It was an evening to remem­ber in New York’s East Village, where the results of the 2019 NYIOOC were announced last month.

The press con­fer­ence was streamed live for every­body to watch, draw­ing the atten­tion of thou­sands world­wide. Among more than 900 par­tic­i­pants from vir­tu­ally every cor­ner of the olive oil world, 109 pro­duc­ers from Greece show­cased their finest extra vir­gin olive oils and won 35 awards in total, 18 Gold and 17 Silver.

This was a year where our pas­sion­ate com­mit­ment to qual­ity and think­ing out­side of the box had to come into play to over­come the many obsta­cles that were pre­sented to us.- Diamantis and Dino Pierrakos, own­ers of Laconiko

After a dif­fi­cult har­vest sea­son, pro­duc­ers said the awards con­firmed their hard work and com­mit­ment to pro­duc­ing olive oil of high qual­ity no mat­ter the cir­cum­stances.

However, Greek pro­duc­ers won fewer awards than last year, when they took home 55 awards, likely reflect­ing this season’s unfa­vor­able con­di­tions and small yield.

See more: NYIOOC 2019 Special Coverage

Papadopoulos Olive Oil Mill, based near Ancient Olympia, returned home with three prizes, one Gold Award for their Mythocia Olympia PGI Organic medium blend and two Silver Awards for their Mediterre Alea Organic and Mythocia Omphacium made from a del­i­cate Olympia vari­ety.

“Our knowl­edge through edu­ca­tion, our love for the fruit and our pas­sion to pro­duce new fla­vors and rich aro­mas are the three main rea­sons for try­ing hard each year to extract high qual­ity olive oil,” Eva Papadopoulos told Olive Oil Times.

“To be hon­est, NYIOOC is the best olive oil com­pe­ti­tion world­wide, bring­ing together the high­est stan­dards of integrity and pro­fes­sion­al­ism in award­ing medals to the best olive oils from around the globe,” she added.

The com­pany also dared to diver­sify and make olive oil from vari­eties other than Koroneiki, such as Kolireiki, Menoutiana and Mpotsikoelia, which enhanced the organolep­tic char­ac­ter­is­tics of their extra vir­gins.

Papadopoulos also made clear that the sea­son was dif­fi­cult and that the pre­cise cul­ti­va­tion and the “care­ful and cau­tious” pro­duc­tion method enabled them to be suc­cess­ful in the com­pe­ti­tion.

She also said that, start­ing next year, their prod­ucts will be avail­able under the Mediterre brand name, a Swiss com­pany of organic Mediterranean prod­ucts.

Laconiko, from south­ern Greece, stuck with tra­di­tion and tucked away another Gold Award this year for its extra vir­gin made from medium Koroneiki. Diamantis and Dino Pierrakos, the own­ers, were enthu­si­as­tic in describ­ing their win to Olive Oil Times.

“It is the Oscars in the olive oil world, due to the expo­sure, the high stan­dards and qual­ity of the judges it offers,” Pierrakos said.

They noted that this is the sixth con­sec­u­tive year in which they have been rec­og­nized and received an award in the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, but they too had a chal­leng­ing sea­son and many obsta­cles to over­come to be able to present an extra vir­gin olive oil of really high stan­dards.

“This was a year where our pas­sion­ate com­mit­ment to qual­ity and think­ing out­side of the box had to come into play to over­come the many obsta­cles that were pre­sented to us, in not mak­ing a qual­ity olive oil in only a sin­gle batch but mak­ing a qual­ity oil in our over­all pro­duc­tion,” they said.

Mer Des Oliviers De Delphes, from Central Greece, earned a Gold Award for their extra vir­gin olive oil made from a del­i­cate Amfissis vari­ety.

“Our olive oil comes from the Delphi area made from olives of the Amfissis vari­ety. It has a strong, fruity aroma with a soft taste with­out being spicy, and a spe­cial after­taste due to the Delphi land,” they told Olive Oil Times.

Michael Dudek for Liokareas (Oilio LLC)

“We were the first to pro­mote the mono­va­ri­etal olive oil of our area. Our aspi­ra­tion is to put the olive oil from Delphi on the world map of qual­ity olive oils,” they added.

