Latest Awards Confirm the Rising Quality of Croatian Extra Virgin Olive Oils

Producers from Croatia remained among the most awarded at the 2023 World Olive Oil Competition, despite their much smaller production than some other participating countries.

Croatian olive growers
By Nedjeljko Jusup
May. 2, 2023 13:07 UTC
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Croatian olive growers

Croatian olive grow­ers began cel­e­brat­ing their suc­cess after the con­clu­sion of the 2023 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, the world’s largest olive oil qual­ity con­test.

We are third, and we nar­rowly missed out on sec­ond place,” pro­ducer Tomislav Duvnjak said of Croatia’s stand­ing among the most awarded coun­tries.

Great suc­cesses are achieved where peo­ple live their dreams. Enthusiasts are dri­ven by loss, love for their land and the sacred olive tree.- Domagoj Živković, owner, OPG Laurenta

Along with his Vodice extra vir­gin olive oil, Duvnjak helped coor­di­nate the sub­mis­sion of many oils from Dalmatia, Croatia’s largest olive-grow­ing region.

Overall, 1,100 sam­ples were sub­mit­ted to the 2023 NYIOOC from 28 coun­tries. Croatian olive grow­ers, mainly from Dalmatia and Istria, excelled with 105 awards (94 Gold and 11 Silver) from 128 entries, plac­ing the coun­try in third place — like their national asso­ci­a­tion foot­ball team, which fin­ished third at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

See Also:The best olive oils from Croatia

Croatian pro­duc­ers also fin­ished in third place in the 2022 NYIOOC with 96 awards and fourth place in the 2021 edi­tion with 87 awards.

Spain over­took us by just one more award. They won 106 medals, and we won 105,” Duvnjak said. The Spanish com­peted with 135 sam­ples, and we with 128.”

Our suc­cess rate is bet­ter. Spain had 79 per­cent, and Croatia had 82 per­cent,” he added. In this respect, we sur­passed even Italy, which won 174 awards from 224 sam­ples — 75 per­cent.”

In the final rank­ing, Greece fin­ished in fourth with 90 awards and the United States in fifth with 80, fol­lowed by Turkey (74), Portugal (35), Tunisia (27), France (11) and other olive-grow­ing coun­tries with sig­nif­i­cantly higher pro­duc­tion vol­umes than Croatia.

Duvnjak and other pro­duc­ers said it is encour­ag­ing that Croatian olive grow­ers demon­strated increased qual­ity.

Since 2015, when only nine entries were sub­mit­ted, Croatia has become one of the strongest per­form­ers in terms of the num­ber of awards and suc­cess rate at the NYIOOC. However, the trend took off in 2021 when Duvnjak first orga­nized the effort for Dalmatian pro­duc­ers to sub­mit their oils.

In terms of per­for­mance and qual­ity, Croatian olive oils are the best in the world,” said Ivica Vlatković, an award-win­ning pro­ducer and pres­i­dent of the Association of Olive Growers of Zadar County. We’re even bet­ter than the two olive-grow­ing super­pow­ers of Italy and Spain.”

These awards are recog­ni­tion for great effort and work,” added Domagoj Živković, owner of OPG Laurenta, who earned a Gold Award for a medium-inten­sity Oblica. But let them also be an oblig­a­tion to con­tinue even bet­ter because it is still dif­fi­cult to stay on top.”

We should con­tinue to pro­duce even bet­ter qual­ity oils and par­tic­i­pate with more sam­ples, and here we are at the top of the world,” he added.

Vlatković said Croatia could be proud of its olive grow­ers because they once again lifted it to the world stage. Exactly where it belongs because great suc­cesses are achieved where peo­ple live their dreams. Enthusiasts are dri­ven by loss, love for their land and the sacred olive tree,” he said.

Now, pro­duc­ers in Croatia say it is time for olive grow­ers to be rec­og­nized for their con­tri­bu­tion to the coun­try’s agri­cul­tural sec­tor and global pro­file by gov­ern­ment offi­cials and pro­grams.


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