Part of our continuing special coverage of the 2023 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.
With 32 awards in the 2023 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition’s early results, Croatian producers have earned the third-highest award tally, behind Italy and the United States.
Contributing to the small European country’s success was OPG Uroda, which garnered a Gold Award for its medium blend. “What I promised, I did,” Krešimir Uroda, owner of the Dalmatian company, told Olive Oil Times.
It’s an incredible feeling. It’s like winning the UEFA Champions League or climbing Mount Everest.
This year, Uroda submitted an extra virgin olive oil to the competition made from olives harvested by students from the International Elementary School Matija Gubec from Zagreb, the Croatian capital.
As part of their lessons about nature, the students visited Uroda’s olive grove 329 kilometers away in the hinterland of Pirovac, a picturesque town in Dalmatia.See Also:Best Croatian Extra Virgin Olive Oils
When he told the students that he would send the oil made with their help to the world’s largest olive oil quality competition, there was no end to the enthusiasm.
“If this oil wins the prize, the whole world will know that our school and we helped,” one of the students said.
The school – known to be attended by the children of diplomats, elite athletes, business people and entertainers – is located in Zagreb’s Srednjaci district, near the United States embassy, which is why they call it the “American school.”
The award-winning blend is crafted from Oblica, Leccino and Levantinka olives. In the olive grove, surrounded by drywall, Uroda harvested about two tons of fruit from 354 trees and obtained 500 liters of oil. Part of the property has been developed for tourism.
“We built it for ourselves, for our family, and then, two years ago, when we got the necessary approvals, we offered it to tourists through Airbnb,” Uroda said. “The response was beyond expectations.”
He said the guests are attracted by the olive grove, the proximity to the sea and the natural beauty of the countryside outside Pirovac.
In its first year of operation, OPG Uroda achieved 75 overnight stays and, based on guests’ evaluations, received the coveted Superhost distinction.
Last year, the number of guests doubled, and this year Uroda and his fiancee Đurđica Reljić expect even better results.
“We believe that our business in olive growing will only go forward,” the couple said.
When asked how it felt to win a Gold Award at the NYIOOC, Uroda said the same thing he told the students who visited last autumn: “It’s an incredible feeling. It’s like winning the UEFA Champions League or climbing Mount Everest.”