At this year’s Anatolian International Olive Oil Competition in Turkey, Greek extra virgin olive oils and Greek flavored olive oils won 21 silver awards, 18 golds, and 2 Monovarietal Best in Class awards (for Pamako, which was also judged Best of Greece, and for Terra Creta). In the second year of this competition, 302 samples were evaluated by 25 judges.
Hailing from the southern island of Crete, Pamako Organic Premium Monovarietal extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) captured three awards: a gold medal, a Monovarietal Best in Class distinction, and the Best of Country Award for Greece. Pamako Organic Premium Blend also took home a gold. Pamako founder Eftychis Androulakis told Greek Liquid Gold he is very proud of these “amazing” awards from “our neighbor country Turkey,” and “very happy to be among the best olive oils in this competition. This gives us strength to make better and better olive oils every year,” which is always the goal of Androulakis’s never-ending experimentation with a variety of techniques and his own inventions.
Androulakis is also proud to capture new honors for the native Cretan Tsounati olives used to make Pamako’s monovarietal EVOO and Pamako’s blend. As Androulakis explains, Tsounati “is one of the oldest varieties in the EU, for many centuries the main variety in western Crete” and an essential element in the famously healthy Cretan diet. “For generations and generations, olive oil of this variety was used in cooking, and Tsounati olives were eaten,” making them central to the island’s food culture. “Even now,” adds Androulakis, “many chefs cook and create with this variety, using our olive oil to create new culinary experiences with creative new dishes. I am always happy to see our olive oil used by chefs all around the world.”
Another Monovarietal Best of Class award, as well as a gold award, went to Terra Creta Grand Cru Koroneiki EVOO, which also comes from Crete. As Terra Creta’s olive oil innovation and area exports manager Emmanouil Karpadakis says, the Grand Cru’s “quality characteristics are influenced by the Cretan natural environment and heritage, and also by the application of a scientific approach throughout the harvesting and production chain. The producers and teams of farmers who work with our agronomists throughout the year play a significant role in our success, and of course they benefit from this cooperation as well.” Terra Creta values both the people who work with the company, and the land that yields liquid gold.
Karpadakis believes excellent olive oil is especially valuable for the people of the world at this particular time since consumers are very conscious of the importance of “food safety, authenticity, and health benefits, and proven quality inspires trust. We believe that it’s time to work in the direction of recognizing and establishing high quality EVOO as a protagonist in our everyday diet, for both consumers and gastronomy professionals.” Terra Creta’s production of large quantities of excellent extra virgin olive oil helps enable more chefs and consumers to embrace this wonderful product.
Sakellaropoulos Organic Farms is also devoted to the production of high quality, healthy olive oil products. This family business is based in the area of Sparta, Laconia in Peloponnese, where olives have been “bound with local culture, cuisine and history since ancient times,” according to Nick Sakellaropoulos. Winning 4 golds and 11 silvers at the Anatolian IOOC, the company has once again broken their own world record, becoming the first Greek olive oil producer to win 15 awards for all 15 of their entries at a single competition.
Sakellaropoulos Organic Farms won gold medals for four of their unique flavored olive oils, including Treasure Blend, which combines the single estate oils of Koroneiki, Athinoelia, Koutsouroelia, Kalamata and Mourtoelia olives with flavors from four peppers (Sichuan, Bourbon, Pink, and Grains of Paradise), plus lime and lemongrass. Noteworthy silver medals for flavor and quality went to their new Plus Health Blue Multivarietal EVOO and Plus Health Green Multivarietal EVOO, particularly healthy high phenolic blends of extra virgin olive oils extracted from 5 different olive varieties using “extremely specialized extraction and production” techniques, as Sakellaropoulos told Greek Liquid Gold.
At this young international olive oil competition, the judges recognized the high quality of oils from a number of well-established Greek olive oil companies. Produced throughout Greece—from Peloponnese to Lesvos, and from Crete to Thrace—Greek extra virgin and flavored olive oils took home prizes for especially high quality even in this very challenging crop year.
Originally published on Greek Liquid Gold: Authentic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (greekliquidgold.com). Visit the site for recipes with olive oil, photos from Greece, agrotourism and food tourism suggestions, and olive oil news and information.