On 11 November 2022, the Executive Secretariat of the IOC held a press conference dedicated to the Mario Solinas Quality Award, the world’s most prestigious competition for extra virgin olive oils.
Seven magnificent extra virgin olive oils, winners of the 2022 edition of the Mario Solinas Quality Award, were tasted at the event. These were: an oil from the intense green fruitiness category entered from Jaén, an oil from the medium fruitiness category from Baena, a light fruitiness oil from Tunisia, and a ripe fruitiness oil from Italy. In the small producer category, the winning oil came from Tunisia, and in the large packers category, the oil came from Cordoba. Argentina was this year’s winner in the southern hemisphere category.
Executive Director Abdellatif Ghedira welcomed the participants and explained the importance of the Mario Solinas Quality Award for improving the quality of extra virgin olive oils produced worldwide, stressing the need to increase its visibility.
Deputy Executive Director Jaime Lillo presented the IOC as an intergovernmental body, its missions and objectives, and highlighted the efforts of producers and packers to produce increasingly harmonious oils.
Mercedes Fernández Albaladejo, the head of the IOC’s standardisation and research unit, emphasised the organoleptic characteristics of this year’s winning oils. She explained that the Mario Solinas Quality Award is a non-profit institutional competition that has been running for 22 years and is open to producers and packers in both hemispheres. Its objective is to encourage producers, producer associations and packers to market extra virgin olive oils with harmonious organoleptic characteristics and to encourage consumers to recognise and appreciate the sensory attributes of these oils. This prestigious competition rewards participants for their work and skill in producing oils of the highest quality and allows consumers to discover the full range of flavours and aromas these oils have to offer.
Andrés Madrigal, who 35 years ago was the chef of the world’s only olive oil restaurant at the time, El Olivo, emphasised the ability of this jewel of the Mediterranean diet to enhance the taste of other ingredients.
The tasting, which showcased the quality of the winning oils, was coordinated by the leader of the tasting panel of the Córdoba Agri-Food Laboratory, Plácido Pascual Morales; the leader of the panel of judges of the Spanish Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Gema Gómez de los Santos; the leader of the panel of the Central Customs Laboratory, María del Mar García González; the leader of the panel of the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Elena Díaz Mejía; and the leader of the panel of the Imidra agri-food laboratory, Mariángeles Pérez Jiménez. These experts all agreed on the changes in the olive oil sector, which today produces increasingly perfect and authentic oils.
The master of ceremonies for the tasting breakfast was food journalist Concha Crespo. The media representatives invited to the event enjoyed the experience and recognised the importance of distinguishing between the organoleptic characteristics of the different categories of extra virgin olive oil.
The award ceremony for the winners of the competition will take place in Jaén on 30 November 2022. The award ceremony will be available to watch online. For more information, click here: https://www.internationaloliveoil.org/what-we-do/chemistry-standardisation-unit/#national-competitions
The International Olive Council (www.internationaloliveoil.org) is the only intergovernmental organisation in the world that unites stakeholders in the production and consumption of olive oil and table olives. This places it in a unique position as an authoritative forum for debate on issues of interest to the olive sector. It was established in Madrid (Spain) in 1959 under the auspices of the United Nations and among its many objectives is improving the quality of olive oils.
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