`Šibenik Event Highlights Award-Winning Dalmatian Producers - Olive Oil Times

Šibenik Event Highlights Award-Winning Dalmatian Producers

By Nedjeljko Jusup
Jan. 17, 2023 17:50 UTC

Recently, Dalmatia, the largest olive-grow­ing region in Croatia, hosted the Taste Extra Vergine project. The County of Šibenik-Knin orga­nized the event and held it in the Adriatic Business Center. During the event, extra vir­gin olive oil pro­duc­ers who won awards at the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition in 2021 and 2022 pre­sented their olive oils and dis­cussed the state of the olive oil indus­try in Dalmatia.

See Also:The Farmer Behind the Dramatic Rise of Dalmatian Olive Oils on the World Stage

Višnja Marasović, deputy head for the econ­omy, tourism, agri­cul­ture, rural devel­op­ment and EU funds, opened Taste Extra Vergine. Representatives of local insti­tu­tions, restau­ra­teurs and cit­i­zens attended the event. The pre­fect of Šibenik-Knin County, Marko Jelić greeted every­one present.

Our county can really offer ade­quate sup­port through tourism, the tourist com­mu­nity, but also through our sys­tems and the regional devel­op­ment agency. Our mis­sion is to secure as many funds as pos­si­ble and to help you. You know that we par­tic­i­pate in analy­ses, equip­ment and pur­chases, and I hope that there will be more and more of that,” said Prefect Jelić.

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Prefect Marko Jelić

The pro­gram began with two pan­els. The first was titled Can Dalmatian Olive Oil Become a Brand?” This panel included many impor­tant insights into the Dalmatian olive oil indus­try.

Award-win­ning olive grower, Domagoj Živković, mod­er­ated the first panel. A wide range of ven­er­ated guests pop­u­lated it. These included Mira Lepur, direc­tor of the Šibenik-Knin County Development Agency; Ante Sladić, wine­maker and olive grower from Plastovo near Skradin and mem­ber of the Vino Dalmacie Association and OLEA Sensory Analysis Association; Dušanka Kolar, local oil painter; Tomislav Filipović, food tech­nol­o­gist and owner of NIR anal­iza d.o.o., who is also known as the olive oil doc­tor; and Ivica Vlatković, rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Zadar County oil pro­duc­ers.

Šibenik-Knin county is in a great posi­tion because it has its own indige­nous vari­ety of olives — kravovica, and I think that this is a great advan­tage of this county because it is a vari­ety that other coun­ties do not have,” said Vlatković.

In Croatia, we have about 6 mil­lion olive trees, and in terms of olive oil pro­duc­tion, we are 24th in the world, so we can say that Croatia, in addi­tion to its cul­tural and his­tor­i­cal her­itage and excep­tional nat­ural beauty, also stands out for its food, which includes our olive oils,” said Lepur.

Lepur also empha­sized the con­nec­tion between Croatian olive oil pro­duc­ers, who are still not suf­fi­ciently rep­re­sented, and olive oil pro­duc­tion at a regional level.

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Next, the panel dis­cussed the need to pro­tect the authen­tic­ity of Dalmatian olive oil. The region’s gov­ern­ment started work­ing towards this goal a few years ago, but unfor­tu­nately, it was never com­pleted.

They also dis­cussed the need to con­nect pub­lic insti­tu­tions with pro­duc­ers in the field. Producers in Dalmatia could use the sup­port of many insti­tu­tions, includ­ing advi­sory ser­vices, LAGs, HOK, HGK, local devel­op­ment agen­cies and, finally, European fund­ing.

The olive grow­ers on the panel expressed the pos­si­bil­ity of devel­op­ing a uniquely Dalmatian brand of olive oil and how to achieve that goal.

Olive oil is a veg­etable fat that is very impor­tant in terms of gas­tron­omy. When we talk about pair­ing with olive oil, we have to know the fla­vors of the food, assum­ing that we also know the fla­vors of the oil, and then we pair the food with the oil, while with wine, it is the oppo­site because we pair the wine with the food. So, there are two roles of olive oil in gas­tron­omy; prepar­ing food with olive oil and pair­ing food with olive oil,” said Filipović.

In addi­tion to the open­ing two pan­els, the Taste Extra Vergine project included an exhi­bi­tion and a tast­ing of the NYIOOC 2021 and 2022 award-win­ning extra vir­gin olive oils from Šibenik-Knin County.

OPG Ante Urem, Sv, Ivan Tomislav Duvnjak, OPG Buntić, OPG Dušanka Kolar, Vinarija Birin, Ante Sladić, Pasika d.o.o. Miroslav Ivić, OPG Krešimir Uroda, OPG Vjeran Paić and OPG Laurent Domagoj Živković pro­duced the award-win­ning oils present. Along with the tast­ing, spe­cial del­i­ca­cies con­tain­ing olive oil were also served.

In the after­noon, there were three edu­ca­tional ses­sions. One of the three ses­sions was titled The Influence of Extra Virgin Olive Oil on Health” and held by Vlatković.

Olive oil is not a tar­geted med­i­cine, but it has a long-term, pre­ven­tive and cura­tive effect on the occur­rence of many dis­eases,” said Vlatković.

He explained, Only extra vir­gin olive oil pos­sesses this power in its full pro­file because it con­tains unchanged nat­ural active ingre­di­ents. Any olive oil that loses its fresh­ness, and thus its orig­i­nal nat­ural com­po­si­tion, has a health effect pro­por­tional to its remain­ing con­tent of active and med­i­c­i­nal bio­log­i­cal com­po­nents.”

In the other two edu­ca­tional ses­sions, Nina Vuletin, biotech­nol­o­gist and sen­sor ana­lyst, revealed how pro­fes­sion­als taste and eval­u­ate olive oils and Ante Rupić, agron­o­mist and olive grower, did a deep dive into olive oil.

Šibenik-Knin County’s press release for the Taste Extra Vergine project empha­sized that peo­ple should con­sume olive oil daily (one soup spoon is rec­om­mended).

The press release empha­sized olive oil’s sev­eral health ben­e­fits. These include reduced heart attack and stroke risk, less bad cho­les­terol in the blood, low­ered blood pres­sure, reduced risk of ulcers and gall­stones, decreased blood sugar con­cen­tra­tion, and a more effi­cient pan­creas. Olive oil has also been shown to have antivi­ral, antimy­cotic, antiox­i­dant and antimi­cro­bial prop­er­ties.

Olive grow­ers from the Šibenik area, espe­cially Tomislav Duvnjak, were respon­si­ble for the suc­cess of the Taste Extra Vergine project. Two years ago, Dalmatian olive grow­ers first entered the pres­ti­gious olive oil com­pe­ti­tion, NYIOOC. Their con­tri­bu­tion to the over­all suc­cess of Croatian olive oils is easy to see.

Croatia won a total of 49 medals at the 2020 NYIOOC. The fol­low­ing year, coin­cid­ing with the first entry of Dalmatian olive oil pro­duc­ers, the num­ber of awards Croatia won rose to 87. This last year, Croatian olive grow­ers won a record 96 medals, of which Dalmatian oil grow­ers col­lected” more than half. More pre­cisely, olive grow­ers from Dalmatia received 55 awards at the 2022 NYIOOC; 29 were gold and 26 sil­ver.

Last year we were fourth, this year third, right behind Italy and Spain,” remem­bered Duvnjak. He expects even bet­ter results at the 2023 NYIOOC.

We have the qual­ity, and if we are even more united than before, we can achieve an even bet­ter result at the World Olive Oil Competition in New York,” Duvnjak said.

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