As every year, after the campaign, it comes the time to deliver national and international awards to the best extra virgin olive oil. The best known are the New York (NYIOOC), Los Angeles (LAEVOO), Israel (Terraolivo), Japan (Olive Japan) or China. And of course ours in Madrid, the Mario Solinas, organized by the International Olive Oil Council (IOC).

In these contests international juries of proven prestige meet to carry out the corresponding tastings. These are of course blind tastings, and the results are undoubtedly unbiased. What is not totally “impartial” are the rules and requirements to access these contests.

Naturally the companies that organize these events charge to participate. This point leaves out mills with few resources dedicated to Marketing. Also, it is also required that the mills have a minimum annual production, which is certainly pretty high. This is meant to leave “outside” the manufacturers of “customized oils”, the very “Gourmet”. These producers devote a lot of effort to making a few thousand bottles that they then sell at the price of gold (literally). For this reason, it is not in the interests of rewarding them since they can not practically be marketed by the world, which is what it is about, and the reason why the rest of the manufacturers go to these contests.

The best olive oil in the world

The WBOO (World’s Best Olive Oils) compiles the results of each competition weighing the degree of rigor of its rules. The Mario Solinas Prize is considered the one that currently has the strictest rules, and the one that therefore receives the highest score. This contest serves as a basis to classify the rest of competitions to select the best olive oils in the world (EVOO).

This competition is mainly financed through donations, so unlike other ranking companies their results are impartial, independent and objective, and published in a visual and summarized, after such competitions finalize .

CuidadPaís
Mario SolinasMadridEspaña
LA International Olive Oil CompetitionLos AngelesUSA
TerraolivoJerusalénIsrael
Feinschmecker Olio AwardHamburgoAlemania
International Olive Oil AwardZurichSuiza
SIAL Olive D'OrMonrealCanada
OlivinusMendozaArgentina
Leone D'OroBresciaItalia
ArmoniaSpoletoItalia
Sol D'OroVeronaItalia
L'Orciolo D'OroGradaraItalia
Olive JapanJapan
Monocultivar ExpoMilánItalia
NY International Olive Oil CompetitionNew YorkUSA
SelectionAlemania
OvibejaBejaPortugal
BIOL Premio InternazionaleAndriaItalia
Oil ChinaBeijingChina

Disproportionate prices

If an oil before presenting for example in Japan costs 5 euros / bottle, once you get a medal, your price can multiply by 3. These proportions are not reasonable and logical. The market should not be so “sensitive” to these awards. In fact, paradoxically, consumers who maintain and pay such prices are those of Japan or the USA.

What do the Japanese know about olive oil? 🙂

The most prestigious contests to buy extra virgin olive oil are in the United States (New York International Olive Oil Competition, Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition), Japan (Olive Japan) or Switzerland (International Olive Oil Award Zurich). This fact is most amazing! being Spain, Italy or Greece, the undisputed leaders in production, and those that have more tradition since ancient times.

Madrid, headquarters of the International Olive Council (IOC) has a prestigious contest, although paradoxically not as much as the previous ones, and Italy only minor contests, like Greece. It seems reasonable that it was Spain, and in particular the IOC, which regulated the different competitions. And it would not be surprising either that it was in Madrid, Jaén or Córdoba where he had the main event.

Too many “Gold Medals” by contest

In the end, practically all those who present to these contests receive some kind of prize. In New York, for example, a dozen “Gold Medals” and “Best in Class” were awarded this year. And the same situation happened in Japan, with dozens of prizes and awards. This inflation of prizes generates confusion for the final buyer … but of course, the organizers must reward the maximum so that they return to the following year these companies and continue paying the fees and inscriptions … 🙁

