“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.
“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.