With a record participation of 704 entries, including 80 flavored oils, the sixth EVO International Olive Oil Contest (EVO-IOOC) concluded with an awards event in Palmi.
The picturesque city on Calabria’s Violet Coast welcomed judges from several countries, including Canada, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, to taste the samples in person once again after the previous edition had to be held remotely.
“From the early stage of planning, I truly hoped I could reunite our international panel here in Palmi,” Antonio G. Lauro, the competition’s president, told Olive Oil Times.See Also: Olive Oil Competitions
“And not because in-person tastings are better than online ones, but because we all felt the need to shake the dust off our glasses, meet up again and return to discuss and work shoulder-to-shoulder, always in the best interest of all the farmers that have entrusted us with their ‘family jewels,’ ” he added.
Olive oils and condiments were assessed during four days of tastings at the CapoSperone Resort facilities, adequately set up to comply with Covid-19 regulations.
“This record edition proves that the producers are more committed than ever to pursuing quality,” Lauro said.
Along with the managing director Stefania Reggio, he presented the recipients of gold and silver medals and other awards (best international, best in class, best of country and special awards) from a mobile studio located in the city center. The ceremony was live-streamed on the EVO-IOOC social pages and local television.
In the Northern Hemisphere, producers from Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal reached the highest echelons of the podium, and several prizes also went to entrants from Turkey, Tunisia, Israel, Jordan and Lebanon.
“We are very happy with this recognition that repays all our efforts,” Cesare Bianchini, the producer behind Domenica Fiore, said after receiving the Best International North Hemisphere award for his Novello di Notte.
“This has been a great season since, in addition to quality, we also had good volumes,” the Umbrian farmer said. “Every year, we strive to produce higher quality. Last year, we were helped by favorable climate conditions; our commitment and the hard work in the olive grove did the rest.”
Producers from Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru stood out among the entrants from the Southern Hemisphere.
“Receiving this award is a great honor for us that justifies all our hard work year after year, and especially in the last harvest,” said Rafael Marchetti of Prosperato, who received the Best International Southern Hemisphere award for a Picual monovarietal.
“We had a much bigger amount of olives than we were expecting, at least three times more compared to last year, and the climate helped too,” he added. “At our mill, we provide extraction and bottling services for other producers, and for the first time, we received more olives from others than from our groves. That just proves how the olive trees are taking their space and growing well in Rio Grande do Sul.”
The event program also included a masterclass held by Lauro, who conducted a tasting session with some award-winning products. The event will soon be repeated elsewhere in Italy, Greece and other countries, as part of a series of promotional activities implemented by the competition.
All the competition winners may be found on the EVO-IOOC website and the paper guide EVO-IOOC Buyers Edition 2021/22, which is published in English and Italian.