Africa / Middle East
With 18 Golds and 10 Silvers, Turkish producers walked away with more awards at the world's most prestigious olive oil quality competition this year than ever before.
Turkish producers had their best year yet at the 2020 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, earning 28 awards.
Producers from the world’s fifth-largest olive oil producing country won a record-high 18 Gold Awards – as many Turkish Golds as in the four previous contests combined – and 10 Silver Awards.
It is an honor to be one of the many winning producers from Turkey, and we are excited to see the growing recognition of Turkish olive oil on the world stage.
The country’s two biggest winners, the Granpa and Mavras Zeytincilik brands, were among those that entered the competition for the first time.See more: The Best Olive Oils From Turkey
Müge Aşkın is the sales manager of the Tokuç Group, which produces Granpa olive oils. The Istanbul-based company earned two Gold Awards for medium Trilye oils and a Silver for a delicate Trilye.
Aşkın told Olive Oil Times that Granpa started producing olive oil in 2018, having saved olive trees from the country’s mining areas and moved them to their 17,000-tree olive grove.
She said it was evident that Turkish producers were becoming increasingly motivated to participate in international competitions. Aşkın added that since news of Granpa’s excellent results at the NYIOOC had gotten out, the company has received calls from existing and prospective customers.
“The NYIOOC will be our top priority next year,” she said.
The other big winner this year was the Mavras Olive Oil Company, which won two Golds and one Silver Award for their Edremit oils.
“This is the first time we are taking part in the NYIOOC,” CEO Melike As told Olive Oil Times. “Of course, we are very happy to win two Golds and one Silver Award for olive oils that were extracted from our different groves.”
She attributed the victory to their hands-on management during the production process and the company’s new state-of-the-art mill, situated near the groves on the slopes of Mount İda.
Several hundred miles south of Mount İda, Gizem Çetintürk, the co-owner of Eliada Gida Tarim Kozmetik Ithalat Ihracat, was yet another first-time entrant celebrating a big win at the NYIOOC.
She said receiving a Silver Award for the company’s delicate Arbosana in its first year of production was very meaningful for the fledgling company.
“It’s our first oil in the first year of production, so it’s a great feeling to be awarded at the NYIOOC and a great start that shows us we are going in the right direction,” Çetintürk told Olive Oil Times.
She added that Eliada’s goal is to be a sought-after and trusted brand for health-conscious consumers and winning awards from the NYIOOC was a big step in the right direction for them.
Çetintürk attributed the company’s victory to their passion and determination.
Company co-owner Tarkan Karakaya told Olive Oil Times that he was very proud of being awarded at the NYIOOC, adding that their pursuit of perfection had brought them this great success.
Meanwhile, Hiç founder Duygu Elakdar credited her company’s Silver Award-winning organic medium Ayvalik to the consistency of the product’s flavor as well as to their single-estate organic olive forest. She added that investing in a new mill had allowed the company to harvest and transform their olives more quickly, better preserving their aromas and flavors.
“We are proud to be the pioneers of our region by achieving this award,” Elakdar said. “It means a lot because we are the biggest organic-certified olive forest in Urla.”
Merve Doran, the owner of the another victorious southwestern producer, Oleamea, said her company was also very proud of receiving a Gold and a Silver Award for their organic medium Memeciks at the competition.
“It is an honor to be one of the many winning producers from Turkey, and we are excited to see the growing recognition of Turkish olive oil on the world stage,” Doran said.
“Although environmental and current global conditions continue to pose significant challenges, we continue to strive for continuous quality improvement and adapt our model where possible,” she added.
Oleamea sources their olives from organic producers in the country’s Aegean region.
Just south of the Aegean region, in Fethiye, the producer of the Sidyma brand earned a Gold Award for their medium blend.
“We are very proud of having received a Gold Award at the NYIOOC this year,” the company’s managing director Sergül Yücekök said. “We have worked tirelessly to achieve a truly unique olive oil and are delighted to be sharing our achievement with our customers and colleagues.
Yücekök added that part of what makes Sidyma stand out is its extraordinarily high levels of polyphenols and said he believes that the company’s success comes from the research and know-how that is put into their olive oil production.