Having arrived safely from 10 countries, the judges for the New York International Olive Oil Competition (NYIOOC) — the world’s largest and most prestigious olive oil quality contest — began their work this morning to analyze 827 entries and identify this year’s best extra virgin olive oils.

It is the most extensive tasting ever undertaken in one place and organizers said they had to turn away nearly 100 more entry applications after registration for the NYIOOC closed in early March.

Participation is way up for every region across the board, notably from Italy which sent nearly 200 brands to compete for the coveted Silver, Gold and Best in Class awards — a strong sign of resurgence after that country’s disastrous harvest the year before.

But entries were also up from Greece, Spain, the United States, Australia Chile, Turkey and every region liquid gold is produced. “Producers have made it clear to us that they view this competition as an important annual event, and we are taking that role very seriously,” said Curtis Cord, NYIOOC president, who recently announced the beta launch of a merchant platform where sellers of this year’s winners can expand their reach to the growing ranks of buyers who seek the best olive oils.

Judging will conclude Thursday, before a 5:30 press conference where the world’s best extra virgin olive oils for 2016 will be unveiled before 200 producers, journalists and food industry professionals, and broadcast live around the world at bestoliveoils.com — the official results website of the NYIOOC.

Details of the winning oils will also be presented in a Guide to the Year’s Best Extra Virgin Olive Oils distributed to over 20,000 retailers, distributors and food industry buyers globally, and many will be available through the Best Olive Oils Marketplace set to launch in the coming weeks.

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