The medal and special awards ceremony of the Athena International Olive Oil Competition was met with great success. The ceremony, which included the largest olive oil tasting presentation ever held in Greece, took place on Saturday, April 22, at the King George II hotel, in the presence of many awarded Greek olive oil producers, and—surprisingly—many visitors from abroad, some of whom have significant roles in olive oil production worldwide. They, and many other visitors, food service professionals and sellers, journalists, etc., as well as olive oil-lovers—more than 250 people in total—had the opportunity to taste the 175 distinguished Greek and foreign olive oils, which included some of the best in the world.
Apart from the Greek olive oil producers who came to the medal and awards ceremony of the Athena International Olive Oil Competition (ATHIOOC 2017) from every corner in Greece, the ceremony was also attended by olive oil producers from France, Spain, Italy, and Turkey, thus proving the significance placed upon the “Athena” competition, further confirmed by this year’s increase in the number of samples from abroad (more than 200%, compared to last year’s first-time event). Amongthem was Paolo Bonomelli, a leading olive oil producer from Veneto, Italy, who has been awarded consistently in the world's largest olive oil competitions. All three of Mr. Bonomelli’s olive oils that participated in this year’s ATHIOOC were awarded with the Great Gold Medal (meaning they were graded upwards of 95%), while his olive oil under the trade name "TreFórt" was deemed as the best olive oil in the competition, like last year. The medal was presented to the Italian olive oil producer by Deputy Foreign Minister George Katrougalos.
Thus “Athena” has created a name for itself in the global olive oil industry already since its second organization, and has fulfilled its main objectives, which are to contribute to the qualitative improvement of Greek olive oil production, to the upgrading of the image of Greek olive oil, and to the promotion and sales of awarded Greek olive oils in Greece and internationally.
It is worth repeating here the words of an olive oil-loving consumer, who stated, overcome with emotion and enthusiasm: "It was very sweet to see people who have been working with the olive tree for many generations donning their best attire and arriving here from every corner of the Mediterranean, glowing with pride, in order to receive their award. I believe that the ‘Athena’ institution is a very important one, and it was a very smart move to invest in the idea of a competition in the country tht is considered to be the birthland of olive oil. It is the Olympic Games for olive growers."
This year the Athena International Olive Oil Competition was organized in Costa Navarino, in Messinia, with the participation of 295 samples, 47% of which came from abroad, and a judging panel 2/3 of which comprised distinguished judges from all over the world.
The competition took place with the kind support of the “Captain Vassilis and Carmen Constantakopoulos” Foundation. It was also sponsored by the Municipality of Trifylia, the Region of Peloponnese, the Municipality of Pylos-Nestor, “Vamvakas” company (olive cultivation machinery) and “Yoleni’s” company (nο 1 e-shop for Greek food products).
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