EVO IOOC

2020

'EVO International' Contest Bestows Record Number of Awards in Italy

Italian and Spanish producers were among the big winners at the EVO International Olive Oil Contest.

 

A record number of prizes were handed out at the 2020 EVO International Olive Oil Contest (EVO-IOOC), which concluded with an award presentation in Palmi.

The organizers chose to hold the event in the main square of the Calabrian town in order to comply with local safety regulations, which were put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“This edition of EVO-IOOC was definitely different from the previous ones, more demanding, but in many ways very gratifying,” the president of the competition, Antonio G Lauro, told Olive Oil Times. “The complex preparation of the event was paid back by the support and encouragement of the producers who joined our quality project.”

Over the course of the competition, 449 different extra virgin olive oils, including 42 flavored oils, were sampled by the team of 25 judges, all of whom participated from their home countries. The results were live streamed from a mobile recording studio.

“In an uncertain world scenario that we could have never imagined, producers faced new difficulties and challenges and yet created new ways to promote and distribute their excellent [products],” Lauro said. “It is also for this reason that we have not stopped the competition and managed to better adapt it to the current situation.”

Among the various winners, selected by category and hemisphere, three Italian and two Spanish companies received best in class awards for the Northern Hemisphere.

Brazilian producers earned three best in class awards. A Greek producer was awarded for the best international flavored extra virgin olive oil.

“These recognitions reward us for the work done and are confirmation of our commitment to quality over the years,” said Franco Scisci, who received two gold medals and a prize for the best international organic in the North Hemisphere.

“Despite the difficult situation, over the last months we have been able to continue our normal work in the olive grove,” the Apulian farmer said. “Also, we have seen a growing interest among consumers, and this suggests that habits are still changing and more attention is given to quality products.”

 

The complete list of winners can be found on the EVO-IOOC website.


2019

Italian Producers Lead the Way at Fourth EVO IOOC

The fourth edition of the EVO International Olive Oil Contest (EVO-IOOC) concluded with an award ceremony held on June 1 in the City Council Hall of Palmi, a landmark of the Violet Coast, in Calabria.

The resort, located in the southern end of the Tyrrhenian shoreline, was the beautiful backdrop to the competition that celebrates some of the world’s best extra virgin olive oils and flavored olive oils.

It is a great satisfaction to have obtained such recognition after a complicated campaign. This award is the results of considerable efforts by all of us.

- Marcello Palumbo, of the Sololio cooperative

“The EVO-IOOC 2019 has been a real challenge, which was eventually won by producers determined to achieve the highest quality in spite of everything,” Antonio G. Lauro, the president of competition and native of the Violet Coast, said. “An excellent quality has compensated the decline in production suffered by countries like Italy, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, and Brazil.”

Lauro added that it was “an extremely difficult year, that put a strain on many farms, turned out to be excellent in terms of quality, as shown by the prizes awarded in the competition.”

The final event of the contest was opened by the general manager Stefania Reggio, who revealed the figures of this edition, which received 431 entries from 17 countries. Italy won the most prizes with 121 medals, including three Best in Class awards, followed by Greece, with 50 medals and Spain, with 39. Portugal earned 20 medals, followed by Turkey, with 19, Argentina and Brazil, both won 12 and 11 medals, respectively.

Among the award-winning producers, Consuelo Garzo, who manage the Dolciterre farm in Seminara, Calabria, with her sisters Alessia and Maria Rosa, pointed out that “these awards come at the end of a challenging season as a recognition of a strong commitment.”

With their Ottobratica they earned the Gaetano Avallone special award for the Best Italian Monovarietal.

“Our olive grove is composed of 80 percent secular plants of this autochthonous cultivar,” she said, after receiving the prize along with other recognitions for their ‘Rosì’ and Olio di Calabria PGI.

“It is even more exciting to celebrate the quality of our extra virgin olive oils here in our land,” she added.

