International EVOO Competitions 2021

International EVOO Competitions 2021

The London International Olive Oil Competition will take place in London on 14-15 May, 2021. Samples to reach the storage venue by 30 April 2021.

The Olive Japan International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition will be held in Tokyo on 17-19 May, 2021. Registrations close on 7 May. Samples must be received no later than 9 May.

The Italy EVOO International Olive Oil Contest will be held in Palmi, Italy on 17-19 May, 2021. Samples are due at the venue by 15 May.

The Canada International Olive Oil Competition will take place in Montreal on 29-30 May, 2021. Registration is open until April 30, with samples due by 10 May.

Terraolivo IOOC 2021 will be held in Yehud, Israel on 21 June, 2021. Deadline for registration and samples delivery is 16 June.

The Aurora International Taste Challenge will be held in Stellenbosch, South Africa (date TBC). Registrations close on 10 August. Samples to be delivered on 16-17 August.

The Australian International Olive Awards will take place in September 2021. Entries open on 14 June and close on 3 September.

The 2021 Sol d’Oro Southern Hemisphere will be held in Argentina in September. Further detail to be advised.

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Women in the olive industry: Brenda Wilkinson

Women in the SA Olive industry: Brenda Wilkinson

Brenda Wilkinson is a doer and she’s channeled her passion for the people and products of the olive industry into a well-established, international award-winning EVOO brand. Twenty years of living in central Africa have given her a unique perspective and appreciation of what is possible when you put your mind to it.

1. What do you do in the olive industry?

I manage the marketing aspect of our business, which of course goes hand in hand with the agriculture part.

2. Are there unique challenges as a woman in the olive growing and olive oil making business?

I have never found this to be a challenge. Sure, I am not involved in the day-to-day farming but I support at each turn. I am happiest cleaning the processing shed and at my best when it is all gleaming from floor to ceiling. I have very little to do with the processing besides the cleaning, but do make a great cup of coffee to keep everyone going! My role is very much a supportive one.

Nothing can stop me – dress up, show up and make it happen is my motto.

3. What are the hard skills you need to make it work?

Time and the willingness to get out of your comfort zone to make things work. There are no defined skills in marketing – if you find a gap, you take it! If you are knocked down, you move the goal posts. I have often been told what to do with our business, especially by highly ‘trained’ folk in their field, but I think, with respect, that nothing prepares you for the real business at hand. It takes sheer hard work, long hours and the determination to do a job well.

4. What are the soft skills you need to make it work?

I am Aries – so, I just get the job done.

5. What has been a highlight in your career in the olive industry thus far?

I think meeting all the fabulous folk associated with the olive industry. I have been fortunate enough to travel extensively for Rio Largo business. A small contingent went to Peru many years ago and I learned the most incredible business lesson there. The top retailer invited us into his office and showed us how not to lose money in retail, a lesson I still value immensely. I have learned from some wonderful Italian producers too. They are fascinated that we produce the quality we produce and want us to be successful. In fact, I was convinced by a top Italian producer to use bag-in-box for storage, and we’ve never looked back.

6. Why do you love what you do?

What’s not to love? I have the magical task of sharing a fabulous, healthy product in the most beautiful decanters, with each design bringing joy to someone. I have shared the journey with so many wonderful people who have embraced what we do and want to be a part of it all. We have a great team who go out of their way to support us at Rio Largo and above all, we love it when we get to share the good stuff!

7. What does the future hold – for you, your business, and the country?

Who knows? No one can answer this, especially after the past year.

8. Do you have a funny story about your time in the olive business?

My favourite story is of this precious old lady who came past at a TASTE exhibition. She was on a walker and I asked if she would like to taste our EVOO. She turned to me and politely told me she was Greek.  Enough said.

I asked her to please try our oil – and feeling sorry for me, she did. And she loved it! She said she would be back to buy some later and off she went.

As I was packing up to leave, she came past again and asked if she could buy a decanter. I was thrilled and did a little dance as she pulled a note out of her bra – a Greek lady is buying our EVOO made from Italian cultivars – we had a winner! She was so overjoyed with my reaction that she pulled another note from her bra to buy another one.

9. What does your support structure look like?

My husband, Nick, is my biggest supporter and champion. I have support from so many wonderful people and I fear if I name them I will leave someone out. From our staff on the farm, to designers, packers, friends and family… Oh my word, the list goes on and on! I am so blessed to have such incredible support from all spheres of our business.

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Why buy extra virgin olive oil?

Why buy extra virgin olive oil?

How often do you stand in front of the supermarket shelf and wonder why you should buy extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and not just regular olive oil?

Let’s take the pain out of that decision for you!

EVOO is the closest you will get to the pure goodness that fresh olives offer because it undergoes the least processing. The direct result is that EVOOs are higher in antioxidants, vitamins, healthy fats, anti-inflammatories and other natural ingredients – all of which have health benefits. The more the olives are processed and the longer they are stored, the fewer the benefits.

The taste properties are also better preserved in EVOOs, therefore the fruitiness, pepperiness and balancing bitterness are more detectable.

Before an olive oil can be called an EVOO, it must undergo rigorous chemical testing and tasting by a panel of experts. The first thing expert tasters look for is the presence of any defects. For instance, if the oil is rancid, musty or vinegary, it cannot be rated as EVOO. The next test is for the balance between fruitiness, pepperiness and bitterness. A good EVOO is a beautiful harmony between all these positive attributes.

In South Africa, EVOOs are awarded with the CTC (Commitment to Compliance) seal only if they meet a set of international standards AND pass the SA Olive tasting panel’s test. Remember to look out for the CTC seal when shopping for olive oil.

Also, keep in mind that EVOO contains mostly monounsaturated fatty acids, which means it is highly resistant to heat – even when deep-frying.

EVOO is a staple ingredient in the Mediterranean diet, which has long been considered to be one of the healthiest in the world.

We live in a time where health is at the forefront of our thoughts. Don’t compromise on the quality of your olive oil. It’s an effortless – and delicious – way to give your health a daily boost.

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