One&Olive bottles and tins and their Athena IOOC double gold award

Competing with 364 samples from 14 countries, Greek olive oils won 65 medals and several special awards at the 4th edition of the Athena International Olive Oil Competition. Judged by 20 tasters from a dozen nations at the first parliament building of modern Greece in Nafplio, the top Greek winners told Greek Liquid Gold about their commitment to quality.

The most highly awarded Greek oil was One & Olive’s Koroneiki extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) from Messinia, Peloponnese. It earned a Double Gold medal and numerous other distinctions, including Best EVOO from Greece and Best Koroneiki worldwide. Dimitris Anagnostopoulos explained that One & Olive has its roots in an ancestor’s establishment of “the first olive mill in the mountains of Messinia in 1896.” Ever since Papa-Apostolis Anagnostopoulos, the village clergyman, opened that mill, his descendants have been “dedicated to olive oil production and authenticity.”

The One & Olive company was established after Dimitris Anagnostopoulos fell in love with Maria Anagnostopoulos, a Greek American with roots in Messinia who happened to share both his last name and his passion for “the Greek countryside, history, and lifestyle.” The couple decided to create “a symbol of their unique love – One & Olive, inspired by the one & only love they found and shared, inspired by their passion for Greece and its fruits.”

Now the company has added innovation to love and tradition in their own mills and factory, with a “pioneering production process which reduces the production time by 86% and minimizes contact with oxygen, ensuring a high quality across harvest periods.” By minimizing the malaxation of the olive paste, the One & Olive team creates “enriched aromas and balanced olive oil” while conserving energy and water, thus “promoting sustainable development for future generations.”

Another company dedicated to sustainable development and innovation, Terra Creta, won two Gold Medals for their Grand Cru and Terra Creta PDO Kolymvari EVOOs, plus a Best in Crete award for the Grand Cru. As Emmanouil Karpadakis informed Greek Liquid Gold, “the Grand Cru EVOO is not only a new product, but the result of a totally new approach we developed last year in cooperation with our agronomists and a dedicated team of farmers, as well as a more quality oriented new production line in our olive mill. By implementing more sophisticated harvesting and extraction techniques, we managed to produce a monovarietal extra virgin olive oil with a more unique and exciting organoleptic character and a higher level of phenolic compounds.”

A bottle of Terra Creta Grand Cru EVOO next to a gold olive wreath, its award from the Cretan Olive Oil Competition

Fotis Sousalis added that Terra Creta has already won 40 awards, but that “doesn’t mean we should stop evolving, stop progressing.” Rather, the company continues to expand their cooperation with farmers, agronomists, and an oleologist from Tuscany. This collaboration, combined with their vertical organization, gives them the flexibility to provide “what the consumer wants in different countries.” Sousalis expects they will be able to offer “very high quality in very big volumes in the coming years” as more contract farmers work with their agronomist, so they can provide “a premium brand in a quantity that makes sense” for large-scale retailers.

Peter Liokareas mentioned that Liokareas, a small family business, is also “focused on high quality as well as high levels of production.” Their Gold Medal for their Koroneiki Early Harvest EVOO, their Silver for their Late Harvest Orange flavored oil, and their Bronze for Liokareas Wild reward that emphasis on quality. Liokareas credits their “traditional ‘small batch’ format,” modern technology, continuing education, and constant monitoring of their olive trees in Messinia, Peloponnese, for their success. Moreover, at 400 meters, their olives groves’ “altitude is critical and helps us to mitigate unexpected weather conditions and the fruit fly. But most important is our history, as we have been doing this for over 5 generations and hundreds of years. We learn something new every season, and we make sure that we get better every year.”

Another company with olive groves on hills and mountains, some accessible only by donkey or mule, won awards for their flavored olive oils. Hellenic Agricultural Enterprises’ Acaia Flavored with Grapefruit & Βergamot captured a Gold Medal, as it did at last year’s Athena International Olive Oil Competition (ATHIOOC), while Acaia Flavored with Oregano took home a Silver. These condiments are made by adding all-natural essential oils to subtly flavored, well balanced healthy oils from the Kolovi olive that is native to Lesbos. In spite of the generally poor olive harvest in Lesbos, Ellie Tragakes reported, “we were very fortunate in that by taking the necessary precautions to protect our own olive trees against the olive fruit fly, we were able to produce high quality oil once again.”  

