The award ceremony of the seventh EVO International Olive Oil Contest (EVO-IOOC) took place in the enchanting scenery of the Aragonese Castle of Baia in Bacoli last month.
Several olive oil producers from around the world reached the heart of Campi Flegrei, to the west of Naples, to attend the event that concluded this year’s edition of the competition led by Antonio G. Lauro.
The comments of our experience tasters were quite unanimous: over the last years, the quality of oils has generally improved.
“Not only is the number of participants increasing, but the quality of the extra virgin olive oils improved,” said Lauro, the competition’s president, before introducing all the finalists and announcing the winners of the main awards: best of country, best in class, and best international 2022 for the northern and southern hemispheres.
A total of 516 recognitions were handed out, including gold and silver medals.See Also:Tuscan Producers Triumph at NYIOOC, Overcoming Late Frosts and Summer Heat
In the week preceding the event, an international panel of 23 judges assessed 736 samples, comprising 676 extra virgin olive oils and 60 flavored olive oils, from 26 countries.
Most of the entries come from Italy, which accounted for 25 percent of the total. It was followed by Greece (16 percent), Turkey (15 percent), Spain (9 percent), and Brazil (8 percent).
“Some countries participated at the EVO-IOOC this year for the first time,” managing director Stefania Reggio said. “We have to say that the producers from these emerging producing areas are doing a really great job in terms of quality.”
According to data collected by the organizers, more than half of the extra virgin olive oils submitted are monovarietal, while blends represent 46 percent of the total.
Olive oils with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) or Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status from the European Union account for 15 percent of total submissions, and slightly more than 23 percent are certified organic.
“Evaluating so many excellent products was not an easy task,” Lauro said. “The comments of our experience tasters were quite unanimous: over the last years, the quality of oils has generally improved.”
“I think this is the sign that the international competitions raised the bar higher and higher, strongly contributing to pushing the producers at a global level towards excellence,” he added.
Among the top winners was Superbo, a blend of Itrana and Moraiolo olives produced in Lazio by Americo Quattrociocchi, which earned the best international award for the northern hemisphere.
The Brazilian farm, Azeite Milonga, won for the southern hemisphere with its monovarietal of Arbequina.
“I am so pleased about this recognition,” owner Christian Vogt said during the awards event. “It was a big surprise since our company was founded in 2019, and this was our first participation in a competition.”
Receiving the prize, he recalled his first meeting with Lauro a few years ago at the Olive Oil Times sommelier course in New York.
“He was our teacher, I talked to him about the difficulties of the Brazilian soil and our work in the grove, and he told me, ‘Go ahead, what you are doing is right and will give great results,’ ” Vogt said. “Those words of encouragement have been fulfilled with this success.”
The complete list of winners can be found on the EVO-IOOC website. The paper guide EVO-IOOC Edition 2022/23 will be published soon and available for buyers, consumers, and extra virgin olive oil enthusiasts.