Overall, 259 monovarietals in the competition accounted for 64 percent of samples, representing 150 different cultivars, while products with designations of geographical origin were 20 percent of entries.

The high quality of the extra virgin olive oils required four days of intense work carried out by an international panel composed by Aida Lazzez (Tunisia), Birsen Can Pehlivan (Turkey), Ehud Soriano (Israel), Cristina Stribacu, Eleftheria Germanaki and Kostas Liris (Greece), Miciyo Yamada, Hiromi Nakamura and Nori Ogido (Japan), Na Xie (China), Javier Sànchez Pedròs, Juan Baseda Torruella and M Ángeles Calvo Fandos (Spain), Francisco Ataíde Pavão (Portugal), Carmelo Orlando, Roberto Marchesini, Rosario Franco and Indra Galbo (Italy).

“It is a great satisfaction to have obtained such recognition after a complicated campaign,” Marcello Palumbo, who is in charge of production at the Sololio cooperative in Ostuni, Puglia, said. “Our Delia Audace is a blend of Frantoio, Coratina, and Cassanese produced from the olive trees managed by my wife, Mimma, and her sisters, Dina and Carmela Bruno.”

“This award is the results of considerable efforts by all of us,” he added.

Gold Medals went also to the lemon and orange flavored olive oils produced in Greece by Peter Liokareas.

“It was a great recognition for our company,” he said after receiving awards including a Gold Medal and a Silver Medal for ‘Wild,’ a blend of wild olives and Koroneiki and ‘Early Harvest,’ a Koroneiki monovarietal.

“I live in the U.S. and frequently travel to Greece to manage our olive trees, which are taken care of by my family,” he added, introducing his cousin Fotios, who had just arrived from Peloponnese. “This year the humid climate favored outbreak of pests such as the olive fruit fly and we lost part of production, but we worked very hard to try to do the best with the fruits that we have saved and, these awards, received at the end of such a hard season are even more special for us.”

The complete list of winners is available on the competition website.


2018

EVO International Contest Concludes with Paestum Ceremony

EVO International Contest Concludes with Paestum Ceremony

The contest, founded by Antonio G. Lauro, concluded with an awards ceremony among ancient Greek temples.

The Archaeological Park of Paestum and its magnificent temples became the setting for the award ceremony of the third edition of the EVO International Olive Oil Contest led by Antonio G. Lauro. On May 19, the UNESCO World Heritage Site hosted producers, journalists and olive oil enthusiasts who discovered the winners of the competition among its 502 entries.

The celebration highlighted the theme of the contest with respect to the millennia-old temples. “The choice of the location was strongly desired by the EVO-IOOC management team,” said Lauro, who created the event with Stefania Reggio. “Here, you can breathe the history and feel that olive oil was and continues to be the link between yesterday and tomorrow.”

The mayor of Capaccio Paestum, Franco Palumbo, and the deputy mayor, Teresa Palmieri, welcomed the competition which was made possible thanks to the director of the archaeological area of Paestum, Gabriel Zuchtriegel, the organization of producers UNASCO, the IP consulting company Barzanò & Zanardo, the Mondini Rusconi Law Firm, the company Clemente Costruzioni Meccaniche, the Savoy Beach Hotel in Paestum and the Association of tasters Oleum.

An international panel of judges analyzed oils from 20 producing countries, many of which came from Greece, Spain and Turkey. During the ceremony, a special mention went to an extra virgin olive oil from war-torn Syria.

Fifty-five percent of the oils evaluated in the competition were monovarietal, as 156 different olive cultivars were presented. About 45 percent of participants came from Italy, with a major presence from Puglia and Calabria. 305 medals, 173 Gold and 132 Silver, were awarded.

Three Italian companies from Tuscany, Sicily and Campania, and two from Greece and Spain were awarded the Best in Class North Hemisphere. Among these, Domenico Bonanno produced an excellent extra virgin olive oil in Campobello di Mazzara, in the province of Trapani.

