On June 22, the North American Olive Oil Association hosted an Olive Oil Tasting Fair and Fundraiser for the diabetes education and advocacy organization Beyond Type 1 at the Harvard Club of New York. The international collection of extra virgin olive oils (EVOOs) tasted by American consumers, buyers, and brokers included seven award winning Greek EVOOs.
North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) executive director Joseph Profaci told Greek Liquid Gold he was “extremely pleased with the support we received from the Greek producers and importers for this important event. I felt it turned out to be a Greek-centric event this year.” Moreover, “we received very positive feedback and encouragement to repeat the event next year.”
Evi Prodromou of Yanni’s Olive Grove took the initiative to organize a Greek extra virgin olive oil table that featured EVOOs donated by companies from various parts of Greece: Elawon EVOO from the Peloponnesian peninsula, Konstas EVOO from Attica (around Athens), Pamako EVOO from the southern island of Crete, The Governor EVOO from the western island of Corfu, and Yanni’s Finest EVOO from the northern region of Chalkidiki.
Prodromou explained that this was “the first time five EVOOs from Greece have been presented as one team” at one table at an event like this. “I hope that something like this will be repeated, and as Mr. Profaci said, next year there will be not one, but many more Greek tables. The guests were impressed by this team presentation,” since it gave them “the chance to taste EVOOs from almost every corner of Greece,” including several that have received awards for their health benefits as well as their quality.
The head of the Greek trade office at the Consulate General of Greece in New York, Georgios Michailidis, visited the Greek team’s table and congratulated this “pioneer team.” Prodromou also appreciated the advice on EVOO tasting and presentation that she received from the olive oil judge, consultant, and co-founder of the Extra Virgin Alliance, Alexandra Kicenik Devarenne.
Goutis Estate shared their Greek EVOOs from Peloponnese at another table, while Hellenic Agricultural Enterprises’ Acaia EVOO from Lesbos appeared among award winners that were raffled off. All in all, the event provided a good opportunity for Greek companies to make new American contacts, including buyers from major specialty supermarkets, and for Americans to become acquainted with a range of Greek olive oils.
The Olive Oil Tasting Fair and Fundraiser was conveniently scheduled between the fifth annual Olive Oil Conference co-hosted by the NAOOA and Extra Virgin Olive Oil Savantes, and the Summer Fancy Food Show. The event both enabled buyers and consumers to sample award-winning extra virgin olive oils from around the world and raised money for a worthwhile cause.
Beyond Type 1 is “a nonprofit organization changing what it means to live with diabetes,” according to their website. “Through platforms, programs, resources, and grants, Beyond Type 1 is uniting the global diabetes community and providing solutions to improve lives today. Founded in 2015 with a focus on education, advocacy, and the path to a cure for Type 1 diabetes, Beyond Type 1 has grown to also include programs for those with Type 2 diabetes.”
As Joseph Profaci pointed out, this type of support for Beyond Type 1 was especially appropriate since “olive oil has been shown to be effective in the management of diabetes.” The Olive Wellness Institute has also emphasized that “the Mediterranean diet and Extra Virgin Olive Oil aid in the prevention and management of diabetes.” For example, as Mercacei has reported, a recent Italian study suggests that “seasoning the food with extra virgin olive oil also reduces the glycemic peak after a meal in people with type 1 diabetes.” An earlier study, according to Olive Oil Times, found that “taking three tablespoons of virgin olive oil a day reduces the cardiovascular problems associated with diabetes.”
Of course, in addition to enhancing the flavor of almost any food (including cake and ice cream), olive oil can also benefit people who do not have diabetes. Its phenolic compounds (polyphenols) have antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties, meaning they can help prevent many serious, common diseases and life-threatening events, including heart attacks and strokes. Scientific studies suggest that extra virgin olive oil can help lower triglycerides, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, total blood cholesterol, and “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. There is also evidence that EVOO helps decrease the risk of and/or alleviate depression, skin cancer, osteoporosis, breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Thanks to Evi Prodromou for the photo of her and her husband with Joseph Profaci, and thanks to Bob Bauer, president of the NAOOA, for the photo of the room.
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