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Marta González (Madrid, 1977) ten years ago came to the executive management of ESAO, the Olive Oil School of Spain, the training school for the olive sector, with maximum performance and which organizes the ESAO Awards.
What does the ESAO Awards Guide mean for you?
How did you come up with the idea of creating a guide to the ESAO Awards?
It is an idea that we have been working on for several years, practically since the first edition of the ESAO Awards. The consumer who wants to try high quality extra virgin faces a huge variety of brands with wonderful packaging but needs a guide. The "extra virgin" label, today, is not enough to buy excellence.
What would you advise all producers who are starting or who have been in the sector for a short time?
I would suggest them to start learning olive oil tasting. This is essential. It is the basis for knowing the product they are making. They need to know with professional criteria in which quality range they are working since, from there, they will be able to make strategic decisions on what markets to target, prices, if it is feasible to present themselves for awards, if they need to invest in the field, in machinery or in professionalization, etc.
What is the newest thing that the guide offers?
The guide compiles the three Awards that we currently consider the most prestigious and rigorous. We have not limited ourselves to including the ESAO Awards, but we also include the Mario Solinas Awards of the International Olive Council and the Food Awards of Spain of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
Do you think that the extra virgin olive oil awards are sufficiently valued by the final consumer?
There is still much ignorance on the part of the final consumer about the particularities of the oil world, including the Awards and distinctions. However, we are making great efforts in this regard and this guide is certainly a step forward.
What do you like most about an oil?
The surprise factor. When you approach an oil, you do not know what you are going to find, and it is a very wide world full of nuances. On the nose can appear from aromas of fruits, flowers, sweet notes to aromas of grass, fresh vegetables, nuts, etc and, again, the surprise appears when passing to the mouth, where the bitter, spicy ones can surprise by their absence, their presence or their elegance, for example.
There are great producers that are presented to the ESAO Awards, what would be the main ones?
The main ones are those that appear in the first positions :)
Something that you would say to all producers and consumers if you had them in front of you?
To the producers: congratulations on the great work they do, because behind each award-winning oil there is a huge job. I wish you much encouragement in the most difficult moments, which are many. I would tell them to keep going, to keep believing and remembering the moment when they decided to launch their commitment to quality. Don't be discouraged when it comes to selling, be creative and rely on ESAO, that's what we're here for.
To consumers: let them come closer to the exciting world of quality oils. Let them try, let them experiment. Remind them that extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is synonymous of health, preservation of the historical-cultural and gastronomic heritage. I would also suggest them to try different varieties, oils from different geographical areas that they give good EVOOs to their loved ones!
This guide collects the extra virgin olive oils awarded in the three most important competitions in the olive sector. In the ESAO GUIDE you can find:
- ESAO Stars, a recognition of the quality of the most awarded oils.
- The winners of the international competition Mario Solinas of the International Olive Council.
- The winners of the Food of Spain awards, of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of the Government of Spain and
- The winners at the ESAO Awards.
- Interviews with personalities from the olive sector.