Formal photos and long applause tributed to all the winners of the eighth edition of EVO IOOC Italy, closed the award ceremony of the 2023 edition of the competition directed by Antonio G. Lauro.
An exceptional sunset, within the background of the natural setting offered by the Strait of Messina and its Islands, reflected in the violet of this sea, welcomed the final act of the 2023 EVO IOOC Italy international contest.
At the tip of the boot of Italy, in a fairy-tale atmosphere, surrounded by the enchanting colors and scents of Calabria, suspended between sky and sea, between myths and legends of timeless charm steeped in magic and beauty, where stories of mythological creatures echoed and gave rise to fascinating legends, creating a veil of mystery over these places.
This same tract of sea, intimately embraced between Calabria and Sicily, saw the arrival many centuries before Christ of the first olive saplings from Ellas, following the first adventurous Greek colonists.
Among these immortal olive trees, now the heritage and symbol of these communities started the award ceremony of the eighth edition of EVO IOOC Italy.
After a greeting brought by the Mayor and Municipal Administration, General Director of Agriculture Giacomo Giovinazzo and Gianluca Gallo Agricolture Regional Minister of Calabria welcomed, on behalf of the entire regional agricultural community, the producers from all over the world representing the nearly 700 samples, the winners of the Best in Class category, the Best of Country trophies and the Special Awards of the contest were announced.
A celebration, where great emphasis was given to the winners of each medal, Gold or Silver, awarded during the Calabrian Awards Ceremony.
“All the 24 International Judges were pleasantly surprised by the high quality of the products in the competition and by the biting beauty of this unusual Calabria, which hosted and cuddled them. Each of them,” – says President Lauro – “brings home a little piece of Calabria, made of smells, faces, places, and flavors. Growing above all is the quality shown in the competition, with the 694 competing products (623 EVOOs and 71 Flavoured EVOOs), submitted by 30 nations and from as many as 26 different producing countries.
There was a unanimous comment from the judges from 11 countries, who acknowledged EVO IOOC Italy’s role as a tool to promote valuable productions, apt to move quality higher and higher, contributing strongly to give the decisive push to producers towards excellence, making them more and more willing to put themselves on the line and improve.
A few more facts about the contest are offered to us in the final analysis.
Scrolling through the statistics of the results, some curiosities about the participation of the different world production realities.
A careful reading of the data tells us that the highest number of products arrived from the Northern Hemisphere ( 86%) and therefore from Italy (169 samples equal to 24.4% of the total), followed by Turkey (17%), Greece (12.7%) and, surprisingly, Israel (10.1%), which tells of an exceptionally abundant production year in the Middle East.
By contrast, it is Spain (7.5 %), which paid for a drop in production that caused the loss of at least half of the national product.
Brazil (9.4 %), which ends the list of the most represented nations in the competition and brings the presence of products from the Southern Hemisphere to 14%.
All Italian olive growing regions are present, with Calabria and Sicily above all, each with 21% of the Italian products in the competition; followed by Puglia with 13% and gradually the others.
Designation of Origin or Geographical Indication oils contributed 11.4 percent of the total, while Organic EVOOs exceeded 20 percent. Witnesses to the world’s enormous biodiversity were more than 300 Monovarietal EVOOs competing (51 % of the total), the original expression of the olive-growing heritage of each region.
Recounting the very high quality awarded by the contest judges was the remarkable number of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Flavored (61 products in total, or 9%) that scored at least 95 points out of 100.
The Gold Medals awarded were very well deserved, accounting for nearly 50 percent of the total (346 medals), while the contest’s Silver Medals stood at 24 percent (168 medals).
This year’s nominations for the 23 Best of Show (3 Best International, 6 Best in Class, 11 Best of Country, and 3 Special Awards) went to 38 finalist companies with 43 different products in the competition; among them, companies from the old and new worlds that have made excellence their mission and have distinguished themselves through high product quality. Among all the nominations, Italy and Brazil were awarded as many as 3 Best of Show trophies each, followed by Spain with 2 trophies, and the United States closed with one Best of Show to its credit.
Presenting the coveted Best International Awards 2023 was Francesco Cardone, president of the Palmi City Council.
