We came full circle again on the Friday of the trade fair on 16 February 2018, when producers, friends and fans, and the Andalusian Minister of Agriculture Rodrigo Sánchez Haro attended the awards ceremony. On the occasion of the 10th BIOFACH OLIVE OIL AWARD, the coveted certificates were presented once again to the top 10 contestants and another 20 producers who received commendations.
But before this happened, all trade visitors to the fair were able to do a blind tasting to rate the 80 oils submitted to the contest in sets of four coded samples. The selection of oils was random, ensuring that from the start of the fair on the Wednesday all oils were evaluated by the same number of tasters according to the criteria of aroma, taste and overall impression.
The 80 olive oils from Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Tunisia were tasted by 200 trade visitors. This means that 10 different people evaluated one sample. This in turn complies with the requirements for a panel test as defined by EU regulations, which prescribe 8 to 12 tasters. Because, unlike wine tasting, the colour does not play a role in the sensory evaluation of olive oils, the oils were served in the official cobalt blue tasting glasses.
The result, which reflects the current market trend, showcases above all regular exhibitors and producers from the main producing countries. The top 10 include six Spaniards, three Italians (all from Sicily) and one Greek. Italy dominated the 20 commendations with 12 certificates, followed by Spain with five, Greece with two and Portugal with one. However, it needs to be said there were multiple distinctions of up to three awards for one exhibitor.
The offer of blind tasting was noticeably popular. It was part of the overall concept for the World of OLIVE OIL at BIOFACH, which was extended in 2018. The more comprehensive programme, featuring scientific presentations, food-pairing tastings and commented tastings incorporated a new attraction: A “Flavour Challenge” with natural aroma samples allowed participants to smell the typical aromas of olive oil in unadulterated form and according to their various provenances.
You can download the list of award-winners here: