Four Pamako olive oil bottles in a forest

In one of the largest, most important international competitions focused on organic extra virgin olive oils, 8 BIOL Gold Medals and 12 BIOL Silver Medals were awarded to Greek olive oils by 30 jurors from various countries. After this 22nd edition of the BIOL competition in Italy, with 350 olive oils from 15 countries, some Greek winners offered comments.

The winner of the Biol Territory Prize for Greece, the top honor for a Greek olive oil this year, was Agrovim’s Iliada PDO extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) from Messinia, Peloponnese. “One of the largest olive oil producing companies in Greece and one of the leading exporting companies of the country” according to their website, Agrovim has won a long list of awards for their Iliada PDO EVOO in international olive oil competitions.

This olive oil’s name is a tribute to Homer, author of the ancient Greek epic The Iliad, who referred to olive oil as “liquid gold.” The name also shows how Iliada PDO EVOO “embod[ies] our heritage and the healing properties of nature passed down from generation to generation by our ancestors,” as Agrovim’s site says. The company uses a “pre-selected and certified group of local farmers with certified standards of operation” as they strive to combine a traditional understanding of olive oil production with modern methods and respect for the environment.

Adding to his collection of awards this year, Eftychios Androulakis won a Gold BIOL Medal for Pamako Mountain Monovarietal Tsounati EVOO and a Silver BIOL for Pamako Blend. His EVOO is also called Pamako High Phenolic Mountain Bio since it is produced from olives grown organically on a mountainside in Crete and is especially high in healthy phenolic compounds. He told Greek Liquid Gold he was “proud and extremely happy to receive another two awards for our Mountain Organic Olive Juices,” although that happiness also comes with a great “sense of responsibility” to continue producing excellent healthy, pesticide-free EVOO.

Androulakis takes that responsibility very seriously. He explained that every year he conducts “more than 30 experiments from the groves to the production line and finally to the bottling” to determine the best procedure for each harvest, because “every year is different, and every difference needs a lot of attention to details.” For example, Androulakis varies the percentage of olives he crushes with and without the pit for different effects depending on each year’s conditions. And since last year was a dry season, he had to avoid harvesting on hot days and needed to take the olives from the groves to the factory “extremely fast.”

Bastian Jordan of Jordan Olivenol Gmbh, part of a German/Greek family producing EVOO in Greece, told Greek Liquid Gold he feels honored to receive the BIOL Gold Medal in Italy, “a nice confirmation of the good work” he and his team do, “always focusing on quality and never anything else.” He weighs the advantages of pesticide-free EVOO against the challenges of protecting trees from the olive fruit fly using organic traps, concluding that all the work is “challenging but also heavenly at the same time.”

The challenges of his family business started in 1989, when the Jordan family bought their land in Lesvos and had to develop it “from scratch,” building “small roads through the olive trees to even reach our olive groves,” drilling for water, and setting up pylons for power and telephone lines. “The fields were in the middle of nowhere, and they still are.” But they persevered with their unusual blend of Kolovi and Adramitiani varieties. As Jordan points out, “You got to love it in order to do it well.”

Silvia Lazzari of Friedrich Bläuel & Co. Ltd. is pleased with her company’s success with their BIOL Gold winning Mani Blauel EVOO in a number of olive oil competitions every year, as they believe “olive oil competitions have, lately, acquired a special, important role in educating the public about olive oil quality, in a trade and media environment so often inaccurate and misleading.” Although organic products involve “higher costs, more labor, and more vulnerability to weather and other possibly hostile environmental factors,” Lazzari emphasizes that “they are good for the environment, safer for the health, preserve better nutritional properties, and in many cases taste better.”

Organic production has been a priority for the Bläuel family “starting in the 1970’s” when “a young Austrian student” came to Mani, Greece and fell “in love with it, its people, and its products,” as Lazzari explains. Fritz and Burgi Bläuel moved to Mani, worked on the olive harvest, and learned about olive oil production, eventually managing to convince local farmers of “the benefits of organic agriculture and the associated market opportunities” and working with them “toward the transition. So thanks to this successful collaboration with smallholders, by the mid-1980s the first organic olive oil in Greece was produced,” as their website says.

The next generation of the Bläuel family has continued the focus on sustainable, environmentally friendly organic farming and nearly energy-neutral olive oil production, aiming to promote biodiversity, supporting social projects, contributing to the development of the area, using recyclable packaging materials, and encouraging re-use of their containers with removable labels. The BIOL Prize celebrates such planet-friendly practices.

The BIOL Prizes (PremioBiol) are sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), and AgriBioMediterraneo, among others, organized by the C.I.Bi cooperative society in Apulia, and promoted by the Chamber of Commerce of Bari, Puglia Region, and the City of Ostuni, Italy, where the event took place.

Focused on organic olive oil quality and environmental protection, the three-day BIOL event in March also featured technical conferences on such topics as innovations in organic olive growing, as well as tasting courses, workshops, an exhibition of prize-winning olive oils, and tours of the area.


BIOL Prize Greek Winners 2017: The Complete List

 

The Biol Territory Prize for Greece of the XXII Edition of the Prize

ILIADA, AGRO.VI.M. S.A.    


Greek Gold Medals from the XXII Edition of the BIOL Prize

(Olive Oil, Company, Location)
               
Elisson Special Edition Manaki, Elisson Olive Oil & More, Corinth    

Iliada PDO, Agro.vi.m. S.A., Messinia    

Jordan, Jordan Olivenol Gmbh, Nrw    

La Kouzina Verde Koroneiki, Inspirational Foods, Attiki    

Mani Blauel, Friedrich Blauel & Co Ltd., Messinia    

Naturplan, Kolympari, Kolympari    

Noan Classic, Noan Gmbh, Vienna        

Pamako Mountain Monovarietal, Androulakis Eftychios Olive Oil Bottling, Chania    


Greek Silver Medals from the XXII Edition of the BIOL Prize

(Olive Oil, Company, Location)

Aegean Gold, Rafteli Protouli Maria & Co., Greece        

Anoskeli PDO Kolymvari Chanion Kritis, Anoskeli S.A., Crete    

Eirini Plomariou, Kalampoka Konstantina, Lesvos    

Essential, G.E.T. Greek Exquisite Tastes, Central Greece    

Fyllikon, Sakellaropoulos Organic Farming, Greece    

Harma Green, Energaea Dimas-Marakis & Co., Attica    

Mythocia Olympia PGI, Papadopoulos Konstantinos & Co., Peloponnese    

Oleum Crete Bio, Kidonakis Bros G.P., Heraklion    

Olvia, Tzortzis Michael, North Aegean    

Pamako Mountain Blend, Androulakis Eftychios Olive Oil Bottling, Chania

Syllogi Premium, Kidonakis Bros G.P., Heraklion    

Terra Creta, Terra Creta S.A., Crete    

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Thanks to Pamako for the photos of their olive oil bottles.

Selected Past Events