Main competitions of EVOO

  • Argoliva: Also named Domingo Faustino Sarmiento Prize, since 2010, with more than 70,000 visitors and 1000 participants during the Technical Days. It regularly receives more than 100 oil samples. It is sponsored by the Government of San Juan, through the Ministry of Production and Economic Development. San Juan is located in the center-west of Argentina, in the region of Cuyo, near the border with Chile, to the foothills of the Cordillera de los Andes.
  • AVPA (Paris): It takes place in March, organized by a non-profit French non-profit organization AVPA (Agency for the Valorization of Agricultural Products), to promote high quality producers around the world. The AVPA Competition is reserved for vegetable oil producers and groups of producers, members of the association. Every year a jury of professionals judges a selection of registered oils to grant them the Gourmet Product certificate and, for the best extra virgin oils, the three prizes: Gourmet d’Or, Gourmet d’Argent or Gourmet de Bronze.
  • Biofach (Germany): World fair of organic foods. Organic trade meets every year at this organic congress in Nuremberg. It is more than a label or certification, it means quality and conviction for the responsible use of nature’s resources. Since 1990 BIOFACH at the Exhibition Center Nuremberg is the place where people share their passionate interest in organic food, meet and exchange points of view. The perfect opportunity to meet organic producers of the organic market and be inspired by the latest trends in the sector. Almost 30 uninterrupted years and an exceptional success story.
  • Cinve: The international contest takes place in February, organized by InsocFerial. It awards prizes to the best virgin olive oils in the world, and promotes the nutritional benefits of Virgin Olive Oil directly to consumers. This contest also highlights the virtues of the Mediterranean diet, communicating the prizes obtained to potential importers and media. All the Virgin Olive Oils presented to the contest are tasted by professional experts grouped in tasting panels, which evaluate and classify them, according to the international test sheets of the IOC (International Olive Council).
  • Der Feinschmecker (Germany): It is the gastronomic magazine gourmet products probably of more impact in the olive oil sector. Since 2003 it organizes an international contest of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (AOVE). Its reputation for expert and rigorous selection endorses the winners. In the case of Der Feinschmecker or its equivalent in Italy, Flos Olei, they do not “need” to give so many prizes since their income does not come from the participation of oils. Der Feinschmecker only awards prizes to 9 oils, 3 in each category, “light fruity”, “medium fruity” or “intense fruity”. The creator of this contest is the prestigious Dr. Horst Schäfer-Schuchardt.
  • DOMINA-IOOC (Italy): Based in Palermo, the DOMINA-IOOC began in 2016 and allows participants to promote the excellence of their olive oils and let them taste them to the EVOO enthusiasts who come from all over the world. Along with the competition, seminars and a series of workshops are offered where they learn to taste extra virgin olive oil, as well as themed dinners and culinary initiatives.
    At the end of the 3 days the gala dinner takes place where the prizes of the year are delivered, where the award-winning producers get more visibility in the market and commercial opportunities. The objective of DOMINA-IOOC is to become the first competition in Italy and to be placed in the top 5 in the world, according to the WREVOO (World Ranking Extra Virgin Olive Oil).
  • EVOO IOOC: The competing products are judged and awarded by a jury of professional and competent world prestige in the world of olive oil. All the samples are tasted by our international tasters, led by panel leader Antonio G. Lauro. The EVOO IOOC trophies strengthen the winning brands in international markets, presenting the winning EVOO to the most important distributors and importers in the world.
  • Expoliva (Jaén): It is the best contest for the Mediterranean olive sector. It is the great appointment of innovation and good technical and technological practices, to produce quality olive oil. It is also a place to exchange experiences and business contacts, as well as an international partnership between the different olive-growing countries. Over the years Expoliva has become a platform for technology transfer and promotion of the consumption of olive oil, and in general, of the Mediterranean Diet.
    Statistics show that olive oil barely makes up 3% of the fat market, and only 5% of the world population consumes olive oil. These data make it necessary to redouble efforts with initiatives such as Expoliva. Since its birth in 1983, the most leading companies in the sector meet, addressing a professional audience. It brings together all the producing countries (about 60), and attracts more than 50,000 visitors and more than 300 direct exhibitors.
  • EVOOLEUM Guide: It is the competition that classifies and rewards the 100 best extra virgin olive oils in the world, the TOP100 EVOO. A group of prestigious tasting experts are responsible for the organoleptic evaluation of the juices presented. Only individual producers, cooperatives and production companies, and under their trademark, can be submitted to this competition.
  • Flos Olei Guide: It is probably the most prestigious olive oil guide in the world. Directed and coordinated with absolute rigor by Marco Oreggia, editor of the guide, and a panel of international tasters experts. The guide describes the olive sector in 50 countries.
    It contains historical and production data, the most typical varieties and protected designations of origin. Marco has matured his technical experience in the world of wine and olive oil, after years of experience as owner of the Girone VI restaurant in Rome as well as a series of thematic degrees. The guide is clearly marked by his passion for food and wine, and turn it into a showcase of knowledge of the world of extra virgin olive oil.
  • Iberoleum: It is an ambitious project that, together with its General Manager Francisco García Mendoza, will bring together the 100 best EVOOs in Spain. It is a prestigious letter of introduction for producers, packers, exporters, restaurateurs, and in general for the olive oil world. Its objective is to promote the consumption and culture of the aove, our heritage treasure, both in our country and outside of it. To participate, a sample from a homogeneous batch (3,000 kg minimum) is required, both conventional and organic production.
