Thirty-five extra virgin olive oils from Greece have achieved the distinction “Best in the World” for 2015 at the New York International Olive Oil Competition (NYIOOC), a much stronger showing than in 2014 and a clear sign that the determination of olive oil producers in Greece is paying off.
Twenty-one percent of Greek entries in the world’s largest and most prestigious olive oil quality contest were awarded this time, a lower success rate than rival producer countries Spain and Italy, but a marked improvement over last year’s tally. Nineteen Gold Awards and 16 Silver Awards went to Greek oils.
See more: The Best Greek Olive Oils for 2015
Greece submitted more entries (168) in the annual competition than any other country, an indication that producers are striving for quality and to distinguish their brands in the marketplace.
“Winning at the NYIOOC was a big honor for our family,” said Diamantis Pierrakos, who was in New York with his brother Dino to accept the award for the Gold Award-winning brand, Laconiko. “Being recognized at this very prestigious competition has proven to us that our hard work and sacrifices we have made are finally paying off. This distinct recognition is a message that our family, from the small region of Lakonia, Greece, produce one of the world’s best extra virgin olive oils.”
Greek producers have long sold their olive oils in bulk to foreign producers who used the robust kick of the mostly Koroneiki varietals to lift the taste of inferior blends. In recent years, even in the midst of a wrenching economic crisis, Greek olive oil companies have unveiled new, innovative brands while stepping up the quality of their products.
“Greek olive oil quality is trending higher,” said Curtis Cord, NYIOOC president. “What we are seeing now is the rise of Greek olive oil brands to the world stage, a stage on which they rightfully belong.”
The strong showing at the competition will help draw the attention of retail buyers and food industry professionals who use the NYIOOC results as a buying guide for the coming year.
Once on store shelves, they will surely capture the attention of shoppers: Greek olive oils light up the category with some of the most innovative branding and striking packaging designs around.
Since much of the Liquid Gold from Greece went nameless until recently, producers were free to develop new identities from scratch. These newly minted brands marry a rich Greek tradition with fresh, modern designs to create unforgettable brands unencumbered by conventions.
Now, it seems Greek producers are setting their sights on what’s inside by improving harvesting and production conditions and exercising control over the countless steps on the path to producing great olive oil.
“When you have passion you will always do what is necessary, from proper pruning, harvesting, constantly learning and applying different skills and techniques,” the Laconiko producer, Diamantis Pierrakos added. “A little of everything is needed to make one of the world’s best. As in life, you need love and attention to fine detail.”