Many rows of olive trees in a regular pattern, viewed from a hill

At the 2019 TerraOlivo Mediterranean International Olive Oil Competition in Israel, 29 judges tasted 471 oils from 20 countries. Greek extra virgin olive oils were honored with 1 Top Ten award, 2 Special awards, 19 Grand Prestige Gold awards, 14 Prestige Golds, 14 Golds, and 11 Packaging Design awards. Some of the Greek winners discussed their triumphs.

The top Greek winner, Papadopoulos Olive Oil Mediterre, “always strives for perfection,” according to Eva Papadopoulou. They aim for their extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) from near Ancient Olympia “to be close to the first position worldwide.” The results have been impressive. This year at TerraOlivo, Papadopoulos Olive Oil Mediterre took home a Top 10 award, a Best of Greece distinction, and Grand Prestige Gold and Best Bottle Design awards for Mythocia Omphacium Early Harvest EVOO, two more Grand Prestige Golds for Mythocia Alea Organic EVOO and Mythocia Olympia Organic EVOO, and a Prestige Gold for Mythocia Lena.

Papadopoulou says four years of success in international competitions have provided experience that helps them prepare for the challenges of each harvest. In this “very difficult year for Greece” because of the olive fly, gloeosporium, and the weather, Papadopoulou believes her team’s accomplishments can be attributed to their “persistence, passion, and tests during the harvest season.”

Another special award, the Best of Crete distinction, went to Cretanthos for their Early Harvest Organic Olive Oil, a healthy high phenolic Protected Designation of Origin EVOO which also received a Grand Prestige Gold award. George Tzianoudakis told Greek Liquid Gold that his team’s passion, hard work, and high standards form “the basis for products of top quality and unsurpassed taste.” He is part of the fourth generation to continue “the family tradition of olive oil production without pesticides. We are committed to quality from production to consumption, because our olive oil is our history!"

a small clear glass bottle of Cretanthos olive oil between its black box and a stack of sliced bakery bread on a cutting board

As Tzianoudakis added, “many people from all over the world travel to Greece every year to experience Greek culture and Greek cuisine through a feast of flavors and aromas with pure, excellent quality food. For us, giving consumers the best from our ancestors’ land is a lifelong goal.”

Also from Crete, Eftychios Androulakis’s Pamako captured two Grand Prestige Gold awards for Pamako Organic Blend Mountain EVOO and Pamako Organic Monovarietal Mountain EVOO, as well as Best Bottle Design awards for both. Androulakis shares with his colleague Michalis Marakas a passionate determination “to create better and better organic EVOO every year.” He adds, “we are both obsessed with performing new experiments using new technology,” including their own inventions, so they can learn and improve constantly. Their goal is excellent tasting, very healthy high phenolic olive oil with a long shelf life. Their result is “better awards every year.”

Extending their own long list of awards, AGRO.VIM. S.A. took home two Grand Prestige Golds for Iliada Organic and Iliada PDO Kalamata, plus a Gold award for Iliada Truffle Flavor olive oil condiment. Vasiliki Konstantopoulou considers this “a great success, and at the same time it is proof” that they can continue offering high quality extra virgin olive oils even in a difficult crop year. As George Xakoustos added, “it is our commitment to authenticity, origin, and tradition, supported by science, ingenuity, and investments in equipment, facilities, and people that make the difference.”

Sakellaropoulos Organic Farms also claimed two Grand Prestige Gold awards for their Agourelaio Organic EVOO and their unique Gemstone Blend flavored olive oil with ginger, lime, and basil. These were their 25th and 26th awards for the 2018/19 harvest year, all for the taste, quality, and health benefits of their olive products. Nikos Sakellaropoulos attributes this striking achievement to his family’s hard work, “dedication, constant efforts for 27 years, experience, know how, continuous learning, and scientific monitoring,” as well as their “good practices at the olive orchard and passion for the highest possible quality.”

Another conscientious multi award winning company, Hellenic Agricultural Enterprises, captured a Grand Prestige Gold for ACAIA Organic EVOO and a Prestige Gold for ACAIA EVOO, as well as two more awards for their flavored oils, a Prestige Gold for ACAIA Flavored with Lemon and Oregano, and a Gold for ACAIA Flavored with Grapefruit and Bergamot. Ellie Tragakes told Greek Liquid Gold such awards encourage her team “to work hard to do even better next year. We feel that in the past very difficult year our success has been mainly due to our foresight regarding the protection of our olive trees.”

Tragakes believes “the numerous Greek awards at all the international competitions” suggest “the Greek olive oil sector has developed a professionalism that permits maintenance of very high standards in olive oil quality,” although this requires great vigilance with “the protection and care they must provide to their trees.” Multi award winner Peter J. Liokareas agrees that “the fact that success was not specific to one particular region shows that other producers are also successfully battling the unknown elements just like we are.”

For Liokareas Olive Oil, the result was a Grand Prestige Gold for their Liokareas Late Harvest Lemon olive oil condiment, 2 Prestige Golds for Liokareas Early Harvest EVOO and Liokareas Estate Grown Orange flavored olive oil, plus a Gold for Liokareas Wild Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The reason for all these prizes? “Our passion, determination, and hard work,” according to Liokareas, never giving up on quality under any circumstances. “Every year we learn something new” and improve. “Our passion to always be better than we were the previous season is critical if we are to continue to produce award winning olive oil.” 

Also determined to produce better EVOO each year, Terra Creta continued this year’s striking winning streak with a Grand Prestige Gold award for their new Grand Cru EVOO, a Prestige Gold for Terra Creta Estate EVOO, and a Best Bottle Design award for the Grand Cru. Emmanouil Karpadakis explained to Greek Liquid Gold that significant additions to their mill complemented their usual painstaking, nonstop efforts to achieve excellent quality. Karpadakis reported that Terra Creta’s Grand Cru surprised expert international tasters with the exquisitely balanced, complex flavor and aroma created using Koroneiki olives in Crete.
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Thanks to Papadopoulos Olive Oil Mediterre and Cretanthos for the photos used with this article. Complete TerraOlivo competition results are available on the competition website (after clicking on the image of each medal for each award category).

All businesses, organizations, and competitions involved with Greek olive oil or agrotourism or food tourism in Greece, as well as anyone else interested in supporting Greeks working in these sectors, are now invited to consider the advertising and sponsorship opportunities on the Greek Liquid Gold: Authentic Extra Virgin Olive Oil website. The only wide-ranging English-language website featuring news and information from the Greek olive oil world, it has now reached readers in 190 countries around the globe.

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