Today we made our submission to the 2020 Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition. This competition is the second largest in the USA (New York first).
While some may not think these competitions are important, for those of us in the industry, striving to produce the very finest Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), we believe it is important to have our EVOO evaluated against others in the industry by panels of highly respected judges.
While living in Italy we came to appreciate these EVOO sommeliers. In Italy, the expertise these people have in evaluating EVOO is equal to the importance of those sommeliers who lend their expertise to evaluating wine. So to have our IL DIVINO Extra Virgin Olive Oil evaluated by these experts is not only an honor but also a critical review.
Last year at the International Extra Virgin Olive Oil we received a Bronze Medal. We, of course, were very proud. For last year’s competition there were over 500 entries for over 300 producers, so receiving a Bronze Medal told us that our efforts to produce very high quality EVOO were being recognized. And indeed, since winning the Bronze Medal many have started paying closer attention to this little Italian EVOO producer located in San Diego.
While not the subject of this note, we just wanted to say a little more about why being recognized at an International EVOO Competition is important.
For the majority of EVOO lovers, it is very hard to tell the difference between one EVOO and another. Indeed, even a olive oil tasting we hold here at IL DIVINO, quite often participants might enjoy the taste of a questionable EVOO purchased at our local supermarket (sitting under florescent lights) more than our own. That is fine. People should enjoy the “taste” of their EVOO.
However, for many of us these days, we are including EVOO in our diets primarily for the tremendous health benefits it provides. While the long list of health benefits is the subject of another note, we all know these exist (see link) and we all want to benefit from them.
The point here is the following. In reality, while the “taste” of your EVOO might be your primary selection criteria, it is the quality of the EVOO (what’s inside) that is truly the reason we should all be including it in our diets. If we are purchasing EVOO that just tastes good, without knowing the true quality of the EVOO, we have defeated perhaps the primary purpose for using it in the first place.
So returning to the subject of this note, the panel of judges at these highly respected International EVOO Competitions are so good at what they do that they KNOW when an EVOO just tastes good vs one that is truly good for you. It is a clearly part science and part art but these judges know. Therefore, having our 2019 IL DIVINO EVOO receive a Bronze Medal was a way of them saying to us, yes, you are doing a great job producing very high-quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
In 2020, entering our 4th year in trying to provide our customers the very highest quality Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, we learn a little more each year. For example, the importance of pressing immediately after harvest, is just one of many things we have learned (subject of another note) over the years. For this year’s competition, results in March, we hope to again be recognized for our efforts.
Thank you for taking the time to read.