Judges swirled, sniffed, and sipped about 650 samples over four days. There was the sound of the liquid being aspirated, of “shhhhlurps” spraying into all the corners of the mouth. The small glasses were tinted blue to hide the liquid’s color.
Some samples were more on the grassy side, some fruitier, some with hints of nettles, tomato, mint, or apple.
It could have been mistaken for a wine tasting competition. But, it is olive oil that has truly taken its place as a fiercely competitive global market.
This year, at the second annual New York International Olive Oil competition, entries came not only from Italy and Spain but also newcomers whose culinary heritage includes zero drops of olive oil—China, India, and Japan, for example. Within the United States, California has long been a producer, but Arizona and New Mexico also sent in entries.
Curtis Cord, the publisher of Olive Oil Times and president of the competition, presented the winners at the International Culinary Center on April 10. A distinguished panel of judges included Antonio Lauro from Italy, Fabienne Roux from France, and Paul Vossen from California.
Of the 651 olive oil samples that were analyzed, 254 medals were awarded.
Italy won the most Best in Class awards, followed by Spain and Australia.Italy won the most Best in Class Olive Oil awards, followed by Spain and Australia,