'The best EVOOs in the World are guaranteed the largest International Promotion with EVOOLEUM'

"The best EVOOs in the World are guaranteed the largest International Promotion with EVOOLEUM"

Interview with José María Penco (AEMO) and Juan A. Peñamil (Mercacei), organizers of the contest

2016/19/01 - With just a few days remaining to the deadline of registration for EVOOLEUM WORLD'S TOP100 EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OILS, Jose María Penco (Project Director of AEMO) and Juan A. Peñamil (CEO and editor of Mercacei), the two architects of this ambitious project, crumble in this interview the key features of a Quality Contest for the Quality of Extra Virgin Olive Oil that is destined to become the best platform for the dissemination and promotion of the finest EVOOs in the world. Keep calm, there is still time to register...

What is EVOOLEUM WORLD'S TOP100 EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OILS and how did the project come about?
José María Penco: EVOOLEUM is, firstly, an Organoleptic Assessment International Competition of Extra Virgin Olive Oils worldwide. From there, the results of this contest will materialize each campaign in an exclusive Guide which will sort the best 100 EVOOs ranked (EVOO TOP 100), informing about its characteristics, volume of marketable production, quality labels... of each one of them.

The project is an initiative of Mercacei and AEMO, but based on something certain: Spain is the undisputed leader in olive oil production and yet, we lack any international reference Guide of EVOOs; therefore it seemed appropriate and necessary to cover this gap.

J.A. Peñamil: Indeed, the project emerges as a true need to bring to market a rigorous and serious international competition, which will be materialized in a spectacular Guide published in English. The synergies between the project promoters are evident and very important: AEMO has an extensive experience in organizing competitions and managing tasting panels; and Mercacei is the most important publishing group specialized in publications aimed at professionals in the olive oil and the olive grove sector for over 22 years.

In the current landscape of contests and competitions that seek to reward quality in extra virgin olive oil, how does EVOOLEUM differ from the rest and what are its main features?
José María Penco
: EVOOLEUM aims to become a reference not only to the production sector, which is the undoubted star, but to the consumer in the fullest sense of these words: final consumers, restaurateurs, importers, wholesalers, distributors... Therefore, we will publish a Guide on paper (which will also be available online) with the results and we intend to be, each year, the yearbook of the best oils in the world.
To give a well-rounded soundness to the project we rely on three pillars: provide guarantees to the consumer (Rules), process reliability (Jury) and communication of the final product (Guide).

EVOOLEUM boasts about having a spectacular Tasting Panel. Was it difficult to bring together such a roster of experts?
José María Penco
: I honestly have to say no because we have have been in the sector for many years and we have been lucky enough to meet the best tasters, maintaining friendship with most of them. So when we invited each one of them to participate as judges and showed them the rules and guidelines of the contest, we got their agreement with great enthusiasm, which we really appreciate. They are, no doubt, the soul and guarantee of EVOOLEUM.

This new International Quality Competition presents several important novelties regarding its rules and categories, some of them hitherto unknown. What are these novelties?
José María Penco
: The rules of the contest have been the subject of many months of work, we did not want to miss any details and we believe we have succeeded. To do this we have been counting on the approval of leading experts, including industry players. As a novelty we have established a system for testing random samples witnessed by notary in order to guarantee their origin.

In addition, EVOOLEUM will be the only contest in the world where even the organization will not know who is who in the valuation process, since previously a notary will perform the rekeying and we will prepare the tasting without knowing to which brand corresponds each code. Only when the assessments are completed, the notary shall communicate the winners in a public ceremony.

It is worth stressing that EVOOLEUM debuts in fourth place in the classification of international competitions selected by the German expert Heiko Schmidt for his ranking THE WORLD'S BEST OLIVE OILS, undoubtedly one of the most prestigious in the world. A complete success for a contest whose first edition hasn't even been held...
José María Penco
: Indeed, Heiko Schmidt praised the contest following pre-established criteria and to our satisfaction, EVOOLEUM has been rewarded with a high valuation to appear in this important ranking published every year by the expert taster.

The World's best EVOOs in the world, sorted according to their score in the contest will be published in the EVOOLEUM Guide. WORLD'S TOP100 EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OILS, published in English by Mercacei (responsible for the only Spanish Guide of Extra Virgin Olive Oils) and conducted as annual. What will the distribution of the Guide be like at national and international level and which are the actions planned for its promotion? In what events and fairs will it be present?
J.A. Peñamil: The EVOOLEUM Guide. WORLD'S TOP100 EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OILS will be distributed at major festivals, fairs and food events, very focused at professionals (distributors and importers of EVOO worldwide) and at those consumers interested in the extra virgin olive oil world. Thus, the best 100 extra virgin olive oils included in the EVOOLEUM Guide will enjoy greater visibility and international diffusion due to its presence in important events such as Winter and Summer Fancy Food Show (San Francisco and New York, USA), Foodex Japan (Tokyo, Japan), Gulfood (Dubai, UAE), Biofach (Nuremberg, Germany), Speciality & Fine Food Fair (London, UK), Alimentaria (Barcelona, ​​Spain) or SOL & Agrifood (Verona, Italy).

I would also like to stress that the EVOOLEUM Guide will be published in English both in paper format and online, with a modern and cosmopolitan layout, characterized by an impeccable design and aesthetics similar to Olivatessen by Mercacei. It will include a complete file of each of the World's TOP100 EVOOs awarded in the contest with a photograph of the product, its organoleptic characteristics, the variety or varieties the EVOO is obtained from, the geographical location of the olive grove... plus statistics and general industry data.

In addition to these events and fairs, where can we acquire the EVOOLEUM Guide?
J.A. Peñamil
: The EVOOLEUM Guide. WORLD'S TOP100 EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OILS will be available in qualitative sales points such as gourmet shops, bookstores and department stores in specialized areas as well as on the websites of EVOOLEUM, Olivatessen by Mercacei, Mercacei and AEMO.

The Contest entry period is about to expire. What are the forecasts in this final stretch?
José María Penco: We are pleasantly surprised with the registration rate, which is growing every day. As expected, the pace is accelerating as the deadline approaches. We have olive juices from many countries and, more importantly, the best EVOOs in the world are enrolling, which seems essential if we are to show the World's TOP100 EVOOs.

Finally, a question for both of you. Why should any company, partnership and/or extra virgin olive oil producer participate in EVOOLEUM?
José María Penco
: Being in EVOOLEUM implies aiming to be placed between the best 100 EVOOs of the world, and appear in a Guide that will be consulted by professionals and consumers around the world.
For our part, we can only say to the olive-sector entrepreneurs that we offer them all the guarantees that this contest is an example of impartiality, accuracy and transparency, and we are grateful for the confidence they are already placing in us. We commit to disseminate the results in the five continents with all the strength, professionalism and enthusiasm at our disposal.
In Mercacei and AEMO we have always thought that the future of this sector is quality and the pursuit of excellence, and that is what we intend to show to the world each year through the fruitiness and balance of the best juices of the planet.

J.A. Peñamil: If a producer wants its EVOO to reach consumers, the entire Horeca channel, all sales points and gourmet shops, thematic and Michelin-star restaurants around the world and all importers and distributors, it must be present in EVOOLEUM WORLD'S TOP100 EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OILS.

Last days to register. Click here.
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