'Leone d’Oro' Celebrates Women in Agriculture

The 27th Leone d'Oro dei Mastri Oleari concluded with an award ceremony on Lake Garda.

Maria Paola Gabusi and some winners of the Leone dOro
By Ylenia Granitto
Jun. 4, 2018 10:43 UTC
Maria Paola Gabusi and some winners of the Leone dOro

The 27th edi­tion of the Leone d’Oro dei Mastri Oleari cul­mi­nated in an event on Lake Garda on May 12. The awards cer­e­mony which con­cluded the inter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion took place at O’Live & Italy in Toscolano Maderno, in the shad­ows of cen­turies-old olive trees sur­round­ing the head­quar­ters of the asso­ci­a­tion chaired by Maria Paola Gabusi, ded­i­cated to the pro­mo­tion of the cul­ture of extra vir­gin olive oil.

During the event, the oils admit­ted to the com­pe­ti­tion were put at the dis­posal of par­tic­i­pants and guided tast­ings were con­ducted to show buy­ers, jour­nal­ists, social media influ­encers and enthu­si­asts the sen­so­r­ial prop­er­ties of the award-win­ning extra vir­gin olive oils.

A panel of expe­ri­enced tasters eval­u­ated 260 entries from Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Croatia, Slovenia, California and Brazil. The win­ners were clas­si­fied into seven cat­e­gories includ­ing Italian Monovarietal, International Monovarietal, Italian Blend, International Blend, Italian Organic, International Organic and Small Italian pro­duc­ers.

The reg­u­la­tion pro­vided for a max­i­mum of ten final­ists for each cat­e­gory of which the first three were awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze medals.

See Also:Leone d’Oro dei Mastri Oleari Finalists and Winners

Four spe­cial prizes were added to the con­ven­tional cat­e­gories. I devised new awards for this edi­tion of the con­test, and then I intro­duced spe­cial juries in addi­tion to the tra­di­tional panel of pro­fes­sional tasters,” explained the pres­i­dent of the con­test, Maria Paola Gabusi.

The Leone d’Oro Kids award was given by fourth-graders. After a brief intro ses­sion on olive oil cul­ture, we com­pared high-qual­ity and low-qual­ity oils. Then the chil­dren tasted the oils in com­pe­ti­tion and filled out the form. It was grat­i­fy­ing and excit­ing to see their com­mit­ment to the eval­u­a­tion of the sam­ples and their inter­est in this new adven­ture,” she said.

The Leone d’Oro Social was awarded by a jury of tasters selected among blog­gers and social media influ­encers who, after an intro­duc­tion to the tast­ing tech­nique, chose another high-qual­ity prod­uct. This was an orig­i­nal way to share the pas­sion for extra vir­gin olive oil and spread it through the social media,” Gabusi noted, adding that the Leone d’Oro Best Packaging was awarded by a jury of design­ers, pho­tog­ra­phers, illus­tra­tors, adver­tis­ers and artists.

The attrac­tive bot­tle of Vernèra’s extra vir­gin olive oil Le terre di Vito won the cat­e­gory. We are so glad about this award which rec­og­nizes the atten­tion we paid to each detail of our prod­ucts,” said Tania Spanò, who man­ages some olive groves in the ter­ri­tory of Buccheri in the province of Siracusa with her sis­ter Maria Grazia and her brother Gaetano. The sea­son was great and the good weather con­di­tions helped us to obtain an excel­lent oil from our plants of Tonda Iblea, Biancolilla and Moresca.”

The nov­elty in the com­pe­ti­tion was the First Female Heroic Agriculture Award. It was a trib­ute to all women who suc­ceeded against the odds and chal­lenged pre­con­cep­tions, turn­ing their lives around and becom­ing pas­sion­ate pro­duc­ers of extra vir­gin olive oil,” the orga­nizer said. We received sto­ries of courage, fear, chal­lenges and choices made by women. This was a reward for the nar­ra­tion and for once the oil bows to the words.”

The win­ner of the cat­e­gory was Claudia Morace, who pro­duces the Olio dei Tatanni in Panzano in Chianti.

I was not born to a peas­ant fam­ily, but I love nature. I am a daugh­ter of the sea and the woods. Born in the imme­di­ate post-war period, from a Neapolitan father and an Austrian mother…” Thus began her touch­ing story and you can read the rest of it here, along with the oth­ers.


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