By Lisa Radinovsky
LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition award winners have been announced. The 2017 competition judged 600 olive oils from 369 producers in 18 countries. Twenty-one Greek extra virgin olive oils won quality or design awards, even in this difficult harvest year. The complete list of Greek awards follows the top winners’ comments, Greek Liquid Gold: Authentic Extra Virgin Olive Oil reports.
Oliorama was the most successful of the Greek winners in Los Angeles this year, with a gold medal for Oliorama Exclusive Olympia IGP (PGI, Protected Geographical Indication), a delicate organic extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), as well as a bronze medal for the conventionally produced Oliorama Exclusive Olympia IGP or PGI, another delicate EVOO.
Oliorama’s Maria Spiliakopoulou told Greek Liquid Gold that her company “takes part in as many competitions as we can in different countries” in order to make consumers more aware of their products. However, “first of all we do our best to have healthy fruit,” following scientists’ advice about the olive groves’ needs and harvesting olives and extracting their oil carefully, since “every single step is equally important.”
Overall, Spiliakopoulou emphasizes, “we insist on quality, no matter what. This is the future for Greek extra virgin olive oil. I know it is hard and depends on various factors, but actually this is the only way. Greek extra virgin olive oil deserves it.”
Hellenic Agricultural Enterprises also did very well at this competition, capturing silver medals for Acaia and Aeolian Olive, both medium intensity Kolovi EVOOs from Lesvos. As Yorkis Kyvellos told Greek Liquid Gold, “the rare Kolovi olive native to Lesvos is not well known outside Greece, including by many competition judges. We hope our continued participation in the major competitions will contribute to making it an integral part of the short list of varieties from which the best oils can be extracted.”
Crediting hard work by a dedicated team that spares “no effort or attention whenever we have to intervene” in “nature’s ways,” Kyvellos expressed extra satisfaction this year since their new brand, Aeolian Olive, “received a silver award for its maiden outing,” and because the medals confirm that “despite very adverse harvest conditions” this year, “we are capable of maintaining the outstanding quality of our oils.”
Jordan Olivenoel took home a silver medal for their medium intensity organic Bio-Olivenoel, Natives Extra and a bronze medal for the conventional version, Natives Extra. Currently, this olive oil is mainly sold in Germany, homeland of grandparents that immigrated to Greece in the 1980s.
Now married to a Greek woman, Bastian Jordan told Greek Liquid Gold he is focused on continuous improvement of sustainability and quality. In fact, he calls himself a Qualitarian (not a vegetarian, who might use products made with unhealthy palm oil), since he focuses on harvesting “at the right moment of the perfect ripening point,” processing the olives quickly, and making “sure that the olive groves are maintained well.”
Panayiotis Skopeteas’ brand-new Immortalitas olive oil, a medium intensity Koroneiki from Messinia, won a gold medal in the Packaging Design competition for Art/Illustration, earning praise for the “use of original illustration as the driving element of the package design.” Skopeteas told Greek Liquid Gold he was aiming for “an ideal combination” of “visual art with the art of oil production” with the help of “the great artist Fikos, an unsurpassed talent.”
Fikos—an artist, not a graphic designer--explained that he has always admired “ancient Greek art, especially the red-figure style on vases. My art is also based on the ancient Greek-Byzantine tradition, so I wanted to combine those and give the bottle the sense that it is something that has just been discovered on an archaeological excavation.”
Skopeteas added that with the olive oil Immortalitas he “would like to disseminate a special message … that the sense of Immortality characterizes all people who still dream despite their adversities … who still envision despite their underminers,” and also “the message of the Immortality of our homeland Greece” and its values.
Read the Complete List of the 21 Greek Winners at the Los Angeles IOOC at Greek Liquid Gold: Authentic Extra Virgin Olive Oil