The Best International Award 2023 – North Hemisphere, reserved for the oil from the Northern Hemisphere that obtained the highest score in the competition, was deservedly achieved by the Italian company led by Pasquale La Notte with the award-winning Racemi (Coratina). Thrilled, during the “online” award assignment, Messrs. Luciana and Pasquale La Notte, connected via Skype with the EVO IOOC Italy stage. Also of high lineage were the nominations, achieved by ALMAZARAS de LA SUBBETICA (PARQUEOLIVA SERIE ORO DOP PRIEGO de CORDOBA), Azienda Agricola VINCENZO MARVULLI (Cenzino Ogliarola del Bradano), Villa Zagara (Villa Zagara Minucciola) and Rafael Alonso Aguilera SL/ORO DEL DESIERTO (ORO DEL DESIERTO COUPAGE).
On the other hand, it has achieved the highest score, which will give it the right to boast with the Best International Award 2023 – South Hemisphere, the Brazilian EVOO Frantoio – Verde Louro Azeites from the company VERDE LOURO AZEITES LTDA. Virtual delivery to the VERDE LOURO AZEITES Company, which was present thanks to the liaison from Brazil with Director Romario Ribeiro Silva. Nominations instead went to Prosperato (Prosperato Exclusivo Picual), Casa Gabriel Rodrigues Industria e Com. de Azeites and Der. Ltda (CASA GABRIEL RODRIGUES RESERVA FAMILIAR), Fazendas do Azeite Sabiá (Azeite Sabiá – Blend de Terroir) and Lagar H Agroindústria (Lagar H Blend da Safra).
The two winning companies deservedly prevailed over all 623 EVOOs in the competition, earning the highest scores from the judges.
Rounding out the Best International 2023 triad is the American Corto Olive Co. with the Flavoured Extra Virgin Olive Oil and YUZU CITRUS, which took home the Best International Flavoured EVOO 2023 trophy, prevailing by a pasting over the other category finalists (Domenica Fiore – Domenica Fiore Peperoncino; Kochen Azeites Saborizados – Kochen Azeites Saborizado – BAUNILHA; BVS Premium Jerusalem Olive Oil – Lemon Olive Oil; Prosperato – Prosperato Condimentado com Limão Siciliano) and overall 71 Flavoured Oils in the competition. The good morning from the States came from Luisa Pollack of Corto Olive, who thanked all the organization and the judges for the prestigious award.
The Best of Show list continues with the best in each category in competition, starting with Best International Coupage 2023 – North Hemisphere awarded to Spanish company Rafael Alonso Aguilera SL/ORO DEL DESIERTO with the blend of Arbequina, Ojiblanca and Picual ORO DEL DESIERTO COUPAGE, which prevailed over the other finalist companies Mitera GmbH (MITERA Grand Cru), Azienda Agricola MAZZARRINO (INTREPIDO), KMETIJA KANTE (Kante Cuvée) and Borlu Tarım AŞ (Aden Bahçesi).
Presented in the hands of Sorrento entrepreneur Nino Apreda, the award for the Best International Monovarietal 2023 – North Hemisphere category. Italy triumphed again with the Villa Zagara Minucciola company’s Villa Zagara extra virgin olive oil, which overcame the other finalists who were: La Notte Pasquale (RACEMI), OLEIFICIO CASALE Sas di Ingianni A. (SELEZIONI Coratina), MB ELEON SINGLE MEMBER PC (ootopia Manaki), SOCIETA’ AGRICOLA MASSERIA DEI NUNZI (Oleum San Giorgio Ortice), MANDRANOVA Soc. Agricola a rl (NOCELLARA).
Instead, it is Spain with Almazaras de La Subbetica that excels among the Denominations of Origin and Geographical Indications. It wins with its EVOO PARQUEOLIVA SERIE ORO DOP Priego de Cordoba, which again takes home the Best International DOP/IGP 2023 – North Hemisphere, beating out the other nominations composed of Azienda Agricola Piero Matarazzo (Ramarà), Oleificio Toscano Morettini Srl (Frantoio di San Gimignano), Domenica Fiore (Domenica Fiore Reserva), Marsicani (Algoritmo 2022) and E pluribus unum d.o.o. (Istriana).
