Each year since 2000 the International Olive Council (IOC) hosts the Mario Solinas Quality Award, the most prized award of all competitions for olive oil. Unlike many other competitions which give out many and even hundreds of awards, the Mario Solinas only awards prizes to the top-performing oils, with only one gold, silver and bronze medal each available in just four categories.
In the 15th edition of the awards (2015), 111 oils from 7 countries competed. The oils are classified according to the intensity of their type of fruitiness before being evaluated by a number of IOC-recognised panels according to a special 100-point score sheet which marked the oils for their olfactory, gustatory and retro-nasal sensations as well as for their harmony, complexity and persistence. The 24 top-scoring oils in each fruitiness section went through as finalists for assessment by an international panel of judges, which selected the winners of the first prize of the Award for 2014 and also proposed second and third prize-winners.
In 2015, top prizes were taken out by oils from Spain and Portugal:
- Finca La Torre of Spain – Category: Intense green fruitiness;
- SCA Almazaras de la Subbética of Spain– Category: Medium green fruitiness;
- Casa de Santo Amaro of Portugal – Category: Mild green fruitiness; and
- Victor Guedes, S.A. of Portugal – Category: Ripe fruitiness.
The awards were presented on June 29th for the first time with the ceremony being at the Fancy Food Show in New York City.
Unlike many other competitions that don’t control whether the oil sold to consumers is the same as oil entered into the competition, all oils entered into the Mario Solinas awards must have a minimum quantity of 3000 litres produced, which is to be sealed in a tank during the award judging. After the prizes are awarded, participants may unseal the tank holding the batch of oil entered and winners are allowed to announce the prize only on the labels of the extra virgin olive oil belonging to the same batch as the winning sample using a special logo available from the IOC Executive Secretariat for this purpose.
A complete list of winners can be downloaded here: Mario Solinas Awards 2015
Source: International Olive Council