Greek companies captured 10 Extra Gold medals and 13 Golds at the BIOL International Prize in Italy. Many consider BIOL the world’s most important international competition for organic extra virgin olive oils. Prize-winning organic oils from several olive varieties and various parts of Greece demonstrated Greeks’ commitment to both quality and our planet.
After 42 judges from 14 countries considered 500 entries from 18 nations, several of the top Greek winners discussed with Greek Liquid Gold their dedication to both excellence and sustainable organic olive cultivation.
Valia Kelidou is celebrating the two Extra Gold medals her family’s Kyklopas (Cyclops) company took home for their Makris variety organic extra virgin olive oils (EVOOs). Designated Best Olive Oil of Greece, their limited edition Ages EVOO is made from olives that are grown in a centuries-old grove, then harvested early by hand, with their oil extracted within just 90 minutes of harvest. In addition to their long list of awards, Kelidou is proud that her family’s olive oils have the new Elaiolado Makris Protected Designation of Origin (PDO).
Kelidou explained that her team uses organic methods to cultivate many of their olive trees in Thrace, northeastern Greece. Moreover, the Kyklopas olive mill demonstrates “a great ecological consciousness, as we recycle all the olive products.” Now, Kelidou suggests, “the whole world community must turn to organic farming” since “proper organic nutrition is essential for a strong, healthy body.”
Back in the 1980s, Fritz and Burgi Bläuel, founders of Friedrich Bläuel & Co. Ltd., helped bring organic olive cultivation to Greece. Their colleague Silvia Lazzari asserts that “certified organic farming is an expression of appreciation for nature and the environment. Through responsible usage of precious resources, sustainable processing, and largely local sourcing of raw materials, we contribute to the preservation of the cultural landscape of Greece, minimizing the environmental footprint of the company.”
Capturing one Extra Gold and two Gold medals for their Koroneiki variety extra virgin olive oils from southern Greece, the team at Friedrich Bläuel & Co. is “very proud of our consistently good performances at BIOL over the years,” according to Lazzari. She believes a “working culture of partnership and respectful cooperation contributes to our success”; so do their “efforts to have the highest possible product quality” and preserve it “through ideal storage conditions.”
As Kostas Protoulis told Greek Liquid Gold, the team at Rafteli Protouli M & Co believes “it is our obligation to produce organic products of exceptional quality, as in the coming years they will play a leading role in the human diet.” Earning Extra Gold and Gold medals, this company works mainly with Kolovi olives that grow among wild herbs on the Aegean island of Lesvos. Their team keeps up with the latest scientific research on olive oil production. The company also recently invested in “the complete renovation of the production area as well as the complete modernization of the oil extraction machines in order to increase the efficiency and further improve the quality of our product.”
Theodoros Koutsotheodoris, winner of an Extra Gold for his Olive Poem EVOO, similarly emphasizes the importance of carefully managing the entire process of olive oil creation. In his case, he explained, “controlling all the steps from the preservation of the specific DNA of the trees and their natural organic agriculture, to high-end olive oil production, storage and bottling, leads to a unique product. A natural poem of laconic land.” That poem is a single-estate olive oil made from Koroneiki and Myrtoelia olives grown in the hills of Laconia, Peloponnese, just 20 kilometers from the sea. Koutsotheodoris strongly believes “that the world should change and show more respect for the environment. In the food sector this is even more urgent, as it directly affects our lives.”
Likewise, Emmanouil Karpadakis of Terra Creta points out that his company participates in the BIOL competition “because we believe in certified organic products, and we support organic cultivation.” Why did Terra Creta’s Koroneiki monovarietal Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil from the Chania area in Crete earn an Extra Gold medal and designation as another example of the Best Olive Oil of Greece? Karpadakis credits a “clear vision, commitment, investment in people and infrastructure, and a lot of work” for his team’s success.
Since “the demand for certified organic EVOO has increased during the pandemic,” adds Karpadakis, “we see great potential for the future.” The Terra Creta team is so concerned about our planet that they go beyond avoiding pesticides: they do not plow their olive groves (which could increase soil erosion); nor do they burn the branches after pruning (which would pollute the air and waste potentially useful material). The company’s motto is “Life in balance”—for both humanity and nature.
Greek BIOL Winners, 2021
From a list available via the BIOL site
- Terra Creta S.A. — Terra Creta Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Kyklopas Elaiotriveio Argyri Kelidi S.A. — Kyklopas Ages Organic
- Friedrich Blauel & Co. Ltd. — Migros Bio Griechisches Olivenöl
- Kolympari S.A. — Rapunzel Olivenöl PGI Chania Kritis
- Kyklopas Elaiotriveio Argyri Kelidi S.A. — Kyklopas Organic
- Mediterre Eurofood A.E. — Mediterre Omphacium Organic
- Mediterre Eurofood A.E. — Mediterre Olymp PGI Organic
- Mediterre Eurofood A.E. — Mediterre Alea Organic
- Olive Poem — Olive Poem
- Rafteli Protouli M & Co — Aegaea Organic
- Anoskeli S.A. — Bio Anoskeli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Argali Greek Organic Olive Oil — Argali
- Centaurs Olive Groves — Centaurs Olive Groves
- Eliris Oive Oil — Eliris Extraordinary Olive Oil
- Epikorous Organic Products Ltd. — Epikouros Extra Virgin Olive Oil Demeter
- Epikorous Organic Products Ltd. — Epikouros Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Exquisite Greek Gastronomy — Go Slow Olive Oil
- Friedrich Blauel & Co. Ltd. — Lapas Organic Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Friedrich Blauel & Co. Ltd. — Mani Organic Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Hellenic Fields Ltd. — Ena Ena Organic PGI Olympia
- Kidonakis Bros G.P. — Collection Early Harvest
- Kidonakis Bros G.P. — Oleum Crete Bio PDO Messara
- Rafteli Protouli M & Co — Aegean Gold Bio PGI Lesvos
Thanks to the companies for the photos used with this article.
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(This story was originally published on Greek Liquid Gold: Authentic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (greekliquidgold.com). See that site for recipes with olive oil, photos from Greece, and olive oil news and information.)