In Commonwealth nations on both sides of the Atlantic, Greek olive oils were honored recently for their high quality and health benefits. At the London International Olive Oil Competition (IOOC), Greek olive oils captured 211 awards, far more than any of the 32 other countries winning prizes. At the Canada IOOC, Greeks also came out ahead with 66 awards.
In London, 28 judges from 13 countries determined which olive oils deserved quality awards. Out of a total of 52 platinum prizes – the highest level of awards at the London IOOC – 17 went to Greek companies. In Montreal, Canada, 15 judges from 9 countries bestowed 8 of the competition’s 17 platinum awards on Greek olive oils.
With a 100% success rate – prizes for every olive oil entered – Sakellaropoulos Organic Farms claimed the largest number of awards for a Greek olive oil company at these competitions: 5 platinums, 5 golds, and 5 silvers for their unique flavored olive oils and extra virgin olive oils at the Canada IOOC, and 4 platinums, 6 golds, and 5 silvers in London. Traveling both across Europe and over the Atlantic Ocean, many of their gourmet olive oils received scores above 96%. The company has now earned more than 555 awards for their olive products, with each competition enabling them to break the new records they set.
As Nick Sakellaropoulos explained to Greek Liquid Gold, “all of our olive oils originate from our own organic farms” in Sparta, Laconia. This family business mainly works with Koroneiki variety olives, “but for the flavored olive oils we create blends with other varieties as well, such as Athinoelia, Kalamon and Koutsouroelia.” Their flavored oils feature surprising ingredient combinations and strikingly unique flavors. For example, their Treasure blend contains oil from 5 different olive varieties, 4 types of peppers, lime, and lemongrass.
Mediterre Eurofood’s extra virgin olive oils and flavored olive oils were also honored at the London IOOC, where they earned 2 platinums, 6 golds, and a silver award. Konstantinos Papadopoulos is particularly proud of their “most award-winning product, Mediterre Omphacium Organic, which is made from the Olympia variety,” as he says. This little-known type of olives is grown only around the popular archaeological site of Ancient Olympia. Papadopoulos encourages visitors to Greece to enjoy the unique flavors of Greek cuisine and “explore even the rarest olive oil varieties.”
Papadopoulos emphasizes his team’s focus on “careful study and precise technical and strategic evaluations,” always aiming for the “utmost perfection in the final product,” including the health benefits that are particularly important as “our planet faces so many issues.” Looking toward this autumn’s harvest, the team at Mediterre continues to monitor their olive groves “with dedication, hoping to produce even better olive oils” each year.
The G-TEAM added to their long list of awards with 2 platinum Health Claim awards at the London IOOC and 2 gold Quality awards in Canada for 4 different HYPERELEON® extra virgin olive oils (Ultra Gold, Gold, Green, and Nutri-Arcadian Mountains). Created with great respect for both tradition and the latest scientific research and technology, their products are all organic early harvest olive oils with natural sedimentation instead of filtering.
Stressed by summer droughts and cold winters, the G-TEAM’s Olympia and Athinolia variety olives naturally yield olive oils very high in the phenolic compounds that scientific studies have associated with a variety of significant health benefits. The G-TEAM takes great care to preserve these valuable compounds at all stages of the cultivation, production, and storage processes.
Also taking great care with both plants and processes, Pellas Nature took home a platinum, gold, and silver award from each competition, plus an additional gold from Canada. Ioanna Diamanti is especially proud of their multi-awarded Organic Drops Lemon organic olive oil and Pellas Nature Lemon olive oil. As she told Greek Liquid Gold, “a special lemon variety and a carefully selected premium olive oil, along with an innovative natural infusion process, give our product a fresh flavor, a full taste, a unique aftertaste, and a long shelf life.”
Pellas Nature’s products are part of what Diamanti refers to as Greece’s “unique food culture: healthy and flavorful ingredients with high nutritional value in simple recipes. Dishes cooked with olive oil and a lot of vegetables. Friends and family eating together, discussing vividly, and having fun, tightening their relationship. This year Greek cuisine earned a distinguished position (second on the list) on the Taste Atlas scoreboard, based on over 100,000 user ratings. To experience Greece, a visitor should experience Greek cuisine and the crown on top of it, the extra virgin olive oil, the ‘Greek Liquid Gold.’”
The Olive Temple team is ready to welcome visitors who seek such an experience. With the motto “Explore the land, experience the products,” they welcome guests to a new temple in the area of ancient Olympia, where they can explore the traditional flavor of typical Greek products such as the Karabelas family’s own olive oil, olives, and wines. This was the next step for the family that created the popular Agriturismo Magna Grecia, which has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors since 2008.
Now tourists who come to Ancient Olympia can also see the state-of-the-art olive mill in The Olive Temple and learn about the family’s devotion to high quality and sustainability. Visitors can choose from olive oil and wine tours and tastings, with options of olive oil soap making and a lunch featuring traditional recipes and a dance performance. This way, “ambassadors” from across the globe come to appreciate award-winning Greek extra virgin olive oil such as platinum prize winners Laurel & Flame Olympia PGI and Olympian Myth Koroneiki.
As travelers resume their quest for adventure, relaxation, and great tastes as well as safety and health in the face of the struggles of our time, Greek olive oil producers welcome the chance to share their flavorful, nutritious products with people from across the globe.
This article was previously published on Greek Liquid Gold: Authentic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (greekliquidgold.com). See site for recipes with olive oil, photos from Greece, agrotourism and food tourism suggestions, and olive oil news and information.