a Greek olive grove
A Greek olive grove. Courtesy of Goutis Estate.

Although Greek olive farmers faced difficulties due to pests and extreme weather in the past harvest year, many producers that worked hard to compensate for those problems succeeded in making excellent extra virgin olive oil. As a result, Greeks took home 134 awards at the 2019 London International Olive Oil Competition, including 29 percent more Gold awards than the previous year.

In this contest with 433 olive oils from 26 countries, Greeks’ quality awards included 22 Golds, 29 Silvers, and 59 Bronzes, with 21 of those Gold awards and 25 of the Silvers going to the medium intensity Greek extra virgin olive oils (EVOOs) that particularly excelled. The diverse jury of 16 judges from 12 countries also awarded additional prizes to 14 Greek flavored olive oils, while Greek extra virgins captured 10 awards for health benefits, and Greeks won 32 design awards for their package’s total image or its label.

Several of the top Greek winners discussed their achievements with Greek Liquid Gold. Claiming four Golds and two Silvers, Goutis Estate was the top winner from Greece for the second year in a row (and a big winner at other competitions, as well). Goutis Estate Bella Vista, Bitter Gray, Premium, and Metron took home Golds, while their Fresh and Seabreeze received Silvers. Nicolas Lambropoulos considers “the very important distinctions of the last two years discriminations first for our country, Greece, and then for our company, and we are very proud of this.”

At Goutis Estate, Lambropoulos commented, “award winning is not an end in itself. We rather view it as the confirmation of a long, systematic effort by our company and all the parties involved,” starting from olive groves that are mainly in the region of Olympia in Peloponnese. Their multi-awarded, well balanced EVOOs are available at the Hellenic Duty Free Shops at international airports in Greece, and also in Japan and the USA. Next year, they will appear in Brazil, Sweden, Germany, and Switzerland.

Papadopoulos Olive Oil – Mediterre, another company with olive groves around Ancient Olympia, also won multiple awards at both the London International Olive Oil Competition (IOOC) and other competitions. In London, their Mythocia Early Harvest Olympia PGI, Mediterre Alea Organic, and Omphacium EVOOs all received Gold awards, while Mediterre Lena Blend took home a Silver.

Papadopoulos Olive Oil is transitioning to a collaboration with Mediterre International SA. They will begin distributing their products under the name Mediterre in the next harvest year. Eva Papadopoulou assured Greek Liquid Gold that master miller Konstantinos Papadopoulos will continue to oversee the extra virgin olive oil products that will bear his signature. Their team will continue with the careful cultivation, production, and storage practices and the devotion and passion that have brought their products so many distinctions during the past several years. They will continue to produce EVOOs made from both common and unusual olive varieties, helping to promote their region, Elis (Ilia) across the globe.

The top Greek award winner in the category of Infused Olive Oils, Pellas Nature, received Greece’s only Platinum award for Organic Drops Rosemary Olive Oil — the only Platinum a flavored olive oil received at the London IOOC. Pellas Nature also captured a Gold award for Organic Drops Sage Olive Oil, a Silver for Organic Drops Lemon, and a Bronze for Organic Drops Basil. Ioanna Diamanti explained that her team of innovative, highly skilled scientific personnel produces flavored olive oil “using a pioneering production method that gives a new product with a full, fresh taste and a unique aftertaste.” Committed to quality, Pellas Nature cooperates with the University of Athens School of Pharmacy in two innovation and research programs for product improvement and new product development.

Another innovator constantly focused on improvement, Eftychios Androulakis, won a Gold award for his Pamako Organic Premium Blend and a Bronze for Pamako Organic Premium Monovarietal, both noteworthy for featuring the Tsounati olives of Crete that were once considered incapable of producing extra virgin olive oil, the highest grade of olive oil. Androulakis told Greek Liquid Gold he is “really happy and honored to receive our 12th and 13th awards this year.” It is the second year in a row he has received awards at the London IOOC for both of the EVOOs he produces. This “gives us strength” for more hard work, experimentation, and painstaking efforts to produce the most flavorful, healthiest EVOOs he can create.

Also focused on meticulous efforts to achieve excellence in Crete, Terra Creta added another Gold award to an impressive list of prizes for their new product, Terra Creta Grand Cru. Emmanouil Karpadakis mentioned that Terra Creta’s team is “pleased about serious international competitions’ recognition of our continuous efforts to achieve high quality, healthy, tasty products.” In the past year, those efforts included a new production line in their olive mill, ongoing work with a specialized team of farmers advised by their agronomist, and improved harvesting and extraction techniques, all part of the vertical organization of their company.

Western Crete is also home to the only Greek Gold award winner in the Delicate category, Anoskeli SA. Produced in a small village in the foothills of the White Mountains, Anoskeli EVOO honors and promotes the birthplace of the Mamidakis family, the company’s founders. Hundreds of tons of their high quality EVOO reach many countries each year. A family-run business focused on excellent quality, traditional values, sustainable production, and support for their community, Anoskeli SA purchased the village olive mill, then reconstructed it twice, turning it into the modern facility they needed to meet their goals.
Originally published on Greek Liquid Gold: Authentic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (www.greekliquidgold.com). See that site for recipes with olive oil, photos from Greece, agrotourism and food tourism suggestions, and olive oil news and information.

Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oils Capture 134 Awards in London