21 Nov

Recognition for best olive oil

By Rasheeda Bhagat,

The Mario Solinas awards for the best extra virgin olive oil, constituted by the International Olive Oil Council were given away at its headquarters in Madrid on November 15.

Each year the competition, widely known as the “Oscars in the world of olive oil” are getting more entries – this year a record number of 73 entries were received from the IOC member countries, compared with 50 last year.

The entries are assessed for organoleptic qualities by recognised tasting panels and an international jury of expert tasters. That all the entries received had “flawless organoleptic qualities, showed the quality commitment of producers, packers and distributors,” IOC’s Executive Director, Habib Essid, said distributing the prices.

The first prize for intense fruitiness went to S.C.A Virgen Del Castillo, Spain, for medium fruitiness to Rafteli-Protouli M. Co, Greece, and slight fruitiness to Sociedae Agricola Do Monte Novo, Portugal.

Essid said the aim of the IOC in holding the annual international competition is to highlight the expertise of the producers, packers and distributors in making extra virgin olive oils with “absolutely impeccable organoleptic characteristics. It thus responds to their desire to compete in demonstrating their skills in obtaining prime quality extra virgin olive oils. Another objective is to make consumers aware of the array of tastes and aromas of the extra virgin olive oils present in the marketplace”.

He said there was an increasing interest among olive oil producers, packers and distributors to enter a host of national and international competitions. “This is a sign of the flourishing dynamism of the olive oil profession, which is committed to quality.”

IOC Standards
In this competition, the organoleptic characteristics of taste and smell were measured in accordance with criteria such as free acidity, peroxide value, absorbance. Also, according to IOC trade standards, the oil should be fruity, free from sensory defects and comply with specified chemical parameters.

Interestingly, ‘fruitiness’ is defined as the set of olfactory sensations perceived directly or indirectly, but can vary thanks to the variety of the olives, land, climate, skilled orchard management, fruit harvesting and oil extraction. The sooner the picked olives are sent to the mill for crushing, the better the quality of the olive produced from the crushed fruits.

“It is this multiplicity of tastes and smells, which makes olive oil so attractive to consumers on the lookout for taste sensations suited to every meal,” Essid said, adding that the winners scored on the “harmony of sensations”.

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