Antonio G. Lauro (center) with EVO-IOOC participants and friends at The Archaeological Park of Paestum

The Archaeological Park of Paestum and its magnificent temples became the setting for the award ceremony of the third edition of the EVO International Olive Oil Contest led by Antonio G. Lauro. On May 19, the UNESCO World Heritage Site hosted producers, journalists and olive oil enthusiasts who discovered the winners of the competition among its 502 entries.

The celebration highlighted the theme of the contest with respect to the millennia-old temples. “The choice of the location was strongly desired by the EVO-IOOC management team,” said Lauro, who created the event with Stefania Reggio. “Here, you can breathe the history and feel that olive oil was and continues to be the link between yesterday and tomorrow.”

The mayor of Capaccio Paestum, Franco Palumbo, and the deputy mayor, Teresa Palmieri, welcomed the competition which was made possible thanks to the director of the archaeological area of Paestum, Gabriel Zuchtriegel, the organization of producers UNASCO, the IP consulting company Barzanò & Zanardo, the Mondini Rusconi Law Firm, the company Clemente Costruzioni Meccaniche, the Savoy Beach Hotel in Paestum and the Association of tasters Oleum.

An international panel of judges analyzed oils from 20 producing countries, many of which came from Greece, Spain and Turkey. During the ceremony, a special mention went to an extra virgin olive oil from war-torn Syria.

Fifty-five percent of the oils evaluated in the competition were monovarietal, as 156 different olive cultivars were presented. About 45 percent of participants came from Italy, with a major presence from Puglia and Calabria. 305 medals, 173 Gold and 132 Silver, were awarded.

Three Italian companies from Tuscany, Sicily and Campania, and two from Greece and Spain were awarded the Best in Class North Hemisphere. Among these, Domenico Bonanno produced an excellent extra virgin olive oil in Campobello di Mazzara, in the province of Trapani.

“We are delighted with these awards,” Bonanno said after receiving two Gold Medals with the extra virgin olive oils Passione e Riserva. “Work is increasing every year but we have been helped by a great season, exceptional from the climatic point of view, which has allowed us to obtain an excellent production of the highest quality confirmed by these recognitions.”

The Southern Hemisphere was dominated by Brazil with three Best in Class. “It was with great happiness that we received the awards at the EVO-IOOC, which was the first contest that we have ever entered with our olive oil,” said André Secco of Café Fazenda Sertãozinho LTDA, in Minas Gerais. “We started planting in 2009 and we have been improving our production and processes year by year. These awards mean that we are on the right track and that it is possible for Brazil to produce quality olive oil.”

The complete list of the winners is available on the event’s website.

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