“We are delighted with these awards,” Bonanno said after receiving two Gold Medals with the extra virgin olive oils Passione e Riserva. “Work is increasing every year but we have been helped by a great season, exceptional from the climatic point of view, which has allowed us to obtain an excellent production of the highest quality confirmed by these recognitions.”

The Southern Hemisphere was dominated by Brazil with three Best in Class. “It was with great happiness that we received the awards at the EVO-IOOC, which was the first contest that we have ever entered with our olive oil,” said André Secco of Café Fazenda Sertãozinho LTDA, in Minas Gerais. “We started planting in 2009 and we have been improving our production and processes year by year. These awards mean that we are on the right track and that it is possible for Brazil to produce quality olive oil.”

The complete list of the winners is available on the event’s website.


2017

Lauro’s Olive Oil Contest Moves to Salerno

The EVO International Olive Oil Contest was presented during a press conference at the National Archaeological Museum of Paestum, and now producers can sign up to the third edition of the competition conceived and directed by the renowned taster Antonio G. Lauro.

EVO is not only an Italian acronym to designate extra virgin olive oil, but more importantly on this occasion it stands for evolution.

- Antonio G. Lauro

EVO-IOOC, organized by Lauro and VINAR SA Argentina, with the collaboration of the association Oleum and Voglia di Viaggiare Eventi, will culminate in a series of events leading up to an award ceremony which will take place in Capaccio Paestum, in the province of Salerno, May 14-19 2018.

“EVO is not only an Italian acronym to designate the extra virgin olive oil, but more importantly on this occasion it stands for evolution,” said the president of the contest. “The event evolved, and we moved from Sicily to Campania, while enhancing the management and enriching the program,” pointed out Lauro who, after the success of the first two editions of the D-IOOC, brought his competition’s format to the olive-growing territory of Cilento.

The EVO-IOOC is finalizing its agenda which will include happenings both on-site and at an international level, organizers said. “We already planned activities such as ‘EVO Kids’ and ‘EVO Teen’ dedicated to children and teenagers, workshops for producers, and tourist activities that will be conducted in archeological sites,” Lauro pointed out, mentioning that in Paestum there are three of the most well-preserved ancient Greek temples. He anticipated that the closing ceremony will take place in a still-secret suggestive location.

Antonio G. Lauro

“We received the appreciation of Italian and international organizations which now become institutional and technical partners of the event,” said Lauro, specifying that organizing the competition in the town of Capaccio Paestum was possible thanks to the willingness of local institutions.

“The city council immediately agreed to be a partner of the project. Mayor, Franco Palumbo and deputy mayor, Teresa Palmieri, who are both olive-growers, expressed their enthusiasm in supporting this competition as a vehicle for promoting high-quality productions of the territory, boosting the supply chain and improving the education of young people,” Lauro affirmed.

Extra virgin olive oils from around the world will be assessed by an international panel. Twenty professional tasters will choose the best products of several categories including, organic, monovarietal, blend, an “International Award” and PDOs/PGIs, the first four being subdivided into Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere. Also, gold and silver medals will be awarded and a special prize will go to the best EVOO from Campania.

“The work of the panel will be summarized in a buyers guide, which will illustrate the sensory profiles of the winning extra virgin olive oils, and will be presented at international fairs and events, including ACCIGusto in Tokyo, where we will launch the Japanese version,” said the managing director, Stefania Reggio.

“We want to give visibility to producers with a contest founded on the professionalism of the staff and the experience of judges. The competition evolved also through the organization of interesting and useful seminars,” she explained, referring to a workshop on web marketing and a talk that will be given by the law firm Barzanò & Zanardo on the importance of intellectual property and what it means to register a trademark.

“We set up tasting sessions and already scheduled an event with our sponsor Alfa Pizza to talk about the main elements of the Mediterranean diet like flour, mozzarella, tomato and extra virgin olive oil,” Reggio revealed. “Other events will be confirmed in the coming days. Several activities will be dedicated to producers and even more to consumers.”

