Gold and Silver for France

Three French producers, submitting oils to the huge New York competition for the first time, took home three coveted quality awards.
Bélorgey
May. 13, 2014
Alice Alech

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France won two Gold Awards and one Silver Award at the 2014 New York International Olive Oil Competition (NYIOCC). The three French pro­duc­ers were rewarded for the sub­lime qual­ity of their best fruity green olive oil — three small- to medium-sized pro­duc­ers who sub­mit­ted their oils to the huge New York com­pe­ti­tion for the first time.

From Seillans, an ancient vil­lage in Provence, Gilles and Brigitte Stalenque run the fam­ily busi­ness pro­duc­ing around 3,000 liters of Domaine Stalenq extra vir­gin olive oil per year on their 5 hectare prop­erty. The cou­ple has only recently started enter­ing com­pe­ti­tions and in one year has won 5 Gold and 3 Silver Awards in France. They are excited with their first inter­na­tional suc­cess, proud of their fruity green which the judges described as robust with aro­mas of green fruit, green grass, tomato and notes of tomato.

Brigitte Stalenque said:

We’re not as well known as big olive oil pro­duc­ers but we’re always sold out by July and our cus­tomers keep com­ing back to us. We’re very happy to win this reward espe­cially as we’re only a small domaine in a lit­tle Provençal vil­lage. Even the mayor of Seillans is proud of what we’ve achieved.”

Producer Frederique Pinatel from Domaine Salvator won a Gold Award with Cuvée Paradis which he described as robust oil made with one sin­gle vari­ety with aro­mas of green grass, green bananas, pears and fresh almonds.” He said that his oil reflected the ter­roir of Haute Provence and the fam­ily know-how from five gen­er­a­tions. Olive Oil from Domaine Salvator has been win­ning pro­fes­sional olive oil com­pe­ti­tions in France since 1977.

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From the Baux de Provence Laurent Bélorgey pro­duces La Lieutenante, an ele­gant extra vir­gin olive oil which won a Silver Award. An engi­neer by pro­fes­sion, Laurent gave up his job as a banker in Luxembourg to man­age 48 hectares and 13,000 olive trees, a deci­sion he does not regret.

La Lieutenante has won many awards in France over the years but win­ning in New York means so much; it’s great for our work to be rec­og­nized and to attract inter­na­tional cus­tomers. It’s par­tic­u­larly moti­vat­ing and stim­u­lat­ing for those who work in the orchard, to all the team. We are very happy and will most cer­tainly be enter­ing the New York Olive Oil Competition next year.”

Among the inter­na­tional panel of judges tast­ing the col­lec­tion of over 650 olive oil sam­ples from some 25 coun­tries was Fabienne Roux, direc­tor of the French High School of Olive Oil Tasting. She said the com­pe­ti­tion was car­ried out with all seri­ous­ness and pro­fes­sion­al­ism vital to suc­cess, very good orga­ni­za­tion with even bet­ter tast­ing con­di­tions than last year.

We had some good sur­prises as best of class,” Roux said. Even if we are expe­ri­enced tasters we were at times cap­ti­vated by aro­mas and fla­vors like chil­dren dis­cov­er­ing some­thing very new and exciting.”

Roux said she enjoyed shar­ing her French vision of tast­ing extra vir­gin olive oil in a culi­nary set­ting with the other judges. What did she par­tic­u­larly enjoy?

Living for one week together with such inter­est­ing and knowl­edge­able peo­ple dis­cussing olive oil from break­fast until late at night.”


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