Former Footballer and Lawyer Team Up to Produce High-Quality Olive Oil

Along with Vjeran Paić, his son-in-law and a well-known lawyer, the 65-year-old earned a Silver Award at the 2023 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition for Brunela, a medium blend.

"Winning at the NYIOOC is a great success," said Cukrov, who played for Hajduk and three other Croatian teams in Yugoslavia in the 1970s and 1980s and for the national team."I want gold at the NYIOOC, so we will compete in the coming years."

Cukrov and Pai planted vegetables and 60 olive trees on 2.5 hectares of land owned by his son-in-law in Kuine, near Ibenik. The two planted 300 more olive trees, largely local kinds, some of which are still young.

Their Brunela blend, made from the fruits of the autochthonous Oblica, Levantinka, Lastovka and Krvavica varieties, was rated highly by the team of NYIOOC judges.

“The award at the world’s largest competition is a confirmation of quality, but also an additional incentive to persist in producing even better extra virgin olive oil,” Cukrov and Paić said.

The pair do not hide that everything from soil quality to geographic positioning of the groves helps them achieve high quality. The two are currently investigating the possibility of installing irrigation into their groves.

He and Vjeran are especially pleased that young people are increasingly interested in olive growing, restoring old, abandoned land and planting new groves.

Dalmatia is experiencing an olive-growing renaissance, as seen by the many awards its producers receive at domestic and international quality competitions.