Olive oil producers can register for the EVO-IOOC on the organization’s website.


195 Awardes at 'Domina' Olive Oil Contest

The second edition of the Domina International Olive Oil Contest concluded with the three-day event on May 7 in the beautiful scenery of Domina Zagarella Sicily Hotel, in Palermo.

 

We believe in quality and in defending the biodiversity, and with this competition, we also try to protect hundreds of minor varieties produced by small, medium and large producers.

- Antonio G. Lauro, D‑IOOC President

 

The final session of the contest was opened by its president, Antonio G. Lauro, with Stefania Reggio and David Oddsson. After a tribute to the memory of Raul C. Castellani, Lauro gave the green light to judges for their evaluation of 347 entries. Twenty tasters from Spain, Palestine, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Japan, Israel, China and Turkey analyzed samples from 19 countries.

Speaking of the other numbers of the contest, the panel members assessed the profile of ninety-nine different monovarietals, which comprised 60 percent of the entries.

A total of 195 medals — 95 Gold and 100 Silver — were awarded to companies participating in this second edition of the D‑IOOC.

Italy led at the podium with 95 medals (55 Gold and 40 Silver), followed by Spain with 27 medals (17 Gold, 10 Silver) and Greece with 18 medals (5 Gold and 13 Silver), then Turkey (3 Gold Medals and 7 Silver Medals) and Argentina (2 Gold Medals and 7 Silver Medals). Moreover, recognitions went to Palestine, Brazil and South Africa.

“Producers are pleased to have participated in this ‘Italian-international’ contest,” said the president of D‑IOOC, Antonio G. Lauro. “In addition to its prestige, they appreciated the reliability of the rules, the high level of tasters and the independence of the supervisors who come from both hemispheres,” he pointed out, adding that the D‑IOOC aspires to become the most important contest in the Mediterranean area. 

The number of participants and the style of the competition were grounds for satisfaction, said D‑IOOC managing director, Stefania Reggio. “We have the goal of giving producers useful tools to promote their products,” she explained. “We organized various activities, including a marketing workshop, and we participated in the international food fair Tuttofood in Milan, where producers met international importers. Also, we have many other ideas for the next edition.” 

 

 “This award made us proud, especially since our company is young,” said Donato Conserva, who won the Best International Award Northern Hemisphere with Mimì. “In our second year of activity, this international recognition encouraged us to work harder and better.” He explained that it was a complicated season with a drop in quantity, and much work was needed in the olive grove to obtain a high-quality extra virgin olive oil. 

 “This award is a recognition of our commitment to producing a great Coratina, a native variety of our territory, characterized by distinctive but harmonious bitterness and pungency and high polyphenol content,” said Conserva.

 

"It was important to be rewarded in this contest, with the high number of quality oils that competed,” Cristina Stribacu observed. “In Messenia, we produced the monovarietal Koroneiki Liá and we are even happier for the Gold Medal we received, considering the difficult season we had to face.”

She described their extra virgin olive oil as a medium-fruity, of great complexity with hints of green banana, artichoke, wild

fennel and aromatic herbs, and balanced bitterness and pungency that recall pink pepper. “In addition to the attention paid to the management of the olive grove, we usually carry out an early harvest to achieve the highest quality,” she added.

Here the Top 10 of the international and territorial awards: 

Domina International Olive Oil Contest 2017

Best International Award 2017 Northern Hemisphere: Azienda Agricola Donato Conserva — Mimì Coratina (Italy)

Best International Award 2017 Southern Hemisphere: Solfrut Sa — Oliovita Edición Limitada Picual (Argentina)

Best International Monovarietal 2017 Northern Hemisphere: Almaz. De La Subbetica — Rincon De La Subbetica Dop Priego De Cordoba (Spain)

Best International Monovarietal 2017 Southern Hemisphere: Verde Louro Azeites Ltda — Verde Louro Arbosana (Brazil) 

