Listen to this article
Olive oil is in fashion, the culture of olive oil is slowly but surely reaching every home in the world. Chefs are, little by little, becoming aware that Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) can be one of the great raw materials they can have in their kitchens and restaurants. We find some restaurants that are distinguished by the use of menus with outstanding extra virgin olive oils.
In today's society, and thanks to the rise of the Mediterranean diet and concern for well-being and health, we see that the sales of healthy products have increased, as well as products based on organic farming or certified as organic. This combination of increasing olive oil culture, added to the concern for healthy products, makes us aware of the importance of one of the healthiest fats in the world.
At ESAO, Olive Oil School of Spain, we started training with virgin olive oil tasting courses. The result and the evolution of these courses was surprising, in fact we had to, in the framework of two years, continue training the students in tasting with a higher degree. We quickly saw that the interest was high and the demand has been growing to this day.
The vast majority of the distributors and marketers who were trained by ESAO, continue requesting us information about the best EVOOs in the world, the best EVOOs in Spain or the best EVOOs in Italy, Portugal, Greece, etc.
To provide information to our students or interested parties, the technical direction of the school was based mainly on the EVOO samples that arrived at ESAO, and the samples that were of interest to us according to various criteria such as: that they were winners of the Ministry's competitions and the IOC.
Seeing that the interest in knowing the best EVOOs in the world was growing, and that ESAO's criteria coincided on many occasions with the other two competitions of special interest, we decided to start the ESAO Awards competition. After a time of internal debate and creation of bases, in 2015 the ESAO Awards were born. The awards for the Best Olive Oil in the world.
To know the ESAO Awards, we have to know and know the importance given to the different prizea. The prizes your olive oil can obtain are the following:
Best International EVOO
The number one prize, aimed at bringing out the best extra virgin olive oils at an international level, it is nurtured by all participants from all countries that apply to this category. The prizes in this category will be taken from all the EVOOs that have been presented from each of the producing countries.
There will be a first, second and third place, at the same time that the winners of each country will be drawn, that is, from this category will also come the best EVOO from Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and so on with all the countries that have submitted samples.
Exceptionally, and due to the large number of EVOOs that are presented in the from Spain, the ESAO Awards differentiate between EVOOs presented by cooperatives and producers, and from each of them a first, second and third winner will come out, as well as their finalists. At the same time, the best EVOOs will also come out of here, by autonomous communities. That is, there will be some winning EVOOs for the best producer EVOO, the best cooperative EVOO and the best EVOO from each autonomous community that has been presented.
Best EVOO from Packager / Trader
To all those marketers from around the world who wish to present the EVOO that they pack and with which they work under their brands. In this way, the prizes for best packer or marketer will have its first, second and third place, as well as its finalists, who will be drawn from all the countries that participated in this category. Thus, the ESAO Awards are committed to the dissemination and scope of the culture of the best extra virgin olive oils that are currently being marketed in the world.
Local Variety Award
The Local Variety Award wants to give special importance to all those local or non-priority varieties, which are found in certain territories and which are part of the olive culture.
White olive variety. ESAO image bank.
As a concept, it is about varieties located in a single region, of little importance, although well known locally, and that normally do not give rise to regular plantations. These are unknown varieties and generally of particular agronomic difficulty, which sometimes tend to be uprooted or are replaced by other more profitable ones. In this category we want to reward the special interest and dedication of a company to preserve, conserve and disseminate these local varieties that are of special interest to ESAO.
Defending the particularities and idiosyncrasies of each variety increases the value of the olive grove and the culture of olive oil, preserving the diversity of the olive tree. The international olive heritage with which we find ourselves in the world must be preserved and the ESAO Awards will be a support to all those interested in maintaining this diversity of varieties.
The conception and implementation of significant changes in virgin olive oil, both in the product and in the process, marketing or organization of an olive oil company, will enter this category, with the purpose of improving results and in this way collaborate with the development of the olive sector.
It has a special importance for the sector, since it seeks to increase the value of olive oil, as well as to give the widest possible scope to its dissemination. Innovation is a great tool that arouses the interest of both the media and distributors and importers, as well as chefs, who will be able to surprise their readers, buyers or customers through olive oil.
Oliva Green Beer, ESAO Award Innovation 2019/20. ESAO image bank.
Best Olive Oil Seasoning
Best Olive Oil Seasoning arises from the need to accommodate both flavored EVOOs and all those products, which, based on olive oil, manage to accompany some foods.
There is no doubt that flavored EVOOs have been very well received by the end consumer. They are oils in demand and we consider that they are a good way to enter the houses of countries, especially non-producers or with very little olive oil culture.
We are seeing how there are countries where gastronomy based on extra virgin is complicated, and yet flavored oils are really catching on. We are committed to the progressive introduction of top-class extra virgin olive oils and perhaps one of the vehicles is these condiments and flavored oils.
Best Organic EVOO from Valencian Community
This prize aims to promote organic olive oils from the Valencian Community hand in hand with the Committee of Ecological Agriculture of the Valencian Community (CAECV), dedicated to the control, certification, representation, defense, research and promotion of organic products.. Selecting the best organic extra virgin olive oils is a good way to have the most environmentally friendly and olive groves located.
Media coverage, rankings and online sales
Through these prizea, the ESAO Awards contest aims to host and be a speaker for the best olive oils in the world, with awards that include the best olive oils from each Country, that is: Best Spanish extra virgin olive oils, Best Italian extra virgin olive oils, Best Greek extra virgin olive oils, Best Portuguese extra virgin olive oils, etc. To give the maximum diffusion to these awards, and to be recognized as the best oils in the world, the ESAO Awards are included in the ranking of the best olive oil competitions in the world.
The ESAO Awards winners and finalists are published in the ESAO Guide. The Guide has the best oils in the world, where the top positions in each of the categories of the most prestigious contests in the world will be reflected.
The Guide not only includes the ESAO Awards, but also the EVOOs awarded both in the Mario Solinas Contest of the International Olive Council and in the Spanish Food Awards contest of the Ministry of Agriculture.