Scenes from inside the mill of The Olive Temple

At the 2023 London International Olive Oil Competitions (IOOC), 20 judges from 12 countries awarded 144 prizes to Greek olive oils. In this contest with 863 entries, Greek olive oil competed with products from 34 countries in quality, health claim, and infused olive oil competitions. Fifteen Greek olive oils won the contest’s top award, platinum prizes.

One of the Greek platinum award winners for their extra virgin olive oil’s (EVOO’s) quality was Olympian Myth Robust from AMG Karabelas IKE. Alexis Karabelas, co-owner of The Olive Temple in Ancient Olympia, told Greek Liquid Gold his organic Koroneiki olive oil is made, tested, and shared with thousands of tourists each year in his family’s innovative olive mill. Alexis and his brother Francesco are the fourth generation to pursue a family business based on an inherited “love of olive trees” and olive oil production, with the help of a team of experts during all stages of cultivation and production. Proud to showcase high-quality traditional Greek products in both competitions and agrotourism experiences, Alexis Karabelas points out that “from antiquity to the present, olive oil has been a source of life and wellness, and, nowadays, it is also a pole of attraction for visitors from all over the world.”

Recognizing olive oil’s importance for human wellness, some olive oil competitions award oils that contain high levels of beneficial components. The London IOOC includes a Health Claim contest in which both the quality and flavor of the olive oil (30% of the score) and the levels of the major naturally-occurring phenols mentioned in European Regulation 432/2012 on the olive oil health claim (70%) are considered. Healthy Greek EVOOs captured a large proportion of these awards in 2023.

The G-TEAM’s Hypereleon Green and Hypereleon Gold claimed two of the eight platinums in the Health Claim contest for their exceptionally healthy high phenolic content and their quality. “The Real Wealth is our Health,” according to Dimitrios Mourlas, so even if olive oil costs more than other oils, “considering the hundreds of scientific studies and clinical trials regarding the amazing health benefits of consuming extra virgin olive oil daily, there is no real dilemma”—it is worth it. For this reason, the G-TEAM takes great care to produce the best, healthiest EVOO they can using bio-dynamic organic cultivation, an extremely early harvest, and prompt milling in state-of-the-art facilities. Recognizing that human and planetary health and well-being are closely interrelated, the G-TEAM is also dedicated to traditional, environmentally friendly cultivation methods that “protect the biodiversity and natural resources of the environment, so that a healthy, balanced environment is delivered to our children.”

Another platinum Health Claim award went to the organic Evolia High-Polyphenol Olive Oil from Ktima Evaggelias-Evolia near Sparta. As Evaggelia Gkioni Kopsiaftis explained to Greek Liquid Gold, the Evolia team benefitted from three years of scientific training in the Interreg Mediterranean ARISTOIL program, learning about cultivation, production, bottling, storage, and distribution there and elsewhere, and receiving advice from professors in the Department of Pharmacognosy and Natural Products Chemistry at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. A member of the World Olive Center for Health, Evolia has two health claim certifications related to European Regulation 432/2012. Their team of agronomists, nutritionists, economists, and experienced harvesters works with Kalamon olives, aspiring to offer everyone an outstanding high phenolic olive oil “with beneficial and therapeutic properties, which has a long-term positive effect on human health and well-being.”

The team at Elettra, another platinum Health Claim award winner, also wishes “to offer everyone this natural elixir that Nature generously gives us,” as Georgia Bouzala says. An increasing number of clinical studies “show that high phenolic olive oil is indeed a miracle of Nature” that “works both preventively and therapeutically.” In fact, Elettra conducted a clinical study at the Cardiology Clinic of Kalamata General Hospital in collaboration with the School of Pharmacy of the University of Athens which discovered that “the polyphenolic olive oil Elettra appears to have a beneficial effect on the lipid profile, vascular endothelial function and cardiovascular function in patients with hyperlipidemia,” as their article indicates. In the nearly abandoned village of Kleisoura, Peloponnese, Bouzala says they are striving “to motivate the youth to return to the land of our ancestors and combine Tradition and Science in harmony with Nature.”

Taking home platinum awards in both the Health Claim and Infused Olive Oil categories, as well as golds and silvers in the Infused and EVOO Quality categories, Laconiko has all bases covered with this year’s ten London IOOC awards for their olive oil from Laconia, Peloponnese. For example, the new Laconiko ZOI Ultra, an oleocanthal-rich high phenolic EVOO, received both a silver quality award and a platinum health claim prize, while Laconiko Garlic earned a platinum in the infused category. Diamantis Pierrakos emphasized that “the people behind the brand are constantly striving for excellence in order to receive the recognition we deserve; my brother and I take absolutely no shortcuts.” Instead, they always apply the best practices. “Quality is the essence of our company and our people. It is our duty, responsibility, and mission to apply our knowledge and continue producing the absolute best products for our loyal customers that believe in us and have supported us all these years.”

Another family business focused on high quality in the Peloponnese, Sakellaropoulos Organic Farms, captured three platinum awards for their unique infused olive oils, as well as golds and silvers for extra virgin olive oil and infused olive oil quality--14 awards for all 14 of their entries in the London IOOC, which brings their record-breaking total for olive products to 791 prizes. For 31 years, the Sakellaropoulos family has produced organic single estate olive oil and table olives on their farms near Sparta, where they are “dedicated to functional olive products with excellent taste and proven benefits for human health,” as Nick Sakellaropoulos explained. Their awards from London provide “yet another confirmation of the very high quality of our olive oils, which we are constantly proving.” They do so with surprising combinations such as the Koroneiki olives, cinnamon, apple, walnuts, honey, sage, and lemon in their Enigma infused oil.

Quality, health benefits, and striking flavors abound in the Greek olive oils recognized for their excellence in London and worldwide. Greek olive oil offers the consumers of the world a wealth of superb options.

PLATINUM Awards for Greek Olive Oils at the 2023 London IOOC

Olive Oil – Company – Award Type

Mer Des Oliviers De Delphes EVOO – Delphiland IKE – Quality
Olympian Myth Robust – AMG Karabelas IKE – Quality
Terra Creta Grand Cru Koroneiki EVOO – Melissa-Kikizas SA – Quality

Drop of Life Organic – The Greek Olive Estate SA – Health Claim
Elettra Gold – Elettra – Health Claim   
Evolia High-Polyphenol Olive Oil – Ktima Evaggelias-Evolia – Health Claim
Hypereleon Gold – G-Team – Health Claim
Hypereleon Green – G-Team – Health Claim
Laconiko Zoi – Laconiko – Health Claim

Flavored Gourmet Enigma – Sakellaropoulos Organic Farms – Infused
Laconiko Garlic – Laconiko – Infused
Masterpiece Blend – Sakellaropoulos Organic Farms – Infused
November Fruits Olive Oil with Mandarin – Chalvatzis George – Infused
Oleoastron Gourmet – Sakellaropoulos Organic Farms – Infused
Terra Creta Slow Infusions with Garlic – Melissa-Kikizas SA – Infused

Find all the awards from Greece on the competition website

Thanks to The Olive Temple for the photos that appear with this article.

All businesses, organizations, and competitions involved with Greek olive oil, the Mediterranean diet, and/or agrotourism or food tourism in Greece, as well as others interested in supporting Greeks working in these sectors, are 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 site focused on news and information from the Greek olive oil world, it has helped companies reach consumers in more than 220 countries around the globe.

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