part of a bottle of the Papadopoulos Olive Oil company's Mythocia olive oil lying on its side next to green olives

Greece won more than twice as many olive oil awards in 2018 as in the previous year, according to one ranking system. The EVOO World Ranking by the World Association of Journalists and Writers of Wines, Liquors and Others states that Greece won 437 awards in 20 of the contests they considered. Some of the top ranked winners from Greece share their reactions.

Cristina Stribacu of LIA at the archaeological site of Paestum

At the EVO International Olive Oil Contest (EVO IOOC) in Paestum, Italy this year, 70% of the Greek extra virgin olive oils that entered won awards. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Paestum--originally the ancient Greek city of Poseidonia in Magna Grecia--formed a striking backdrop for the ceremony where premium Greek olive oils received 52 of the awards. [Update: guide to winners now available.*]

a donkey or mule carrying burlap bags full of harvested olives in a hilly olive grove

Greek extra virgin olive oils won 39 quality awards at the TerraOlivo Mediterranean International Olive Oil Competition this year. TerraOlivo CEO Eyal Hasson praised Greeks’ “great performance this year” in competition with 506 samples of oil from 20 countries. Some of the top Greek winners discussed their olive oil, olive variety, location, and “secrets.”

Part of a bottle of Kyklopas Early Harvest extra virgin olive oil on the right, next to olive oil on a slice of white bakery bread on the left

In 2018, three Greek olive oil companies won awards or distinctions at four prestigious international olive oil competitions in Italy that honor an unusually small number of olive oils. This acclaim for Kyklopas, Pamako, and Argali confirms once again that Greek extra virgin olive oils belong in the kitchens of the most discerning cooks and chefs.

Dominique Perrot and Gabriel Malet considering different olive oils at the tasting day

What do the Spanish embassy chef, an Italian olive oil producer, the Lebanese ambassador, a Japanese woman living in Athens, and the former chef for the late French president François Mitterrand have in common? An olive oil tasting day in Athens for the 242 award winning extra virgin olive oils at the Athena International Olive Oil Competition (ATHIOOC).

Three different bottles of Goutis Estate olive oil

At the London International Olive Oil Competitions this year, 16 judges from 11 countries evaluated the quality of 426 olive oils from 21 countries around the globe. Greek extra virgin olive oils won 99 Quality Awards. In the International Health Claim and Design competitions, Greeks won another 25 awards for extra healthy oils and exceptional packaging.

Olive Japan sign with logo

At Olive Japan this year, Greek extra virgin olive oils won 20 Gold Medals and 25 Silvers in a tough competition with 727 entries from 22 countries. Impressed by the increased number and quality of samples from Greece, competition director Toshiya Tada noticed “many wonderful oils from Greece” and suggested more of them deserved to be popular in Japan.

green olives on a tree, with a gloved hand grasping a branch

At the 3rd Athena International Olive Oil Competition (IOOC) in Delphi last month, Greek extra virgin olive oils competed with 359 samples from 12 countries, 52% of them from outside of Greece. 20 olive oil experts from 11 countries awarded Greek olive oils 1 Double Gold Medal, 23 Golds, 53 Silvers, and 30 Bronze Medals, plus a number of special awards.

three tins of Mythocia olive oil with olive tree drawings on them

In one of the world’s largest, most important organic extra virgin olive oil competitions, judges from 14 countries awarded Greek olive oils 5 Extra Gold Medals, 10 Gold Medals, and 12 Silver Medals. After competing with 500 olive oils from 15 nations in this 23rd edition of the BIOL competition in Italy, Greek winners commented on their success.

Eftychis Androulakis accepting his gold award from Manolis Chnaris

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.

The audience for the Kotinos awards ceremony

The Filaios Olive Oil Society, organizers of the third Kotinos Quality Competition for packed, branded extra virgin olive oils, presented awards and honorable mentions to 39 Greek olive oils at the Food Expo on March 11 at the Metropolitan Expo Center near the Athens airport. A number of olive oil varieties from several different Greek regions were awarded.

