Meet the Driving Force Behind the Success of Montenegrin Producers at NYIOOC '22

Ćazim Alković helped growers and producers in the small Balkan state earn one Gold and two Silver Awards, the first in the country's history.

Ćazim Alković
By Nedjeljko Jusup
May. 31, 2022 15:03 UTC
Ćazim Alković

Montenegrin pro­duc­ers enjoyed a record year at the 2022 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, earn­ing three awards from four entries.

It was the first time pro­duc­ers from the small Balkan state, sit­u­ated on the Adriatic coast south of Croatia, had been awarded at the world’s largest olive oil qual­ity com­pe­ti­tion and only the sec­ond time a Montenegrin pro­ducer had entered since 2014.

This is a his­toric moment because, in this way, we have joined the ranks of advanced coun­tries that care about the qual­ity of olive oil.- Ćazim Alković, pres­i­dent, Bar Olive Growers Association

Stevo Davidović, an olive grower and oil pro­ducer from Buljarica, located in Budva on the south­west­ern coast­line, earned a Gold Award for a medium blend.

He also helped pro­duce Barska Uljara’s del­i­cate Žutica, which earned a Silver Award. Veselin Vulićević from nearby Bar also earned a Silver Award for his medium Bjelica.

See Also:Celebrating the Fruit of An Ancient Tree in Montenegro

After eight years with­out enter­ing the NYIOOC, this year’s suc­cess comes after Ćazim Alković, pres­i­dent of the Bar Olive Growers Association, helped orga­nize pro­duc­ers. He also con­vinced local gov­ern­ments and orga­ni­za­tions to sup­port pro­duc­ers in their efforts to send Montenegrin extra vir­gin olive oil to New York.

Alković told Olive Oil Times that this year pre­sented the per­fect oppor­tu­nity to send Montenegrin oils after a favor­able har­vest.

Following advice from and the exam­ple of olive grow­ers from the south­ern Croatian region of Dalmatia, Ćazim started talk­ing to grow­ers from the entire Montenegrin coast.

Alković also helped form the first Montenegrin sen­sory analy­sis panel and wrote let­ters to the lead­ers of local munic­i­pal­i­ties, explain­ing the impor­tance of par­tic­i­pat­ing in the 2022 NYIOOC.


The munic­i­pal­i­ties of Bar, Budva, Kotor, Podgorica (the Montenegrin cap­i­tal) and Tuzi responded to the let­ter, offer­ing finan­cial sup­port to cover the costs of test­ing and ship­ping pro­duc­ers’ extra vir­gin olive oils to New York.

We are grate­ful for the sup­port and under­stand­ing of the impor­tance of par­tic­i­pat­ing in such impor­tant com­pe­ti­tions because the achieved suc­cess brings mul­ti­ple ben­e­fits to Montenegro,” Alković said.

He added that they orga­nized a local com­pe­ti­tion to choose the best oils before send­ing the sam­ples to New York.

Organized by the Bar Olive Growers’ Association, the biotech­ni­cal fac­ulty per­formed a free chem­i­cal analy­sis of the sam­ples, and the first-ever Montenegrin sen­sory assess­ment panel tasted and graded the oils.

Alković said he was delighted that the NYIOOC’s expert panel of judges reached sim­i­lar con­clu­sions to those of the newly-formed Montenegrin panel.

The rat­ings of our panel and the NYIOOC jury match in large per­cent­ages,” he said. The extra vir­gin olive oils of Davidović and Vulićević were the high­est-rated in the inter­nal Montenegrin com­pe­ti­tion.

This is how con­fi­dence in the cred­i­bil­ity of our eval­u­a­tions is achieved,” Alković said, adding that the awards in New York were a point of pride for the grow­ers and the rest of Montenegro.

One Gold and two Silver Awards are a great suc­cess for lit­tle Montenegro, and this is a his­toric moment because, in this way, we have joined the ranks of advanced coun­tries that care about the qual­ity of olive oil,” Alković said.

Additionally, the awards are also a great tourist pro­mo­tion for Montenegro,” he added.

The three Montenegrin oils have now been added to the Official Guide to the World’s Best Olive Oils, which has been viewed more than one mil­lion times since the begin­ning of April, accord­ing to com­pe­ti­tion offi­cials.

The results also were fol­lowed on social media by importers, dis­trib­u­tors, caters, chefs, jour­nal­ists and con­sumers.

However, Alković said that now was not the time for Montenegrin grow­ers and pro­duc­ers to rest on their lau­rels. He expects the inau­gu­ra­tion of the new Stari Bar olive mill, which will also include a ware­house to prop­erly label and store oils and sem­i­nar rooms for edu­ca­tional lec­tures, will bring future suc­cess to the coun­try.

This year’s abun­dant flow­er­ing promises a good har­vest and gives hope that there will be even more top-qual­ity oil next year,” he said. With the sup­port of munic­i­pal­i­ties and the state, there will be even more awards at inter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions.”

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