A second flavored Greek olive oil earned a Gold Medal at ATHIOOC: Pellas Nature Chios Mandarin Olive Oil, a new product that blends Koroneiki oil from Messara, Crete with mandarin oranges from Chios. As Ioanna Diamanti revealed to Greek Liquid Gold, “the idea for the product came during a visit to the island of Chios, when all the orchards where full, and the fragrance created a magical atmosphere.” This inspired the Pellas Nature team to “‘capture’ this fragrance” from fresh Chios mandarins, and put it in olive oil. That way, they can share with “consumers anywhere in the world the flavor of the Chios island paradise.” Diamanti credits the company’s “innovative production method,” the location, and the cultivation method for their products’ taste and quality, with “commitment” most important of all. 

Commitment was essential this year. American olive oil judge, consultant, and Extra Virgin Alliance co-founder Alexandra Kicenik Devarenne said “this was clearly a difficult year for some regions, but there were some beautiful oils produced in spite of the adverse conditions. Those producers who overcame the obstacles of this challenging season deserve high praise for their good work and attention to detail.”

All the award winning extra virgin olive oils will be available for tasting at the Athena IOOC’s annual all-day public tasting event at the Grande Bretagne Hotel in Athens on April 20. The tasting will precede the awards ceremony, starting at 12 noon and ending when the ceremony begins at 6:00 p.m.


Athena IOOC 2019 Greek Winners: Complete List of Medals

Olive Oil, Producer, Olive Variety, Region

Double Gold Medal

One & Olive - One & Olive - Koroneiki - Peloponnese, Messinia


Gold Medals   

Terra Creta Grand Cru - Terra Creta - Koroneiki - Crete, Chania

Terra Creta PDO Kolymvari - Terra Creta - Koroneiki - Crete, Chania

Liokareas Early Harvest - Liokareas - Koroneiki - Peloponnese, Messinia   

Acaia Flavored with Grapefruit & Βergamot - Hellenic Agricultural Enterprises - Kolovi - Aegean Islands, Lesbos   

Pellas Nature Chios Mandarin Olive Oil - Pellas Nature - Koroneiki - Crete, Heraklion & Peloponnese, Argolis


Silver Medals

Mavroudis Gourmet Chilli - Mavroudis Corfu Family Olive Oil - 50% Koroneiki, 50% Lianolia - Ionian Islands, Corfu
   
Salvation Olive Oil - Apostolakis Kiriakos - Mourtolia - Peloponnese, Laconia       
Ellora Farms-Fine Foods - Ellora Fine Foods - Koroneiki - Crete, Chania   

Ziro Organic - Ziro Sitia - Koroneiki - Crete, Lasithi   

Protoleo - Rafteli-Protouli Maria - Kolovi - Aegean Islands, Lesbos   

Mediterre Lena - Papadopoulos Olive Oil Mediterre - 80% Koroneiki, 10% Olympia (Nemoutiana), 10% Botsikoelia - Peloponnese, Ilia       

Kyklopas Early Harvest - Kyklopas - Makris - Thrace, Evros       

Liokareas Late Harvest Orange - Liokareas - Koroneiki - Peloponnese, Messinia       
Olive Poem - Olive Poem - 50% Koroneiki, 50% Myrtolia - Peloponnese, Laconia       
Thallon - Thallon - Hondroelia of Chalkidiki - Macedonia, Chalkidiki   

Alsea ΝΕΟ - Alsea - Olive of Agrinio - Central, Aetolia-Acarnania       

Physis of Crete 0.2 - Physis of Crete - Koroneiki - Crete, Lasithi       

Aegaea Organic - Rafteli-Protouli Maria - Kolovi - Aegean Islands, Lesbos       
Sparta Gourmet - Sparta Gourmet - Koroneiki - Peloponnese, Laconia       

Chrisopigi - Chrisopigi - Koroneiki - Crete, Lasithi       

Acaia Flavored with Oregano - Hellenic Agricultural Enterprises - Kolovi - Aegean Islands, Lesbos       

Laconiko - Laconiko - Koroneiki - Peloponnese, Laconia   
   
Pamako Monovarietal Premium Mountain Organic - Androulakis Eftychios - Tsounati - Crete, Chania       

Korona Premium - Physis of Crete - Koroneiki - Crete, Lasithi       

Pallada (Early Harvest) - Papadomanolakis Nikolaos - Koroneiki - Crete, Chania       
EnKardia - EnKardia - Koroneiki - Peloponnese, Laconia       

Mediterre Alea Organic - Papadopoulos Olive Oil Mediterre - Koroneiki - Peloponnese, Ilia       