They also had some­thing to say about the NYIOOC and the impor­tance of their prize.

“The last time that we par­tic­i­pated in the NYIOOC was back in 2017 when we won the Silver Award,” they said. “The Gold Award we got now made us very happy, because we know the poten­tial of our olive oil.”

“It is widely known that NYIOOC is the best in the world, and in this sense our award is of great value and recog­ni­tion,” they added. “Being on the Best Olive Oils por­tal is a con­stant pro­mo­tion of our olive oil in the inter­na­tional mar­kets, increas­ing its pres­tige.”

Another com­pany, Oilio from the south of Kalamata, received a Gold Award for their Liokareas Wild extra vir­gin olive oil, a mix of oils made from wild olives and olives of the Koroneiki vari­ety.

“What is inter­est­ing about our com­pany and dif­fer­ent from some of the oth­ers, is that our incred­i­bly strong deter­mi­na­tion and focus on pro­duc­ing high qual­ity olive oil never ends,” Peter Liokareas said.

He also acknowl­edged that this sea­son was pre­car­i­ous and more hard work was required to get olive oil of top qual­ity.

“This year was a dif­fi­cult year for many coun­tries, includ­ing Greece,” Liokareas said. “I was shocked at what I saw when I trav­eled through south­ern Greece, and more specif­i­cally in Messinia and Laconia first in August and then again in October and November.”

“But at the same time, I also felt a great sense of pride for this region of Greece from where we are,” he added. “To see a region that strug­gles so hard eco­nom­i­cally in dif­fi­cult times, not give up on the pro­duc­tion of this great prod­uct that we are known for.”

He then con­tin­ued, “the NYIOOC is the largest com­pe­ti­tion in the world. It may be one of the most dif­fi­cult com­pe­ti­tions to win an award in. For us, it is the most pres­ti­gious.”


 

Comments and feel­ings of win­ners from Greece con­tin­ued to pour in.

For Olympian Green, win­ner of a Gold Award for their extra vir­gin made from Koroneiki olives, the sat­is­fac­tion was immense.

“It is a great honor and we are extremely proud of the award,” Tammy Karambelas, the sales sup­port man­ager, said. “Our mod­ern mill with its hi-​tech machin­ery and the inno­v­a­tive solu­tions we apply have made us pio­neers in the sec­tor of qual­ity olive oil. The prize proves that our atten­tion to the whole pro­duc­tion process from the tree to the shelf is on the right track.”

Hellenic Agricultural Enterprises, from Lesvos, were again on tar­get, receiv­ing a Gold Award for their extra vir­gin olive oil made from Kolovi olives, and now they have expanded their tro­phy case by also win­ning a Silver Award for their organic extra vir­gin.

“We are very excited that our ACAIA and ACAIA organic brands were once again dis­tin­guished at this renowned com­pe­ti­tion,” Ellie Tragakes, the man­ag­ing direc­tor, said. “Every year we work hard to cre­ate olive oils that are of the high­est qual­ity, and this is the fifth year that NYIOOC acknowl­edges our olive oils as being among the best in the world.”

“We will con­tinue to work hard to pro­duce the high­est qual­ity olive oil so that we may also bring recog­ni­tion to Lesvos, our home island in the Aegean,” she added.

Eftychios Androulakis of Pamako spoke about their Gold Award for their mono­va­ri­etal Mountain Bio made from the Tsounati vari­ety.

“The last four years, we have man­aged to make excel­lent olive oils through con­stant exper­i­men­ta­tion,” he said. “We don’t buy olives from any­one else and we don’t put other pro­duc­ers in our line. So it’s extremely dif­fi­cult to pro­duce a great organic extra vir­gin olive oil each year.”

“By exper­i­ment­ing and closely observ­ing how every sea­son is going to end, we choose our next steps and we always pre­pare for the worst-​case sce­nario,” he added. “Even now, we pre­pare for the next sea­son exper­i­ments and new ways of mak­ing a bet­ter olive oil.”



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