At the 27th edition of the BIOL International Prize, Greek organic extra virgin olive oils were awarded 4 extra gold medals and 11 golds. Many consider BIOL the largest, most important contest dedicated to organic olive oil. This year, 500 olive oils from 18 countries were judged by 30 experts from 12 nations. Mediterre Eurofood was the top Greek winner.
At this competition based in Italy, Mediterre Eurofood captured two extra gold medals and one gold for their organic extra virgin olive oils (EVOOs). These EVOOs were extracted from Olympia, Koroneiki and Kolireiki variety olives grown in the area around Ancient Olympia in the Peloponnese peninsula. Konstantinos Papadopoulos explains that his company entered the BIOL competition “because it concerns only organic EVOOs. In order to have a sustainable future, especially in the primary sector, we must protect the environment. Our philosophy as a company is directed toward organic harvesting.” For that reason, their next investments will focus on reducing their company’s environmental footprint.
Papadopoulos adds that their award-winning olive oils “are the result of careful study and precise technical and strategic evaluations, always aiming for utmost perfection in the final product. Furthermore, our team’s passion and devotion to their work and to the olive oil combined with high expertise and constant research lead to such success. Each and every one of us loves what we do at Mediterre Eurofood, and this is reflected in our final products.”
To the south in Crete, Emmanouil Karpadakis attributes Terra Creta’s ongoing success to their team’s “dedication to quality, innovation, transparency, and respect for the product,” which involves “implementing sustainable practices and a smooth collaboration between teams of farmers and Terra Creta experts.” Terra Creta took home an extra gold medal for Terra Creta Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which is made from 100% Koroneiki olives “produced on the island of Crete and extracted in the innovative olive mill of Terra Creta,” as Karpadakis explains.
Karpadakis adds that he and his team “are proud to have 15% of our total EVOO production certified organic as a result of the collaboration we have with selected farmers and market acceptance of our quality organic extra virgin olive oil.” Terra Creta’s organic percentage is almost twice the Greek average of approximately “8% of the total olive oil production,” according to Karpadakis. He adds that the “cultivation and production of organic EVOO goes beyond the requirements of the legislation; it is related to the core philosophy of sustainability and environmental consciousness” shared by producers and consumers. At this time, Karpadakis suggests, “organic certified products are closer to the consumer’s gastronomic preferences.”
Theodoros Koutsotheodoris, winner of an extra gold medal for his Olive Poem EVOO, a blend of Koroneiki and Myrtoelia olive oils from Laconia, Peloponnese, explains that he considers the BIOL competition “very important because it is focused on organic agriculture, which is a fundamental element of my olive oil project. Being awarded the highest award at this competition for the third consecutive year is an indication that the Olive Poem project is on the right track. Not only are we following our idealistic view of olive cultivation, but we produce a product whose quality is recognized by the most demanding experts.”
Koutsotheodoris is the founder of “a very small company that produces a single-estate olive oil from an olive grove that follows the most traditional agriculture. All the plants are self-germinated in the grove and grafted with tissues of olive varieties from trees already present in the grove. It is not only organic, but the most natural form of agriculture. The trees are well adapted and have very little need for nutritional or phytosanitary help. So the signature of our project is the terroir of our olive grove and natural, traditional agriculture.”
Down south in Crete, the team at Pamako is also focused solely on organic olive production, because Eftychios Androulakis believes “non-organic EVOO is made using lots of dangerous chemicals that can be found in the soil, the water, and the olive oil.” In his view, “it’s a joke when a company talks about sustainability and climate change with normal EVOO! For us it is very important to be awarded amongst only organic olive oils” for both of their EVOOs at the BIOL competition, in addition to receiving many other “awards from all over the world,” plus a European health claim certification since 2013 and certification as a food supplement in three EU countries.
Working with Tsounati and Koroneiki olives, Androulakis employs a long list of inventions and innovations to produce the healthiest, tastiest organic EVOO he can make. For example, for the last eight years he has used only battery-powered machinery in his olive groves, from the harvesting sticks to the pruning machinery, to avoid exposing the trees and olives to gasoline and exhaust fumes. Moreover, he uses more than ten different innovative machines in the olive mill, from the washing and drying system to the sorting machine, from the depitter made out of stainless steel to the cooling of the depitter and crusher at 10 degrees Celsius.
Why should consumers care about olive oil awards when the world is facing a pandemic, war, displacement, and inflation? Androulakis contends that “taste, health, and joy in hard times are important for happiness and longevity,” and organic extra virgin olive oil can provide all of that. Numerous Greek olive oil companies offer award-winning organic EVOOs that combine excellent flavor with the scientifically recognized health benefits of extra virgin olive oil, helping to promote health and happiness.
Greek Winners at the 2022 BIOL International Prize
Extra Gold Medals
- Mediterre Eurofood SA — Mediterre Omphacium Organic
- Mediterre Eurofood SA — Mediterre Olymp Olympia PGI Organic
- Olive Poem — Olive Poem
- Terra Creta SA — Terra Creta Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Androulakis Eftychios Olive Oil Bottling Pamako — Pamako Mountain Organic Monovarietal
- Androulakis Eftychios Olive Oil Bottling Pamako — Pamako Mountain Organic Blend
- Anoskeli Agricultural Company SA — Bio Anoskeli
- Argali Greek Organic Olive Oil — Argali
- Eliris Oive Oil — Eliris Extraordinary Olive Oil
- Energaea – Dimas & Marakis Co — Harma Green
- Exquisite Greek Gastronomy International Trade — Go.Slow. Organic High Phenolic
- Friedrich Bläuel & Co. Ltd. — Mani Organic Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Hellenic Fields — Ena Ena Organic PGI Olympia
- Kolympari SA — Rapunzel Kreta Olivenöl
- Mediterre Eurofood SA — Mediterre Alea
Thanks to Mediterre Eurofood and Terra Creta for the photos that appear with this article.
All businesses, organizations, and competitions involved with Greek olive oil, the Mediterranean diet, and/or agrotourism or food tourism in Greece, as well as others interested in supporting Greeks working in these sectors, are invited to consider the advertising and sponsorship opportunities on the Greek Liquid Gold: Authentic Extra Virgin Olive Oil website. The only wide-ranging English-language site focused on news and information from the Greek olive oil world, it has helped companies reach consumers in more than 215 countries around the globe.
(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.)