The 24th edition of the Ercole Olivario wound up with a ceremony award held this week in Perugia (Umbria), that brought together 100 finalists. In the year of renaissance for the Italian olive oil sector, 249 producers from 17 regions took part in the prestigious national contest.

The competition has been organized by the Union of the Italian Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Handicraft, in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce of Perugia and the support of the National Chamber System. Since its foundation, the Ercole Olivario has aimed to promote the excellence of olive oil from the various areas of the peninsula, supporting producers who aspire at the highest quality and promoting the skills of professional tasters.

The Ercole Olivario Award takes its name from a temple dedicated to Hercules, the divine hero linked to the agricultural world, located in the area of Forum Boarium in Rome. The holy place, with majestic fluted columns and precious corinthian capitals, was built in the first century BC at the expense of the ancient Roman corporation of olive oil producers, which exported their products throughout the empire, boarding from the ancient port of Rome on the banks of the Tiber river close to the temple (the current Testaccio district).

Participants from Latium (47), Umbria (40) and Sardinia (26), Puglia and Sicily (24), Calabria and Abruzzo (19), Tuscany (17), Campania (10), Liguria (6), Marche (4), Molise and Lombardy (3), Veneto, Emilia-Romagna and Basilicata (2) and Trentino (1) competed for the categories DOP and EXTRA (for the extra virgin olive oils) based on the different types of fruitiness (light, medium and intense). Four awards were granted: the Amphora Olearia, for the best label; the Lekythos, for the foreign personality who stands out for the knowledge of tasting techniques; the Special Mention for Organic EVOO of the year; and the prize “The courage to set up new agricultural enterprises,” reserved new startups.

Considering the high quality of the samples, the deliberations were not easy for the 16 tasters of the national board, who examined the olive oils selected from 17 regional commissions. The panel consisted of experts representing the olive growing regions selected from the National list of technicians and experts of virgin and extra virgin olive oils, with a yearly rotation mechanism. “The twenty-fourth edition confirms and enshrines the high olfactory-gustatory performance that unequivocally characterize the excellence of Italian olive oils,” said the panel leader Giuseppe Cicero.

“This year, in addition to the activity of selection, we offered services that can be used by the companies to promote their own development in the sector,” said the chairman of the coordination committee, Giorgio Mencaroni.

“The first service is related to the digitalization: all 249 participants will be provided with a study on the online presence of their company, with indications to maximize the visibility.

“The second aims at the transparency of labels. Thanks to the collaboration with a company for the certification of agri-food quality, Agroqualità, we will verify the presence of the mandatory elements required by the European Regulations and related decrees on labeling,” he explained.

“Internationalization is the third area of activity for which I wish to thank the Italian Trade Agency ICE, which plays a key role in the promotion of Italian products in foreign markets. I also thank the council for the research in agriculture and analysis of agri-economy CREA which supervised the regional selections.”

“This award is a recognition of the care and attention we paid to high quality,” affirmed Federico Massoli of the Podere Ricavo, the winner in the category PDO light fruity. “We are a small family company with an intense connection with the territory and we put all our energies in the quality, that for us is more important than the quantity. This attitude repaid us with a great satisfaction.”

Ercole Olivario Award Winners

PDO EVOO Light Fruity Category

DOP Terre di Siena Podere Ricavo Azienda Agricola Buoni o del Buono Maria Pia in Cetona (Siena)
EVOO DOPUmbria Colli Assisi Spoleto Azienda Agraria Marfuga in Campello sul Clitunno (Perugia)

PDO EVOO Medium Fruity Category

DOPColline Pontine Azienda Agricola Biologica Orsini in Priverno (Latina)
DOP Umbria Colli Orvietani Azienda Eugenio Ranchino in Orvieto (Terni)

PDO EVOO Intense Fruity Category

DOP Terra Di Bari – Castel Del Monte Frantoio Galantino in Bisceglie (Barletta, Andria, Trani)
DOP Colline Pontine Azienda Agricola Alfredo Cetrone in Sonnino (Latina)

EVOO Light Fruity Category

EVOO Azienda Cassini Paolo in Isolabona (Imperia)
EVOO Società Agricola Ceraudo Roberto in Strongoli (Crotone)

EVOO Medium Fruity Category

EVOO Azienda Agraria Viola di Sant’Eraclio in Foligno (Perugia)
EVOO Azienda Agricola Di Giacomo Sandro in Pianella (Pescara)

EVOO Intense Fruity Category

EVOO Azienda Agricola Callicarpo in Oliena (Nuoro)
EVOO Azienda Agricola Adria Misiti in Sabaudia (Latina)

Special Awards

Amphora Olearia Award: company Terraliva (Sicily)

Special Mention Organic Oil: EVOO DOP Colline Pontine Azienda Agricola Biologica Orsini (Latium)

Lekythos Award: Università dei Sapori

New Enterprise Award: Azienda Agricola Callicarpo (Sardinia)

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