The winners at the 2018 Cretan Olive Oil Competition

At the March 18 awards ceremony for the fourth Cretan Olive Oil Competition, the top scoring Cretan extra virgin olive oils of the 100 entered in the contest received 6 awards and 16 honorable mentions. Headed by olive oil experts of worldwide acclaim, the competition emphasized the high quality that results from hard work and attention to detail.

Organized by the Agronutritional Cooperation of the Region of Crete, the competition took place at the Organoleptic Evaluation Laboratory of Rethymno. It was directed by olive oil tasting panel supervisor and international judge Eleftheria Germanaki, one of the judges for the New York International Olive Oil Competition (NYIOOC). The panel supervisors were two internationally recognized experts: the Italian agronomist, consultant, and olive oil judge Antonio Giuseppe Lauro (a panel leader at the NYIOOC) and the Greek chemical and organoleptic trainer for the International Olive Council, Effie Christopoulou, who was one of the pioneers of the organoleptic method starting in 1982.

At the awards ceremony, Christopoulou told the audience that Cretan olive oils have improved greatly in recent years, so that many now have excellent organoleptic characteristics (aroma and flavor). Lauro also complimented Germanaki’s “good work to improve the quality” of Cretan olive oils by training producers and inspiring “creative competition” that encourages producers to aim for awards they see their neighbors winning—which has been a useful tactic for improving olive oil quality in Italy as well, as Lauro told Greek Liquid Gold.

Christopoulou encouraged continued cooperation among everyone involved with olive growing and olive oil production in order to achieve the best possible quality. Emmanouil Karpadakis of Terra Creta, which won a Bronze Elaia award, was one of several to discuss with Greek Liquid Gold the need for continued attention to detail and hard work, “with knowledge and with advanced technology, in order to be able to produce the quality level that the nature and trees of Crete can give us.”

Swiss judge Philipp A. Notter was impressed by the professionalism, harmony, and seriousness of the competition jury, which he believes is on the same level as the renowned international BIOL competition in Italy, where he is also a judge. He was particularly pleased by the flavor of the Tsounati olive oils that occupied three of the top four places in this year’s organic rankings. Less common in Crete and Greece than the Koroneiki olive oils which Christopoulou described as having a unique freshness that has been recognized in many international competitions, Tsounati olive oil also “has big potential,” in Notter’s view.

After receiving Gold and Silver Elaia awards, top winner Eftychis Androulakis told Greek Liquid Gold he wanted to thank Eleftheria Germanaki “for promoting Cretan and Greek olive oils around the globe.” Mentioning that she felt proud of the competition participants and honored to be involved, Germanaki added that she was pleased that Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Food Vassilis Kokalis attended the awards ceremony, which he called "a celebration of our national product, olive oil.”

For comments from the top winners and others, see this article in Greece Is: 4th Cretan Olive Oil Competition Highlights Sophistication of Crete’s Oils.

Cretan Olive Oil Competition 2018
Complete List of Awards and Honorable Mentions

Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oils

  • Gold Elaia: Pamako Monovarietal Mountain EVOO from Eftychis Androulakis
  • Silver Elaia: Critida Organic 0.2 from Bio Cretan Olive Oil Ltd.
  • Bronze Elaia: Phenoil from Honest Olive Oil Group Ltd.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Diva from Honest Olive Oil Group Ltd.
  2. Anoskeli Organic EVOO from Anoskeli Agricultural Company S.A. 
  3. Manolio from Orestis Mathioudakis
  4. Ifigeneia from Cretan Tree
  5. Kouses Estate from Kouses Estate
  6. Ladi from Tsouderos

Conventional Extra Virgin Olive Oils

  • Gold Elaia: Korona Premium EVOO from Maria Asmargianaki
  • Silver Elaia: Pamako Mountain Blend from Eftychis Androulakis
  • Bronze Elaia: Terra Creta 42 Premium Blend from Terra Creta

Honorable Mentions
  1. Physis of Crete 0.2 from Maria Asmargianaki
  2. PDO Messara 0.2 from Bio Cretan Olive Oil Ltd.
  3. Kolympari SA Mihelakis Family from I. Mihelakis SA
  4. Sitia 0.3 from Nikolaos Ailamakis & Sia OE
  5. Creta Verde from Cretan Taste OE
  6. Philosophy of Elea PGI Chania from Creta Eleon, Psaroudakis AE
  7. Eliama Daily Value Premium from Ellis Farm, Elisavet Titaki
  8. Terra Zakros from Nikolaos Ailamakis & Sia OE
  9. Ousia from Botzakis AE
  10. Creta Eleon from Creta Eleon, Psaroudakis AE   


Thanks to the Agronutritional Cooperation of the Region of Crete for photos from the awards ceremony. The results are also available in Greek on the competition website.


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