Best International Blend 2017 Northern Hemisphere: Muelalives Sl — Venta Del Baron Aceite De Oliva Virgen Extra (Spain)

Best International Blend 2017 Southern Hemisphere: Agroland Sa — Colinas De Garzón Olio Novo 2016 (Uruguay)

Best International Organic 2017 Northern Hemisphere: Domenica Fiore — Olio Reserva (Italy)

Best International Dop/Igp 2017 Northern Hemisphere: Frantoio Franci — Bio Igp Toscano (Italy)

Best Of Regione Sicilia 2017: Frantoi Cutrera — Primo Dop (Italy)

Best of South America Special Award Raul C. Castellani 2017: Trilogía — Aceite De Oliva Virgen Extra (Argentina)

Best of Turkey 2017: Zeytindostu İktisadi İşletmesi — Öveçli (Izmir)

Best of Crete 2017: Terra Creta — Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Kolymvari Chania)

You can check out the full list of winners on the D‑IOOC website.

 

“We do not have stereotypes about the world olive oil production. Whether it is green or ripe, from the north or south, a rare or a widespread variety — we treat every extra virgin olive oil with the respect they deserve,” Lauro remarked. “We believe in quality and in defending the biodiversity, and with this competition, we also try to protect hundreds of minor varieties produced by small, medium and large producers.”


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.

As Ylenia Granitto reported in Olive Oil Times, ninety-nine different varieties of extra virgin olive oils (EVOOs) competed in this competition, reflecting competition president Antonio G. Lauro’s interest in biodiversity and the “hundreds of minor varieties produced by small, medium and large producers” in various parts of the world.

Greek judge Eleftheria Germanaki told Greek Liquid Gold she was pleased that “a significant percentage of Greek EVOOs were awarded, an indication that Greek producers are improving their knowledge about the quality aspects of our precious product.” Germanaki added that for Crete, “my island, the percentage of awarded samples was historically high, reaching 85%,” a success rate she attributes to educational efforts at the Cretan Olive Oil Competition, seminars on chemical and organoleptic olive oil quality, and organoleptic evaluation laboratories on the island.

Terra Creta SA in Kolymvari, Chania, Crete was this year’s top Greek winner at the Domina Competition, earning a Gold Medal for Terra Creta Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a Silver Medal for Terra Creta Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and the special Best of Crete Award. Terra Creta’s Emmanouil Karpadakis told Greek Liquid Gold that his team appreciates this “recognition for our efforts” and “expects a positive effect on our exports.”  

Terra Creta adds these honors to a long list of awards for both taste and health benefits from international competitions in various countries. Karpadakis commented that they considered it “an interesting challenge” to compete in Italy, judged by a “highly-skilled panel of judges.” They were ready for this challenge after “hard work with our farmers and agronomists, with attention to the smallest detail,” as well as cooperation with certified laboratories that provided them with valuable knowledge about both chemical and organoleptic aspects of their EVOOs.

Terra Creta’s attention to detail extends to the certified baskets they convinced their farmers to use for harvested olives instead of the traditional burlap bags, in order to better protect olives from premature crushing and overheating during transportation to the mill. This is just one example of the company’s ongoing support for the farmers they work with and their use of innovation to achieve high quality products. Karpadakis emphasizes that Terra Creta is also dedicated to both sustainability and excellent service to meet the needs of the global market.

A new Cretan olive oil company, EllinDor Private Company, also won one of the Greek Gold Medals, adding to their list of awards this year. The Gerakianakis siblings, Aristos, Michail, Stefanos, and Maria, told Greek Liquid Gold they appreciate this “constant verification of our efforts, our sacrifices, and our work,” noting that they were pleased to join the Domina competition in “highlighting the value of extra virgin olive oil as an important part of the Mediterranean diet.”

