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More Greek Winners Reflect on Their NYIOOC Awards

Greek producers like these NYIOOC winners have studied modern olive oil production methods and engaged in the persistent efforts necessary to make some of the world's best olive oils.

May. 10, 2018
By Lisa Radinovsky

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This year, Greek extra vir­gin olive oils (EVOOs) cap­tured 31 Gold Awards and 23 Sil­vers in a tough com­pe­ti­tion among an aston­ish­ing 1,000 entries from 27 coun­tries at the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Com­pe­ti­tion (NYIOOC). Sev­eral of the top Greek win­ners dis­cussed what their awards meant to them and how they man­aged to pro­duce such excel­lent EVOOs, show­cas­ing the mer­its of a num­ber of dif­fer­ent Greek cul­ti­vars.

It was my first year using a mod­ern cold press facil­ity. And the stel­lar results show it. It’s a dif­fer­ent EVOO – there’s no going back now.- Kon­stan­tin N. Kokko­lis, Antheion

The lead­ing Greek win­ner at the 2018 NYIOOC was Papadopou­los Olive Oil Mill, which took home four Gold Awards and one Sil­ver. Kon­stan­ti­nos Papadopou­los told Olive Oil Times that he and his team feel proud and happy about achiev­ing our goals.” He explained this year’s phe­nom­e­nal suc­cess as the result of lessons learned dur­ing the pre­vi­ous really dif­fi­cult year,” when bad weather reduced the qual­ity and the quan­tity in Greece.” Their response: per­sis­tence and care­ful atten­tion to detail, focus­ing on the best meth­ods of cul­ti­va­tion and pro­duc­tion in our olive oil mill, result­ing in one of the high­est qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oils world­wide.”
See more: The Best Olive Oils from Greece
Papadopou­los Olive Oil Mill won Golds for Mytho­cia Chef’s Exclu­sive and Mytho­cia Olympia PGI and a Sil­ver for Mytho­cia Olympia PGI Organic — all medium inten­sity Koroneiki EVOOs — plus two more Golds for Omphacium (robust inten­sity) and Omphacium Organic (medium inten­sity) from the less com­mon Olympia vari­ety (also known as Nemoutiana, but renamed for their unique loca­tion near ancient Olympia).

Papadopou­los was pleased that his com­pany had suc­ceeded in bring­ing to light the qual­ity char­ac­ter­is­tics of our region, ancient Olympia. It is some­thing that we have been try­ing to do for many years.” They entered more EVOOs in the NYIOOC than in any other com­pe­ti­tion this year, seek­ing recog­ni­tion of our prod­ucts with the guar­an­tee of this most rec­og­nized com­pe­ti­tion.”

The team at Olio­rama also pays care­ful atten­tion to all stages of pro­duc­tion, with no com­pro­mise on qual­ity,” demon­strat­ing ded­i­ca­tion and per­sis­tence to reach our ulti­mate goal to be amongst the best in the world,” accord­ing to Maria Spili­akopoulou. The result: two Gold Awards at the NYIOOC, one for Olio­rama Exclu­sive PGI Olympia, a medium inten­sity Koroneiki, and another for the organic ver­sion, Olio­rama Exclu­sive Bio PGI Olympia.

Another olive oil pro­ducer from the region of ancient Olympia, George Goutis, pointed out that when you try hard, you look for recog­ni­tion among the best.” He got it with a Gold Award for Goutis Estate Bit­ter Gray, a medium inten­sity Nemoutiana, and a Sil­ver for Goutis Estate Fresh, a medium inten­sity Koroneiki. Goutis described a bet he made with a friend who worked as a phar­ma­cist in Ger­many and decided to return to his moth­er­land, Greece and try mak­ing a good wine.” His friend man­aged to pro­duce one of the best wines in Greece.” Goutis bet that he could pro­duce one of the best EVOOs in Greece and — why not — around the world. I think that we both won the bet.”