Doleon Greek Premium - Sia Natures Icons - Koroneiki - Peloponnese, Messinia       
Alexandros Special Edition - Voukoureslis Nikolaos - Makris - Thrace, Evros   

Mavroudis Gourmet Orange - Mavroudis Corfu Family Olive Oil - 50% Koroneiki, 50% Lianolia - Ionian Islands, Corfu
       
Ena Ena Ultra Superior - Hellenic Fields - Koroneiki - Peloponnese, Ilia       

Kopos - Andriotis Olive Oil Standardization & Distribution - 50% Koroneiki, 50% Athinoelia - Peloponnese, Laconia       

Red Sparrow - Delicious Crete - 50% Koroneiki, 30% Tsounati, 20% Olive of Amfissa - Crete, Heraklion       

Makaria Terra - Makaria Terra - Koroneiki – Peloponnese, Messinia       

Alpha to Omega Early Harvest - Alpha to Omega - Koroneiki - Peloponnese, Messinia   
39/22 Koroneiki - Great Stories - Koroneiki - Peloponnese, Argolis       

Pamako Blend Premium Mountain Organic - Androulakis Eftychios - 65% Koroneiki, 35% Tsounati - Crete, Chania  


Bronze Medals

Liokareas Wild - Liokareas - 70% Wild Olives, 30% Koroneiki - Peloponnese, Messinia     
My Precious Olive Tree - P. Kanellopoulos - Patrini - Peloponnese, Achaea     

Alsea Selection - Alsea - Olive of Agrinio - Central, Aetolia-Acarnania        

Maniataki - Afoi Antoniou Mixelakou - Koroneiki - Peloponnese, Laconia     

Mythocia Early Harvest Olympia - Papadopoulos Olive Oil Mediterre - 75% Koroneiki, 15% Kolireiki, 10% Botsikoelia - Peloponnese, Ilia        

Imera - Agricultural Cooperativa Olive Imera - Megaritiki - Macedonia, Kozani        
Ena Ena Condiment with Wild Oregano - Hellenic Fields - Koroneiki - Peloponnese, Ilia        
Olivi - Nikolopoulos Estate - Koroneiki - Peloponnese, Messinia     

Blackbird - Blackbird Natural Treasures - 80% Kolovi, 20% Andramitini - Aegean Islands, Lesbos        

Liocladi - Toleris Family - Hondroelia of Chalkidiki - Macedonia, Chalkidiki        

Alpha to Omega Selection - Alpha to Omega - Koroneiki - Peloponnese, Messinia        
Protogenes - Nikolaos Konstas - Konstas Olive Oil - 40% Megaritiki, 30% Koroneiki, 30% Manaki - Eastern Attica        

Mavroudis Gourmet Oregano - Mavroudis Corfu Family Olive Oil - 50% Koroneiki, 50% Lianolia - Ionian Islands, Corfu      
   
Olvia - Michael Tzortzis - 80% Andramitini, 20% Kolovi - Aegean Islands, Lesbos        
ἐnnέα - ἐnnέα - Olive of Chalkidiki - Macedonia, Kavala   
    
39/22 Manaki - Great Stories - Manaki - Peloponnese, Argolis     

Omphacium - Papadopoulos Olive Oil Mediterre - Olympia (Nemoutiana) - Peloponnese, Ilia        

Oleum Crete - Kidonakis - Koroneiki - Crete, Heraklion     

Riza - Dimitris Giannakis - Koroneiki - Central, Eastern Attica     

Mavroudis Gourmet Basil - Mavroudis Corfu Family Olive Oil - 50% Koroneiki, 50% Lianolia - Ionian Islands, Corfu
         
Vafis - Nikitakis A & G - Koroneiki - Crete, Heraklion        

Mitera Mastoidis - Mitera - Mastoidis - Crete, Rethymno     

Mythocia Early Harvest Olympia Organic - Papadopoulos Olive Oil Mediterre - 70% Koroneiki, 20% Kolireiki, 10% Botsikoelia - Peloponnese, Ilia        
   
The Governor - Olive Fabrica - Lianolia of Corfu - Ionian Islands, Corfu         
   
Elladion - Elladion - Galano - Macedonia, Chalkidiki     
   
Anoskeli - Anoskeli - Koroneiki - Crete, Chania        

39/22 Athenolia - Great Stories - Athinoelia - Peloponnese, Laconia        

For Special Awards, see the competition website.

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Thanks to the Athena International Olive Oil Competition, One & Olive, and Terra Creta for the photos.

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