Croatian olive growers are already celebrating success at the 2022 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, even as more results are announced each day.
“We are third in the world [in terms of total awards],” Tomislav Duvnjak, owner of Vodice DOO in Dalmatia, who won two Silver Awards this year, told a network of local olive growers. “I hope we will endure to the end, and that this is the largest success so far.”
This year, producers from 28 countries submitted 1,240 samples of extra virgin olive oil to the world’s largest olive oil quality competition. So far, 468 Gold Awards and 225 Silver Awards have been given out.See Also:NYIOOC 2022 Live Updates
At the time of writing, Croatian producers had earned a total of 93 awards (67 Gold and 26 Silver), with only Spanish and Italian producers earning more with 140 and 111, respectively.
By comparison, Croatian producers earned the fourth-highest total in the 2021 edition of the competition, behind Italy, Spain and Greece, with 87 awards (67 Gold and 20 Silver).
Over the years, Croatian participation has increased steadily and sharply, growing from the first edition of the competition in 2014 when just 13 samples were submitted to the record-high 112 samples submitted this year.
The single sharpest year of growth came in 2021 when 105 samples were submitted to the NYIOOC panel of judges, an increase of 75 percent compared to the previous year. The huge uptick was attributed to a grassroots organizing effort in Dalmatia driven by Duvnjak to help more growers and producers participate.See Also:Best Olive Oils From Croatia
Along with a record-high number of awards, Croatian producers have also achieved the highest success rate of any country that earned more than three awards at the competition, with 83 percent. Japan and New Zealand are the next highest, with 75 percent each.
“Awards are recognition of the great effort and work,” said Domagoja Živković, who earned a Gold Award at the competition. “But also an obligation to continue to improve because it is hard to stay on top.”
Ivica Vlatković, the president of the Zadar County Olive Growers Association who also earned two Silver Awards at the 2022 NYIOOC, added that the role tradition has played in the success of Croatia’s growers and producers cannot be underestimated.
“The labor and work of Croatian olive growers, our grandfathers, was not in vain,” he said. “Many of us built on their foundations, planted new olives and achieved success.”
Just as a Frech enologist once told him years ago when he asked about the success of French wine globally, Vlatković said “the secret is in the tradition.”
“Because tradition is an experiment which lasts, is transferred down the generations and is perfected,” he concluded.