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Aristoleo Awards 2016 at the ancient city of Olympia June 2, 2016
My name is Athan Gadanidis and this is the story of why I decided to conduct a new style of olive oil competition. I came to Greece 3 years ago and I was asked to write for oliveoiltimes.com because they needed fresh eyes and a fresh perspective to describe what was going on with the olive oil business in Greece.
My eyes saw only one thing that was interesting that was the discovery of the NMR method by Dr. Magiatis. I began to write almost exclusively about this because it was the most interesting thing happening; I could see it would change the olive oil industry not only in Greece but internationally.
At the same time the new EU 432/2012 health claim labeling regulation came into effect. These two events for me meant we could finally know which olive oils were truly the best and most health promoting.
I happened to write an article about the NY IOOC in which the Greek olive oils despite having the most entries (168) received the least percentage (21%) of medals. This brought up a lot of questions. Especially when I saw the large percentage of EVOOs that were judged to be defective. I tried to find out why. I knew some of the producers, they told me the same olive oil that was deemed to be defective in New York won a gold medal in Los Angeles. In fact, all the producers had the same story. From a variety of competitions. There seemed to be no objective standard for olive oil quality at the IOOCs.
How could the IOOCs claim to be helping the olive oil industry when they judge wrongly EVOOs to be defective? If on average 40% of the best EVOOs in the world that enter these IOOCs are defective, what does it say about the rest of the olive oils in the world? How is this good marketing?
So I began to investigate olive oil competitions and I noticed in 2016 the problem worsened. Greek entries at the NY IOOC increased over the previous year and we received even less awards… (11%) with 180 entries. Some say its because we do not know what we are doing, we do not pick them properly or know how to process them into olive oil. In my own experience I have met the producers and visited the olive mills they know exactly what they are doing. They are not sending defective olive oils to competitions. They conduct organoleptic tests here in Greece from IOC accredited panels before they incur the cost of sending their EVOO to competitions. Why spend $500 to send an olive oil if it is defective? It makes no sense.
This is when I decided to invent my own competition with more objective criteria. I chose the NMR method of measuring phenolic content by Dr. Magiatis and the organoleptic analysis by IOC approved Kalamata olive oil tasting lab in order to have the olive oils placed in categories of taste based on the average rating of bitter and peppery.
We would simply give the gold award to the olive oil that contained the most phenolic content in each category of over 5 average, between 4 and 5, 3 and 4 and 2 and 3. In three categories of traditional olive groves, organic and wild olive oils. For the first time we have created a wild olive oil category as well. We had only one entry but it was a very interesting one.
Being our first year and with little advertising we received 27 entries. Out of these we found only 2 EVOOs with defects. One of EVOOs the producer had suspicions so it was no surprise and the 0ther the news came as a shock. Less than 4% of the olive oils submitted were judged to have defects!. The fact that some of these organoleptic taste analysis took place in some instances after 7 months after harvest makes this even more significant.
The big question that needs to be answered by the IOOCs of the world if they are truly interested in discovering the best olive oils is:
Why is it that when we conduct the organoleptic taste analysis under the strictest IOC rules we find a smaller percentage of defective EVOOs than at the IOOCs? Between 4% and 40% is a HUGE GAP and warrants an investigation. The IOOCs are insulting the integrity and minimizing the hard work of the olive growers worldwide. The IOC International Olive Council must investigate this matter immediately.
In the meantime here are the Aristoleo Award winners!
Phenols and taste
The olive oils are divided in categories of taste, according to average rank of Bitter & Peppery by the Kalamata Olive Oil Taste Laboratory of the Technological Educational Institute of Peloponnese:
4-5 Medium/ Intense,
The olive oil with the highest phenolic content, certified by Dr. Magiatis with NMR, in each category will the gold award.
1,) Bitter & Peppery avg. 4-5 (BIO)
THERIANOS – GOLD – 2090 mg per kg total phenolic content as measured by NMR http://www.therianosfamily.com/
Olive Mill – Patrinos Panagiotis,
2,) Bitter & Peppery avg. 3-4 (BIO)
“ἔλαιον” ELAION BIO GREEN OLIVE OIL – GOLD – 1020 mg per kg total phenolic content as measured by NMR http://www.bio-green-oliveoil.gr/
Olive Mill – Konakis Konstantinos & Assoc.
3,) Bitter & Peppery avg. below 3 (BIO)
SOTIRALE BIO – GOLD – 825 mg per kg total phenolic content as measured by NMR http://sotirale-bio.com/
Olive Mill – Farm Co-op, Agion Apostolon,
Agioi Apostoli, Monemvasias, Lakonia
1,) Bitter & Peppery avg. 5+ (TRADITIONAL)
THE GOVERNOR – GOLD – 2377 mg per kg total phenolic content as measured by NMR http://thegovernor.gr/
Olive Mill – OLIVE FABRICA
Agious Mathaious, Corfu
2,) Bitter & Peppery avg. 4-5 (TRADITIONAL)
ASKLEPIOS – GOLD – 1230 mg per kg. total phenolic content as measured by NMR http://www.alfeas.gr/about-our-oil
Olive Mill – Christodoulopoulos Bros.
Dafni, Gortinias, Arkadia
3,) Bitter & Peppery avg. 3-4 (TRADITIONAL)
HELLENIC FIELDS – ENA ENA MANI – GOLD – 1469 mg per kg total phenolic content as measured by NMR http://www.hellenicfields.gr/el/landing-page/olive-oil/
Olive Mill – Niko Skoufi Bros. Skilountia, Ilia
4,) Bitter & Pungent avg. 2-3 (TRADITIONAL)
Karbouris Family – GOLD – 1135 mg per kg total phenolic content as measured by NMR
Olive Mill – Konstantis Spiridon,
We also decided to give an award to olive oils that combine fruitiness over 5 and high phenolic content.
FRUITINESS OVER 5
1,) FRUITINESS 5+ Bitter & Peppery 4-5
WILD ATHOS – GOLDEN TREE – GOLD – 1178 mg per kg total phenolic content as measured by NMR http://www.goldentree.eu/eng/
Olive Mill – Macedonian Olive Mill,
Karagianni Bros. Ltd.
WILD OLIVE OIL – OLEASTER (BIO)
This is the first time in the world that wild olive oil is taking part in an olive oil competition and it is especially significant the results are being announced right here in the ancient city of Olympia where the wild olive tree was honoured and respected for its unique characteristics for health and vitality.
VOLVI ESTATE – GOLD – 716 mg per kg total phenolic content as measured by NMR http://www.volviestate.gr/
Olive Mill – Macedonian Olive Mill,
Karagianni Bros. Ltd.