To Italy, the last category for Best in Class Northern Hemisphere (Best International Organic 2023 – North Hemisphere), goes to the extra virgin olive oil Cenzino Ogliarola del Bradano, fromAZ. AZ. AGRICOLA VINCENZO MARVULLI, an award collected on the stage by Materano producer Vincenzo Marvulli, owner of the company. Only nominations in this category for FRANTOIO ROMANO (GOLD BIO), E pluribus unum d.o.o. (HEDONIST), Entimio (Entimio Cortese), Aceites Oro Bailén Galgón 99 S.L.U. (ORO BAILEN PICUAL BIO).
A two-way battle between Argentina and Brazil in the southern hemisphere to take home the most coveted awards.
Brazil won the category Best International Monovarietal 2023 – South Hemisphere with Prosperato – Prosperato Exclusivo Picual (Finalists: VERDE LOURO AZEITES LTDA – Frantoio Verde Louro Azeites; Solfrut S.A. – Oliovita Coratina; Olivícola Laur Millan SA – Altos Limpios Arauco; Lagar H Agroindústria – Lagar H Monovarietal Arbequina Edição Limitada).
The Best International Coupage 2023 – South Hemisphere category is also the preserve of Brazil and is awarded, for the second consecutive year, to the Brazilian company Casa Gabriel Rodrigues Industria e Com. de Azeites e Der. Ltda.. It was all thanks to the great balance of their Casa Gabriel Rodrigues Reserva Familiar EVOO that impressed all the contest judges. Other nominations went to Olivícola Laur – Millan SA (Laur), Fazendas do Azeite Sabiá (Azeite Sabiá – Blend de Terroir), Lagar H Agroindústria (Lagar H Blend da Safra) and HERANCA DO CERRO (Herança do Cerro Intenso).
Completing the list of high-quality products honored at 2023 EVO IOOC Italy are Best of Country and Special Awards.
Best of Country:
- Best Of Algeria 2023: SARL ETABLISSEMENT KIARED, Baghlia collected by owner Mr. Ahmel Kiared, who specially came to Italy from Algeria
- Best Of Argentina 2023: Olivícola Laur – Millan SA, Altos Limpios Arauco
- Best Of Brazil 2023: Fazendas do Azeite Sabiá, Azeite Sabiá – Blend de Terroir
- Best Of Croatia 2023: E pluribus unum d.o.o., Istriana presented to New Yorker Rob Anderson owner of a Croatian company.
- Best Of Greece 2023: MB ELEON SINGLE MEMBER PC, ootopia Manaki
- Best Of Israel 2023: Kibbutz Magal – Masik Corporation, Koroneiki
- Best Of Italy 2023: MANDRANOVA Soc. Agricola a rl, NOCELLARA
- Best Of Portugal 2023: Trás-os-Montes Prime Lda, CASA DE SANTO AMARO “PRESTIGE” DOP
- Best Of Spain 2023: Aceites Oro Bailén Galgón 99 S.L.U., ORO BAILEN PICUAL BIO
- Best Of Tunisia 2023: Olea Kotti, Olea Kotti Chetoui
- Best Of Turkey 2023: Borlu Tarım A .Ş, Aden Bahçesi
- Tenute Cristiano – Az. Agricola A. Cristiano, Tenute Cristiano Grand Cru (Best of Regione Calabria 2023), received on stage by Barbara Gugliotta of Tenute Cristiano
- Lagar H Agroindústria, Lagar H Blend da Safra (Raul C. Castellani Best Of South America 2023)
- DOP Aceite del Bajo Aragón – Almazara Artal, El Aceite de Marta (Almendrados dulces 2023)
Sealing an intense awards ceremony, which saw alternating moments of great emotion but also enormous jubilation among the participants, was the final masterclasses. Here producers and enthusiasts, with the guidance of some of the contest judges, were able to “touch with their hands” and taste together some of the world excellence just unveiled by the contest.
To conclude, Stefania Reggio, General Director of the Contest, reminds that “those who won an award at the contest will be issued, free of charge again this year, the Seal of Quality to be affixed on their winning bottle, an undeniable resource to arouse the interest of consumers, restaurateurs, and distribution channels,” and closes by reminding that “from the end of July, the new downloadable edition of the EVO IOOC Italy Buyers Guide Edition 2023/2024 will be available, free of charge. Inside which you will find all the great EVOOs and Flavoured winners in the competition, each of which will be narrated with an evaluation sheet and sensory profile. A guide that will also contain company data useful for buyers and for the consumer or enthusiast interested in buying one of these 2023 excellences.”