Award-winning producer Ivica Vlatković attributed Croatia's success so far at the 2023 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition to individual quality and sector-wide cooperation.
Part of our continuing special coverage of the 2023 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.
The president of the Association of Olive Growers of Zadar County has congratulated Croatian olive growers for the 79 awards they have combined to win so far at the 2023 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.
Ivica Vlatković earned two Gold Awards himself at the competition and has been a vocal advocate for the development of the Croatian olive oil industry.
Although the competition in New York is still going on, Croatia can be proud of its olive growers because they once again lifted it into the top of the olive oil world.
To date, Croatian producers have won the second most awards at the world’s largest olive oil quality competition, which received 1,083 entries from 29 countries and states. Only producers from Italy have won more, with 127 awards. Winners will continue to be announced through April.
“We are a small country in terms of the share of olive oil, but what we produce is the world’s best,” Vlatković said. “Now I am sure that, if we continue like this, we can win first place in the foreseeable future.”See Also:The Best Croatian EVOO
According to Vlatković, the Croatian Tourist Board should emphasize the successes of Croatian olive growers in all its brochures and tourist fairs. He believes visitors should know they are coming to a small olive-growing country where plenty of high-quality extra virgin olive oil is produced.
Vlatković also praised olive-growing event organizers for raising the profile of Croatia on the international stage.
In the past quarter century, the proliferation of local quality events has resulted in the training of more professional tasters and an overall increase in the quality of Croatian olive oil production.
“Modern mills and producers, with their responsible work, have helped to create a global reputation for the olive industry,” Vlatković added. “No other segment of Croatian agriculture has achieved such this.”
While Vlatković acknowledged that there are high-quality wine, cheese and prosciutto producers in Croatia, he said none of their respective industries had achieved a level of organization and promotion similar to that of Croatia’s olive oil producers.
Vlatković said consistency is the key to this success, with Croatian olive oil producers continuously finishing in the top five of total awards at the NYIOOC since 2018.
This has resulted from individual efforts to produce high-quality oils and communal efforts. He cited the work of award-winning producer Tomislav Duvnjak in Dalmatia, the largest olive-growing region in Croatia, whose organizing and fundraising efforts helped the region achieve record success in recent years at the NYIOOC.
“Duvnjak deserves all the praise and our admiration,” Vlatković said. “It is always important to have people who will push and pull for the common good.”
For his efforts, Vlatković was recognized for his lifetime contribution to the sector at a national olive and olive oil event in Split, Croatia’s second-largest city located in Dalmatia.
“Although the competition in New York is still going on, Croatia can be proud of its olive growers because they once again lifted it into the top of the olive oil world,” he said. “This is exactly where we belong because great success is achieved when people live their dreams, enthusiasts who are driven by passion and love for their land and the sacred olive tree.”