An huge, ancient olive tree at Yanni's Olive Grove

Competing with 658 extra virgin olive oils (EVOOs) from 371 producers representing 19 countries, Greek EVOOs took home numerous quality and design awards at this year’s Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition. Several of the top Greek winners explained what this means to them and how they managed to produce such excellent olive oils. 

Unripe green olives growing on a branch in Lesvos

Selected Greek extra virgin olive oils have been recognized as some of the most highly awarded olive oils in the world because of their success in international olive oil competitions in 2017. Greek olive oil companies view these distinctions as an affirmation of their teams’ hard work, passion, and continuous endeavors to produce high quality olive oil.

Mythocia Olympia and Mythocia Omphacium olive oil bottles, with olive oil flowing down behind them

Six Greek early harvest organic extra virgin olive oils won prizes at the first international competition of the 2017/18 harvest year in the northern hemisphere, Biolnovello, in early December. Greek extra virgin olive oils captured two silver awards and four extra golds at this competition, which will be followed by the BIOL International Prize in March.

Athena IOOC judges outside, in front of olive groves and hills in Messinia, Greece

The Athena International Olive Oil Competition was created by the first woman wine sommelier in Greece, who decided olive oil deserved as much attention as wine, and a former Paris urban planner who fell in love with wine in the City of Light. Maria Katsouli and Constantine Stergides are now “trying to bring [their] knowledge about wine to olive oil.”

Emmanouil Chnaris, Eleftheria Germanaki, and Moshe Spak on the podium at the Terra Olivo Awards ceremony

At the Terra Olivo Mediterranean International Olive Oil Competition in Jerusalem this year, 632 olive oils from 20 different countries were evaluated by judges from 7 nations. Even in the face of tough competition among 65 different varieties from 80 producing areas, Greek extra virgin olive oils received 34 awards, including 4 Grand Prestige Golds.

Eleni Zotou of Golden Tree Olive Oil receiving her award from Dr. Magda Tsolaki

On May 11, the second annual Olympia Health & Nutrition Awards ceremony took place in Athens, Greece. With 800 samples of olive oil from Greece, Spain, Italy, USA, Croatia, and Cyprus evaluated solely on the basis of their health benefits, 50 Gold Awards were presented to producers of extra healthy olive oil with over 1000 mg/kg of phenolic compounds.

Stefanos Kales accepting Kasell's prize from chef Maria Loi

In Málaga, Spain in May, the Health Matters International Convention included the 4th Congress of the Oleocanthal International Society and the awards ceremonies for the World Best Healthy EVOO Contest and the Health and Food Awards. Scientists discussed research, and some of the world’s healthiest olive oils, including three from Greece, received awards.

Eleni Melliou, Pantelis Fanourgakis, and Prokopios Magiatis at the London IOOC Awards Ceremony

For the first time, an established mainstream international olive oil competition (IOOC) included not only quality and design contests, but also a health claim competition focused on olive oils’ health benefits as well as their taste. The competition was the 2017 London IOOC, where many Greek extra virgin olive oils were recognized for their merits.

Terra Creta's olive mill building surrounded by olive groves in Crete

At this year’s second edition of the Domina International Olive Oil Competition in Palermo, Italy, 26 of the 347 entries from 19 countries were Greek extra virgin olive oils. Samples were analyzed by 20 judges from 9 countries, and an impressive 70% of the Greek olive oils received Gold or Silver medals, even in this difficult harvest year.

Andreas Papaspyrou looking at Papa's Grove olive oil in a supermarket

Competing with 611 entries from 21 countries in a harvest year plagued by weather problems, Greek olive oils managed to capture 1 Gold Medal and 26 Silver Medals at the Olive Japan International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition, a prestigious competition that emphasizes fairness and accuracy while providing visibility for companies in the Asian market.

Four Pamako olive oil bottles in a forest, with logos and words about BIOL prizes they won

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.

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