Students and Teachers at Croatian Elementary School Celebrate NYIOOC Success

The Catholic Primary School in Šibenik, Dalmatia is the first school (excluding universities) to win an award at the World Olive Oil Competition.
By Nedjeljko Jusup
May. 3, 2022 16:17 UTC

This is a great joy for all of us, for the stu­dents, teach­ers and all other school staff,” Mandica Starčević, the direc­tor of the Catholic Primary School in Šibenik, an ele­men­tary school in the Croatian city Šibenik, told Olive Oil Times.

The cel­e­bra­tions at the school came on April 27, dur­ing the feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel, when the school learned its Oblica Primary Catholic School Sibenik earned a Gold Award at the 2022 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.

Over the years, many have praised our school oil as hav­ing excep­tional qual­ity. This year, we decided to check out what experts have to say, so we sent our oil to New York.- Mandica Starčević, direc­tor, Catholic Primary School in Šibenik

This is the best con­fir­ma­tion that our oil is really worth it and recog­ni­tion for all those who work hard on olives,” Starčević said. It is proof that we are on the right track in organic farm­ing and that in accor­dance with nature, our school coop­er­a­tive cre­ates a qual­ity prod­uct.”


The news of their suc­cess at the world’s largest olive oil qual­ity com­pe­ti­tion res­onated in Dalmatia, the largest Croatian olive grow­ing region, and beyond.

See Also:Herzegovinian Olive Grower Škegro Does It Again

We became famous, and until [April 27], only a few peo­ple knew that we also grow olives at our school coop­er­a­tive, Školjka,” Starčević said.


The coop­er­a­tive boasts 100 indige­nous Oblica trees planted 30 years ago. Along with stu­dents and teach­ers, Marko Rupić takes care of the grove through­out the year. He also coor­di­nates the olive har­vest and trans­for­ma­tion of the olives with the help of the head accoun­tant, Šime Petrović. 

Rupić and Petrović take care of all the agro-tech­ni­cal mea­sures through­out the year, from prun­ing to har­vest­ing. This lat­ter stage is when the stu­dents, school staff and the Školjka stu­dent coop­er­a­tive become involved.

The olives are hand­picked when the fruits reach the opti­mal stage of ripeness and are sent for pro­cess­ing every day.

They are cold-processed. We store the oil in appro­pri­ate con­tain­ers at a tem­per­a­ture of 16 ºC to 18 ºC,” Starčević said. Apart from com­mer­cial pur­poses, the oil is also used in school kitchens to pro­duce balms with Mediterranean herbs and as a school gift.”

Over the years, many have praised our school oil as hav­ing excep­tional qual­ity,” she added. This school year, we decided to check out what experts have to say, so we sent our oil to New York.”

Thus, the school’s Oblica extra vir­gin olive oil, native to Dalmatia and the most wide­spread vari­ety planted in the region, com­peted with 1,244 sam­ples from 28 coun­tries and was one of 112 oils from Croatia. 

The Oblica vari­ety is drought-resis­tant and adapt­able to var­i­ous ter­rains. These par­tic­u­lar olives were har­vested after 890 hours of sun­shine and 1,001 mil­lime­ters of rain. 

The organ­i­cally-pro­duced oil was char­ac­ter­ized by the NYIOOC’s panel of pro­fes­sional judges as slightly bit­ter and spicy, with pro­nounced fruiti­ness and hints of cut spring grass and aro­matic herbs. The judges also detected chicory and olive leaf notes along with the afore­men­tioned fla­vors.

By adding the extra vir­gin olive oil to the Official Guide to the World’s Best Olive Oils, the Catholic Primary School in Šibenik’s Oblica mono­va­ri­etal is the god of gods,” as they say in Dalmatia. 

In the south­ern Croatian region, the ques­tion of what con­nects faith, leisure and a tasty snack is answered sim­ply: the sacred olive tree and olive oil.


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