  • L’Orciolo d’Oro: The club Enohobby Malatesta was founded in the 70s by a group of enthusiasts who became promoters of meetings of “wine lovers”. The club has numerous members and carries out an intense activity in the social year with cultural initiatives on typical products and places of production. L’Orciolo d’oro was the first national extra virgin olive oil contest organized in Italy. Currently there is a significant international presence of olive oils and national organic oils.
  • London IOOC: London already attracts the best producers of olive oil in the world through this unique event. It is the perfect showcase to promote the protective properties for the health of oils with high phenolic content, and with a good profile of flavor and aroma. The best EVOOs come from all continents to participate in the international “high phenolic content” competition.
    The samples are analyzed anonymously and coded in two facets, chemistry and organoleptic. The chemical analysis measures the levels of the main phenols (standard 432/2012), Oleocanthal, Oleacein, Oleuropein and others, using the NMR spectroscopic method, under the supervision of a chemical expert in a specialized laboratory.
  • MAPAMA: The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment creates the “Best Extra Olive Oils” Award to promote the highest quality extra virgin olive oils and improve their image and position in the market. The “Frutado Verde Amargo”, “Frutado Verde Dulce”, “Frutado Maduro” awards are awarded according to their organoleptic evaluation. The extra virgin olive oil with the best score in the tasting phase and in the physical-chemical evaluation will also receive the Special Award “Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Spain”.
  • Mario Solinas: The Contest of the International Olive Oil Council (IOC) of extra virgin olive oils for which the Mario Solinas Quality Award is awarded annually. Through this annual competition the IOC encourages producers, cooperatives and packaging companies to market EVOO with homogeneous organoleptic characteristics. When lending the name of Mario Solinas to the awards, the Council wants to honor the memory of the researcher who contributed so much to the standardization of the quality criteria of olive oil.
  • NYIOOC (The New York International Olive Oil Competition): It is probably the largest and most publicized fair in the world, with more than 800 entries from 26 countries. Judged by a panel of judges, surrounded by chefs, merchants and consumers who value extra virgin olive oil of superior quality. Each winning brand is reserved a permanent page in the Best Olive Oils Marketplace where retailers and retailers can purchase these oils.
    The result of the competition is announced online at the end of the day through the most visited thematic websites on the network. The details of each winner are published in the Olive Oil Times, the quintessential source of information for the olive oil industry. During the awards ceremony, an exclusive tasting event is held followed by a reception for the winners.
  • Olive Japan EVOO Competition: It is one of the main competitions in the world. It meets the highest standards of integrity and professionalism rewarding the best olive oils on the globe. Japan is one of the most important markets for olive oil. The judges are invited from the main producing countries, under the recommendation of the OSAJ (Olive Oil Sommelier Association of Japan). This competition rewards the winners during the main event of the MARCHE, and is followed by the main media.
    The competition is committed to educating the public about extra virgin olive oil, with experts in tasting and pairings. The OLIVE JAPAN International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition began its journey in 2011, and already receives more than 600 samples, rewarding more than 400 olive oils.
  • Olivinus (Argentina): It is organized annually to raise awareness about the benefits of extra virgin olive oil in our Nutrition and Health. It has permanently maintained a great activity allowing the main Argentine experts and from other countries to describe the best EVOOs. Participation is open to all EVOO: Classical, Organic and Aromatic. Only those oils that have no defect are rewarded. The prizes are classified into three levels: Grand Prestige Gold, Prestige Gold and Gold.
  • Superior Taste Award (Belgium): The jury of the International Taste & Quality Institute is unique, has been selected among the most prestigious chefs, the Association of the Sommellerie Internationale and other experts in beverages. The selected tasters have an experience of years of tasting food from around the world. They practice their profession in Europe, Japan, China, Australia, USA and South America. They are passionate professionals who discover and create with enthusiasm new flavors and unknown products of any origin.
  • Terraolivo (Israel): MIOOC (Mediterranean international Olive Oil Competition) is the most important international event in the region regarding Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This is the high number of samples from different regions of the world that are received, some 700 from more than 30 countries.
  • World’s Best Olive Oils: It is a strictly non-governmental non-profit organization, unlike other rankings and guides biased by economic interests. WBOO is independent, has a panel of experts with the sole interest of publishing a complete and objective ranking, and thus promote the extraordinary value of extra virgin olive oil (AOVE). They consolidate the results of the main international competitions of extra virgin olive oil.
  • Zurich Olive Oil Award (Switzerland): Back in 2001 some tasters of the ILGI (Food and Beverage Institute, University of Applied Sciences of Zurich, ZHAW) decided to create this contest to promote transparency in the olive oil market and strengthen consumer confidence in olive oils extra virgin. This contest is covered by the Swiss Olive Oil Panel, following the rules of the IOC (Comité Oleicola Internacional).
    It is held every year in March in Zurich, and three categories of awards are awarded: Olivas de Oro, Olivas de Plata and Olivas de Bronce, as well as the Best Monovarietal and the Best of each country, for those producers who have submitted a minimum of 10 samples: Interestingly, at the end of the Olive Oil Award, during the Gourmesse Fair in October, also in Zurich, a selection of the best olive oils presented to the IOOA are presented directly to consumers, and it is they who will taste and give them a note.
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