The fourth edition of the EVO International Olive Oil Contest (EVO-IOOC) concluded with an award ceremony held on June 1 in the City Council Hall of Palmi, a landmark of the Violet Coast, in Calabria.

The resort, located in the southern end of the Tyrrhenian shoreline, was the beautiful backdrop to the competition that celebrates some of the world’s best extra virgin olive oils and flavored olive oils.

It is a great satisfaction to have obtained such recognition after a complicated campaign. This award is the results of considerable efforts by all of us.- Marcello Palumbo, of the Sololio cooperative

“The EVO-IOOC 2019 has been a real challenge, which was eventually won by producers determined to achieve the highest quality in spite of everything,” Antonio G. Lauro, the president of competition and native of the Violet Coast, said. “An excellent quality has compensated the decline in production suffered by countries like Italy, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, and Brazil.”


Antonio G Lauro and Stefania Reggio award Tony Gualtieri of Oleavanti, Lebanon

Lauro added that it was “an extremely difficult year, that put a strain on many farms, turned out to be excellent in terms of quality, as shown by the prizes awarded in the competition.”

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The final event of the contest was opened by the general manager Stefania Reggio, who revealed the figures of this edition, which received 431 entries from 17 countries. Italy won the most prizes with 121 medals, including three Best in Class awards, followed by Greece, with 50 medals and Spain, with 39. Portugal earned 20 medals, followed by Turkey, with 19, Argentina and Brazil, both won 12 and 11 medals, respectively.

Among the award-winning producers, Consuelo Garzo, who manage the Dolciterre farm in Seminara, Calabria, with her sisters Alessia and Maria Rosa, pointed out that “these awards come at the end of a challenging season as a recognition of a strong commitment.”

With their Ottobratica they earned the Gaetano Avallone special award for the Best Italian Monovarietal.

“Our olive grove is composed of 80 percent secular plants of this autochthonous cultivar,” she said, after receiving the prize along with other recognitions for their ‘Rosì’ and Olio di Calabria PGI.

“It is even more exciting to celebrate the quality of our extra virgin olive oils here in our land,” she added.

Overall, 259 monovarietals in the competition accounted for 64 percent of samples, representing 150 different cultivars, while products with designations of geographical origin were 20 percent of entries.

The high quality of the extra virgin olive oils required four days of intense work carried out by an international panel composed by Aida Lazzez (Tunisia), Birsen Can Pehlivan (Turkey), Ehud Soriano (Israel), Cristina Stribacu, Eleftheria Germanaki and Kostas Liris (Greece), Miciyo Yamada, Hiromi Nakamura and Nori Ogido (Japan), Na Xie (China), Javier Sànchez Pedròs, Juan Baseda Torruella and M Ángeles Calvo Fandos (Spain), Francisco Ataíde Pavão (Portugal), Carmelo Orlando, Roberto Marchesini, Rosario Franco and Indra Galbo (Italy).

“It is a great satisfaction to have obtained such recognition after a complicated campaign,” Marcello Palumbo, who is in charge of production at the Sololio cooperative in Ostuni, Puglia, said. “Our Delia Audace is a blend of Frantoio, Coratina, and Cassanese produced from the olive trees managed by my wife, Mimma, and her sisters, Dina and Carmela Bruno.”

“This award is the results of considerable efforts by all of us,” he added.

Gold Medals went also to the lemon and orange flavored olive oils produced in Greece by Peter Liokareas.

“It was a great recognition for our company,” he said after receiving awards including a Gold Medal and a Silver Medal for ‘Wild,’ a blend of wild olives and Koroneiki and ‘Early Harvest,’ a Koroneiki monovarietal.

“I live in the U.S. and frequently travel to Greece to manage our olive trees, which are taken care of by my family,” he added, introducing his cousin Fotios, who had just arrived from Peloponnese. “This year the humid climate favored outbreak of pests such as the olive fruit fly and we lost part of production, but we worked very hard to try to do the best with the fruits that we have saved and, these awards, received at the end of such a hard season are even more special for us.”

The complete list of winners is available on the competition website.

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