The Gerakianakis family ascribes their “excellent result” to “dedication, sacrifice, care, persistence, patience, toil,” and sharing “a piece of their soul” with their product to give it meaning. They explained, “We have been taught to take care of the olive trees and the olive oil as one of our 'children' which is in constant need of our love and care. And that's what we are doing.”

EllinDor’s story began with their grandfather Gerakianakis. “He was an especially educated and intelligent individual, and he managed to teach us his passion and dedication for the cultivation of the land and his love for its blessed products, the gifts of the Hellenic land, as he used to say. Driven by his words and his passion,” his grandchildren decided to help “spread the wealth and the treasure of the Hellenic land by founding EllinDor.” EllinDor's name comes from the Greek words that describe that treasure and mean “Gifts from the Hellenic land.”

Another multi-award-winning Greek company, Oliorama & Co GP, won a Gold Medal for their Oliorama Exclusive Bio EVOO, after winning Gold Medals at the New York and Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competitions. Oliorama’s Maria Spiliakopoulou told Greek Liquid Gold that her company’s olive oil comes “from the region of Ancient Olympia, with some of the best farmland in Greece.” Oliorama entered the Domina competition because of their “respect for Antonio Lauro and his contribution to the recognition of excellent quality olive oils.”

Although they have won numerous awards, the Oliorama team does not rest on their laurels. As Spiliakopoulou explained, “improving ourselves each year is a necessity for us, and that is why we are extra careful, strict, and faithful regarding our quality. Every single part of the process has to be perfect. Our aim is to continue the tradition of our parents and grandparents by bringing a classic taste into a modern form,” taking into consideration various “environmental, cultural and geological elements.”

Their company name describes their focus: “olio” is Latin for “oil,” and "orama" means “vision” in Greek. As Spiliakopoulou told Greek Liquid Gold, “our vision is to offer our friends the purity and excellent taste of high quality Greek products.” With their list of awards growing, they have new friends around the world. 

 

 

The Complete List of Award Winning Greek Olive Oils

at the Domina International Olive Oil Competition (IOOC)

Greek Gold Medals at the Domina IOOC 2017

Ellindor Private Company, Ellindor Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Lia Cultivators, Lia Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Oliorama & Co GP, Oliorama Exclusive Bio Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Osis Koropoulis G. & Sia E. E., Maleas Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Terra Creta SA, Terra Creta Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Greek Silver Medals at the Domina IOOC 2017

Greek Heritage Foods Llc, Elaeon Non Organic

Greek Heritage Foods Llc, Elaeon Organic

Greka Icons S.A., Navarino Icons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Kidonakis Bros., Oleum Crete

Kolymvarian Exports, Liostalia

Olivelawon I X Kampouris E. E., E-La-Won Green Fresh

Olympus Olive Oil, Olympus Olive Oil

Papadopoulos Olive Oil & Co, Mythocia Olympia PGI Organic

Papadopoulos Olive Oil & Co, Mythocia Olympia PGI

Terra Creta SA, Terra Creta Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Vassilakis Estate, Charisma Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Yanni’s Olive Grove, Yanni’s Family

Yanni’s Olive Grove, Yanni’s Finest


2016

'Domina' Contest Debuts in Palermo

A new contest dedicated to extra virgin olive oils was held in Palermo with 300 entrees.

May. 26, 2016

By Ylenia Granitto

 

 “Everyone fell in love with the newborn Domina International Olive Oil Contest,” said the president and panel leader Antonio G. Lauro. “Over 300 olive oil companies believed in us as well as the Sicilian academia, the professional tasters called to judge the olive oils and all the olive oil enthusiasts who came to Palermo to experience the new event.”

The competition, held May 13 – 17 in Palermo, Sicily, consisted of three days of assessment. The intense work was made easier by the high level of 16 tasters from 8 countries, selected to represent consumers around the world.

Lauro pointed out that the success of the contest was the result of the collaboration between professionals called to design the event. I would like to thank the general director of sales and marketing at Domina Hotels, David Oddsson and the general director of D‑IOOC Stefania Reggio; the technical director Raul Castellani; the director of sample room Leonardo Castellani and the director of tastings Davide V. Lauro.”

