­tak­ing last year’s top win­ner, Spain, who racked up 78 wins, a strong sec­ond. The United States came in third place with 50.

Portugal and Greece tied for fourth place, with 20 awards each. 180 Greek brands sub­mit­ted olive oils this year, and only 11 per­cent placed in the com­pe­ti­tion, a show­ing that will no doubt lead many to take a hard look at their pro­duc­tion processes,” accord­ing to Cord. New Zealand and Australia fared well, win­ning about half of their entries. 9 of 16 Croatian brands took home awards.

Cord intro­duced Dorothy Cann Hamilton, founder and CEO of the International Culinary Center, and announced a new ini­tia­tive there. The forth­com­ing Olive Oil Sommelier Certification Program will bring the world’s fore­most olive oil experts and edu­ca­tors to New York for a com­pre­hen­sive series of courses on olive oil pro­duc­tion, qual­ity man­age­ment and sen­sory analy­sis. I want to con­grat­u­late every­one who is here today,” Hamilton said. You are the pio­neer­ing group for olive oil, which is going to take on the world. This is a grow­ing move­ment and this is just the beginning.”

As win­ners ascended the stage to col­lect their sleek NYIOOC tro­phies, lively chat­ter, enthu­si­as­tic applause and the occa­sional cheer erupted in the cap­ti­vated crowd. (The ner­vous pro­ducer took home an award, so she can breathe easy, as can her boss.)

In the four years since the NYIOOC began, the win­ning olive oils have proven to be highly val­ued by chefs, food buy­ers and dis­cern­ing con­sumers every­where who seek the very high­est qual­ity in extra vir­gin olive oil. The NYIOOC has always aspired not only to iden­tify the word’s best olive oils, but to develop inno­v­a­tive ways to get them into kitchens where they right­fully deserve to be,” Cord said.

All of New York International Olive Oil Competition win­ners are pre­sented on the web­site bestoliveoils.com. For the first time, the Best New Olive Oils Marketplace, which is set to launch in the upcom­ing weeks, will allow enthu­si­asts to buy the win­ning oils on the same web­site. We will help sell­ers of these high-qual­ity prod­ucts reach a much larger audi­ence — and that lies at the very heart of our mis­sion,” said Cord.

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