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Representatives from Papadopoulos Olive Oil Mill and freinds at NYIOOC2018

Dim­itris Tsarpalis’s par­ents lacked such aspi­ra­tions, sim­ply pro­duc­ing the family’s olive oil in the tra­di­tional way. It was up to their son to learn the mod­ern meth­ods that yield higher qual­ity, and then con­vince the most open-minded farm­ers of Sparta to try new things. There’s a never-end­ing story, each time, to con­vince them to do it this way: don’t use sacks, use bas­kets; don’t leave it until tomor­row, no mat­ter how tired you are; go to the mill the same day.” And har­vest at the begin­ning of Octo­ber, as soon as the nearby mill opens, to max­i­mize the healthy phe­no­lic con­tent. Finally, the farm­ers agreed, with impres­sive results: most recently, Gold Awards at NYIOOC for Sparta Groves EVOO, a medium inten­sity Athi­no­lia, and Sparta Groves Organic, a del­i­cate Athi­no­lia.

This was the result of count­less hours of plan­ning and hard work. Need­less to say, I am both excited and hon­ored,” said Kon­stan­tin N. Kokko­lis on his web­site. The pro­ducer from Kefalo­nia who won a Gold Award for his Antheion brand added, To be hon­est, it was my first year using a mod­ern cold press facil­ity. And the stel­lar results show it. It’s a dif­fer­ent EVOO — there’s no going back now. The olive in Kefalo­nia has a lot of poten­tial, and I believe this poten­tial is being reached and can get even bet­ter.”

Con­sid­er­ing her­self an olive farmer more than an exporter, Evi Psounou Pro­dro­mou of Yanni’s Olive Grove has also learned all about mod­ern meth­ods. She believes the best EVOO comes from pro­duc­ers who love their work, fol­low the Inter­na­tional Olive Council’s rules, and try to be hon­est.”

Win­ning a Gold Award for Yanni’s Finest, a medium inten­sity Wild Chalkidiki EVOO, and a Sil­ver for Yanni’s Fam­ily, a medium Galani of Chalkidiki, at the world’s biggest olive oil com­pe­ti­tion, Pro­droumou said they felt like they were at the top of the world, and my hus­band Yan­nis said with a huge smile, I am the king of the world,’ like DiCaprio in the Titanic.”

With a Gold Award for his Pamako Mono­va­ri­etal Moun­tain Bio, a medium inten­sity Tsounati (Athi­no­lia), Efty­chios Androulakis is also proud to see his Cre­tan Tsounati among the best olive oils of the world. This used to be a vari­ety that every­body thought can’t even pro­duce extra vir­gin,” he told us, espe­cially in one of the worst years in Cre­tan olive oil,” due to weather and insect prob­lems. We over­came this.”

For four years, Androulakis has been climb­ing his huge, remote moun­tain trees to har­vest their olives, then con­duct­ing exper­i­ments with refrig­er­a­tion of olives before milling, removal of their pits, use of argon gas, and much more.

NYIOOC2018

Win­ning NYIOOC Gold Awards three years in a row, this time for the medium inten­sity Kolovi ACAIA Organic, Ellie Tra­gakes said her team at Hel­lenic Agri­cul­tural Enter­prises is pleased to have helped pro­vide the Kolovi olive vari­ety native to Lesvos the inter­na­tional recog­ni­tion and appre­ci­a­tion it deserves,” as their efforts to pro­duce high­est qual­ity olive oils are con­sis­tently rec­og­nized by this pres­ti­gious com­pe­ti­tion.”

Ioan­nis Kam­pouris of Ela­won, pro­ducer of Gold Award-win­ning Ela­won Green Fresh, a medium inten­sity Athi­no­lia, seemed to echo oth­ers in say­ing these medals give us life” and make us want to work harder.”

As Kam­pouris com­mented, many a Greeks claim the world’s best olive oil comes from their own vil­lage (or region or olive vari­ety). In recent years, care­ful Greek pro­duc­ers like these NYIOOC win­ners have stud­ied mod­ern olive oil pro­duc­tion meth­ods and engaged in the seri­ous, per­sis­tent efforts nec­es­sary for claims about being one of the best to have merit for more than one vari­ety, vil­lage, and region in Greece.


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