 

“The contest came after big international events, like the New York International Olive Oil Competition, and many of the great EVOOs that had success there arrived at the Domina-IOOC, making the selection more challenging as they represented the best expression of world extra virgin olive oils,” Lauro affirmed.

“The very high level increased the commitment laid down with the companies at the time of their registration, which consists in acting in the supreme interest of those who have worked for one year to create these valuable olive oil production.”

D‑IOOC was not only a competition, it encompassed gastronomy, tourism, tastings and divulgation with special programs dedicated to olive oil enthusiasts end experts.

The final awards ceremony gave emphasis to the winners that you can find on the contest website.


2015

An International Competition in Sicily

Next May, Southern Italy will host the Domina International Olive Oil Contest led by Antonio Lauro.

By LUCIANA SQUADRILLI on October 9, 2015 Filed in Olive Oil Times Fairs and Competitions.


The olive oil taster and consultant Antonio Lauro has for years believed that Southern Italy — including the famous olive oil-producing regions such as Calabria, Apulia and Sicily — was in need of its very own high-profile olive oil competition.

Now he says it will have just that, with Lauro at the helm of the new Domina International Olive Oil Contest (D-IOOC) to be held from May 13-17, 2016 in Palermo, Sicily.

I have always thought that Southern Italy had to host its own competition and that it had to be a relevant one,” Lauro said. “There are some other awards such as Sirena d’Oro or Biol, but they are limited to specific categories, such as the Italian PDO or organic oils.

This first edition will only be the beginning of a new process of involvement and positive debate for producers. - Antonio Lauro

Lauro said he aims for the new contest to become “the main European extra virgin olive oil competition,” open to Northern and Southern Hemisphere products and with five different categories: extra virgin olive oil, organic, PDO, single variety and blends.

His partners in this venture include Vinar, an Argentinian consulting company run by Raúl Castellani and his son Leonardo, who already manage other international competitions in Israel and Argentina, and the Domina hotel brand, which owns a number of properties located in Italy, including Milan, Palermo, Venice and Positano.

The Domina Milano Fiera Hotel will host the launch press conference on the October 23, to meet the national and international press gathered in Milan for the last week of Expo 2015.

The beautiful Domina Coral Bay Santa Flavia, a few kilometers from Palermo, will host the competition and related events including guided tastings, a scientific conference dedicated to “oil, nutrition and health,” and a gala dinner and award ceremony.

On the last day, it will also be possible for attendees to taste the short-listed samples.

According to the organization about 200 samples are expected, mainly hailing from the Mediterranean area (Spain, Portugal, France, Turkey, Ciprus, Malta, Greece and Italy) and from the Middle East (Israel, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank) but also from Overseas and the Southern Hemisphere, including North and South America and South Africa.

The jury will include Lauro himself, Barbara Alfei and Indra Galbo from Italy, Selin Ertür from Turkey, Brigida Jimènez from Spain, Cristina Stribacu from Greece, Miciyo Yamada from Japan and Taghreed Mohamed A. Shehadeh from Palestine.

Among the key points to distinguish D-IOOC from many other competitions, Lauro suggested, are the different relationships to be established within the participating producers, and an emphasis on the touristic potential of the event.

On the first point, Lauro said, “We hope that this first edition will only be the beginning of a new process of involvement and positive debate for producers. We want to invite them to join us for a four-day, full immersion of interaction, exchanges and reciprocity.

When the Domina management told me they were interested in the food and wine field, and that they wanted to aim for quality both for their usual offer and for new kinds of events, I immediately realized they were the ideal partner for the competition since they are an innovative, dynamic and proactive company,” Lauro said.

Illustrating the point, the hotel will be creating a specific “olive oil enthusiast” package to give visitors the chance to partake in the competition by joining tastings, conferences and meetings, while enjoying the breathtaking beauty of the Sicilian island.