Blas Melgarejo (right) accepts an award in the “delicate fruity” category for his Composicion extra virgin olive oil.

Despite the difficult harvest and the poor economic and trading trends, this has been a very good year for Italian extra virgin olive oil, which raked up a lot of awards and recognition at national and international competitions.

It was no exception at the 8th edition of the International Olive Oil Competition Armonia – Trofeo IRVEA held by the Italian Institute for Research and Promotion of Food and Agriculture Excellence. A panel of Italian and Spanish judges declared the winners in Sevilla, awarding top extra virgin olive oil, packaging and design.

Italy won 5 out of the 6 awards for the best extra virgin olive oils in the three different fruity categories: in the first place for the Delicate there was the Tuscany Organic PGI by Il Pino while in the second place there was the Diana extra virgin by the Agricola Diana farm from Calabria; for the Medium category, the winner was the Cilento PDO made by the Marsicani farm in Campania, followed by La Vecchia Macina made by the Apulian farm Agrolio; for the Robust Fruity category, in the first place there was the Morgan Oil made by the Slovenian Ekoloska Kmetija Morgan followed by the Don Gioacchino Terra de’ Donno made by the Apulian farm Agricola Leone Sabino.

The awarded extra virgin olive oils were also used by the competitors of the “Harmony in the Kitchen” — a cooking contest organized by the IRVEA and the International Olive Oil Agency as a part of the Oleum Sapiens project. The contest aimed to promote the use of the extra virgin olive oils in combination with other excellent food products in restaurants as well as in catering and hospitality training institutes throughout Italy.

The young students of the Hotel Institutes participating in the competition faced themselves with imaginative recipes matching the winning oils with Italian rice.
They had to create an original recipe using the winning olive oils and the Acquerello, harvested and packed by the Rondolino family in Piedmont, who was a sponsor of this year’s event.

The first prize went to Francesco D’Aversa, attending the Sergio Ronco Gastronomy and Hospitality Institute, who prepared fennel and orange cookies with EVOO  foam and rice ganache. Second prize went to Andrea Brugnetti attending the L. Einaudi Institute, and to his mackerel roll with Acquerello rice and red shrimp with croquette and raw celeriac while the third prize went to Andrea Moschini – also attending the Sergio Ronco Gastronomy and Hospitality Institute – and his Rice and violet ice cream with husk and cardamom cookie.

The winners also gained a training stay at the London-based restaurant Fifteen London by Jamie Oliver, the English chef keen on the themes of healthy food education.

Find the complete list of the awarded extra virgin olive oils here.

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