Italian Producers Celebrate Quality at the Ercole Olivario Awards

Italian producers from around the country demonstrated their resilience to a tough harvest season at the twenty-seventh edition of the awards ceremony.

The Temple of Hadrian. Venue for the Orii del Lazio awards ceremony.
Apr. 26, 2019
By Ylenia Granitto
The Temple of Hadrian. Venue for the Orii del Lazio awards ceremony.

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The qual­ity of the prod­ucts eval­u­ated dur­ing the twenty-sev­enth edi­tion of the Ercole Olivario was yet another affir­ma­tion of the com­mit­ment and resilience of Italian olive grow­ers to pro­duc­ing high-qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil.

At the end of a tough sea­son, 185 par­tic­i­pants from 17 regions com­peted in the pres­ti­gious com­pe­ti­tion for the best Italian extra vir­gin olive oils, show­ing how their efforts trans­formed into excel­lence.

The high level of qual­ity, not affected by the drop in vol­umes, con­firms the excel­lent char­ac­ter­is­tics of the regional prod­uct.- Pietro Abate, sec­re­tary gen­eral of Unioncamere Lazio

Despite the heavy drop in pro­duc­tion recorded this year, Italy has cho­sen to focus on the enhance­ment of qual­ity,” the orga­niz­ers said dur­ing the award cer­e­mony of the con­test, which bears the name of a Roman tem­ple ded­i­cated to Hercules Olivarius.

Since the first edi­tion in 1993, more than 8,800 labels par­tic­i­pated,” Giorgio Mencaroni, the pres­i­dent of the Chamber of Commerce of Perugia, said.

See Also:Olive Oil Competitions

Perugia’s Chamber of Commerce col­lab­o­rated with the Italian Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Handicrafts and Agriculture, the Italian Chamber System and olive grower orga­ni­za­tions to orga­nize the com­pe­ti­tion.

A national panel com­posed of pro­fes­sional tasters assessed the prod­ucts accord­ing to var­i­ous cat­e­gories, extra vir­gin olive oils and PGIs and PDOs, each of which were divided into light, medium, and intense fruiti­ness.


Special prizes went to the best mono­va­ri­etal and the best organic oil, while the Amphora Olearia award went to the best pack­ag­ing. The Lekythos award, for those com­mit­ted to dis­sem­i­nat­ing knowl­edge on qual­ity olive oil, was given to the Carabineri Colonel Luigi Cortellessa, from the com­mand unit for the agri-food pro­tec­tion.

In all, 16 win­ners cel­e­brated their vic­to­ries on March 30 at the con­gress cen­ter of the Chamber of Commerce of Perugia. Umbrian pro­duc­ers earned four awards, while pro­duc­ers from Trentino, Puglia and Sicily took home two awards each. Producers from Abruzzo, Calabria, Sardinia, Tuscany, Liguria and Lombardy each earned one award.

This is a great reward for our com­mit­ment over the years, and it encour­ages us to do even bet­ter,” Lucia Talotta, of the Oleificio Torchia in Tiriolo, said. The pro­ducer from the province of Catanzaro, in Calabria, won first prize in the medium-fruity extra vir­gin olive oil cat­e­gory, with a blend of Carolea, Coratina and Nocellara.

Fifteen years ago, we added new plants to the main olive grove located on hills at an alti­tude between 600 and 700 meters (1,968 and 2,296 feet),” she added. The idea was to make a great blend. Harvesting on these steep slopes is not always easy, but our hard work has paid off, and in dif­fi­cult sea­sons like the cur­rent one, we are more moti­vated than ever to achieve the high­est level of qual­ity.”

A com­plete list of win­ners of the Ercole Olivario may be found here.

A dis­tinc­tive fea­ture of the national com­pe­ti­tion lies in pre­lim­i­nary regional selec­tions.

Among these is the Orii del Lazio — Capolavori del Gusto’ (Golds of Lazio — Masterpieces of Taste), which was first estab­lished as a ter­ri­to­r­ial selec­tion pro­ce­dure and has gained impor­tance over the years.

A total of 45 labels pro­duced by 38 dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies par­tic­i­pated in this pre­lim­i­nary com­pe­ti­tion. Of these par­tic­i­pants, 10 were cho­sen for the Ercole Olivario awards.

The high level of qual­ity, not affected by the drop in vol­umes, con­firms the excel­lent char­ac­ter­is­tics of the regional prod­uct,” Pietro Abate, the sec­re­tary gen­eral of Unioncamere Lazio, which pro­motes the com­pe­ti­tion, said.

“[More than 200,000 acres of] olives trees and four PDOs give a sense of the impor­tance of the extra vir­gin olive oils within the con­text of of our agri-food prod­ucts,” Lorenzo Tagliavanti, the pres­i­dent of the pres­i­dent of Unioncamere Lazio, said.

The four regional PDOs in this com­pe­ti­tion – Sabina, Canino, Tuscia, and Colline Pontine – each accounted for one cat­e­gory.

The sam­ples were eval­u­ated by a panel of expe­ri­enced tasters at the chem­i­cal lab­o­ra­tory of the Chamber of Commerce of Rome.

Among the var­i­ous recog­ni­tions, spe­cial prizes went to the best mono­va­ri­etal and the best organic oil, the Tonino Zelinotti award went to the best pack­ag­ing, while a recog­ni­tion went to the oil with the high­est con­tent of polyphe­nols and toco­pherols.

Cosmo Di Russo was awarded the best intense fruity Colline Pontine PDO, the best mono­va­ri­etal, and a crit­ics’ award given by jour­nal­ists.

These recog­ni­tions are impor­tant because they con­sti­tute a fur­ther oppor­tu­nity to rep­re­sent our ter­ri­tory,” the pro­ducer from Gaeta said. They make us proud towards our con­sumers, espe­cially those abroad, who are fond of our qual­ity con­nected to our land.”

An expertly processed Itrana gives life to Don Pasquale, which bears the name of Cosmo’s father.

This is a trib­ute to him, who put him­self out there, with energy and pas­sion, in the pur­suit of high-qual­ity, which is our main objec­tive,” Di Russo said.

The win­ners of the com­pe­ti­tion (which may be found here by click­ing on the bot­tom right I vinci­tori 2019 — Categorie”) were announced on March 23 in Rome’s Chamber of Commerce, at the Temple of Hadrian.

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