Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Why Doesn't Hvar Olive Oil Have the Origin Label Yet?

March 8, 2022 - In recent days it has been said that many islands have already received designations of origin or geographical origin for their olive oils, but Hvar olive oil has not yet. Why? And why is it important to have this label?

Olive oils from Cres, Krka, Korčula, Šolta, and most recently Brač are mentioned, while the people of Hvar are currently proud of their multi-millennium oil production, which has been used as food, medicine, and light on their island for a long time, writes Slobodna Dalmacija.

Today, according to the agricultural advisor mr. sc. Stanislav Štambuk, this island area cultivates more than 250,000 olive trees. Farmers have made good progress in terms of proper implementation of agro-technical measures, fruit picking and processing, and oil storage. There are several modern oil mills, so extra virgin olive oils are most often produced.

This is sufficiently evidenced by the numerous recognitions of Hvar olive growers and oil mills won in the country and abroad (USA, Japan...), it is surprising that an island of less than 300 square kilometers has as many as six protected values ​​on the UNESCO List of Tangible and Intangible Heritage (Faro Choir, agave lace, procession 'Za Krizen', klapa song, Mediterranean food, and the art of drywall construction), but no indication of origin or geographical origin among 33 Croatian agricultural and food products registered with the European Union.

Slobodna Dalmacija decided to check what the problem is, especially because these labels are on the one hand a valorization of achievements so far and on the other an incentive to follow the path of progress and better quality even more decisively.


Olives from Hvar (Photo: Mario Romulić)

''There has been talking for a long time on Hvar about initiating this procedure, however, the initiative was somewhat more seriously concretized at the end of 2019 with representatives of the Association of Olive Growers St. Spirijun in Milna. Since then, several enthusiasts have been working continuously to gather the necessary arguments, such as historical evidence, data on varieties, geo-climatic conditions, traditions, processing, use of names and labels, invoices, delivery notes, media articles ..., and when all this is completed we could at least go for a geographical indication because the differences between the designations are small anyway, and the benefits are almost the same'', said prof. dr. sc. Ivica Ljubenkov, an expert who also helped the people of Brač in their candidacy for the origin label.

A tradition dating back to the ancient greeks

One of the problems, as been found out, is that on Hvar, which is famous as the sunniest island (more than 2,700 hours of sunshine a year), there is not a single well-known indigenous olive variety, such as people from Šolta have Levantine, or people from Korčula have Lastovka.

And the candidacy for the label of origin is somehow the easiest to 'wrap in cellophane' of these original varieties, the logic of the European Union is not always in line with the thinking of our people.

Also, it must be added, that despite the declarative desire, the road to acquiring the label is long and difficult, in part due to the low involvement of some olive growers and members of the association.

''We are really proud that in the upper part we have evidence of olive growing and olive oil production from the time of the ancient Greeks. This fact is confirmed by an olive tree from the Kuharača site near Zastražišće. The ancient olive tree is truly a natural rarity and a kind of cultural monument. Evidence of olive processing also exists at the Kupinovik site near the Old Town - Faros, next to the old Roman villa rusticae. There are important artifacts such as two olive presses, a mill with a millstone, several basins for sedimentation, several oysters for storing oil... Numerous remains of architecture testify to multiple alterations, which means that the villa functioned for a longer period of 1 to the 4th century'', says the young, but multi-award-winning olive grower Eva Marija Čurin from Gdynia.


Olives from Hvar (Photo: Mario Romulić)

She is also the secretary of the association, which has more than 150 members and is actively involved in the process of obtaining the label. She adds that the "Days of Olive Oil Days of the Island of Hvar" event in Jelsa is organized every year, with the aim of encouraging olive growers to socialize, have a healthy competitive spirit, educate and, above all, increase the quality of Hvar olive oil.

Therefore, the goal is to contribute to the development of olive growing on the island of Hvar, to gain in importance both locally and internationally.

However, the association will not achieve this without its members, so the event was launched to educate these valuable olive growers about the benefits of the label and to encourage them to be more involved in collecting materials needed to obtain it.

''If we recapitulate everything that Professor Ljubenkov and our Eva Marija told us, I would like to tell the membership that, in addition to the objective benefits we would get from labels, they also protect the consumer himself, as the end-user of Hvar olive oil. The labels certainly bring protection against unauthorized use and damage to the reputation of oil that would be produced on Hvar according to pre-established rules. In this way, the consumer would have a guarantee that it is an oil that is recognized and protected specialty of the area from which it originates, and we are aware of the quality we have can only say that this label will be only the first step in further promotion of Hvar olive oil, the island where we live and produce'', concluded Đorđan Gurdulić, president of the Association of Olive Growers "St. Špirijun" from Hvar.

When it comes to olive oil, Croatia is one of the leading countries in the industry. From Istria to Dalmatia, you can find all the information you need to know about the origins, processes, and where to buy Croatian and Hvar olive oil on the Total Croatia page, now in your language!

For more on Croatian products, producers, companies and exports, make sure to check out Made in Croatia.

Friday, 28 May 2021

Hvar Olive Oil Makes Triumphant Return From New York Competition

May 28, 2021 - Olive oil is a must on Croatian tables, but its impact and quality transcend borders. A great example is Hvar olive oil, which has made a triumphant return from an international competition in New York.

Turistickeprice.hr reports that Hvar olive oil again achieved great success at the prestigious New York International Olive Oil Competition. It is a continuation of the successful tradition of Hvar olive growers on the international scene.

Despite its impeccable natural beauty and rich history, the island of Hvar is often visited by tourists and recognized as one of the top destinations for summer vacations. However, a real small gastronomic scene takes place on the island of Hvar, and the most commonly used ingredient is certainly Hvar olive oil.

There are more than 200,000 olive trees on Hvar, and the latest awards from the world competition are an indicator of quality. Last year, Hvar olive growers from New York returned with three medals, and this year they were even more successful.


Christmas oil - Oil mill Božić-Svirče

Namely, out of 87 awarded samples from Croatia, as many as seven come from the island of Hvar, from five olive oil producers. Two gold medals went to the trade Zvir for olive oils Radojković Levantinka and Radojković Forms. One gold, for Oblica oil and a silver medal for the Christmas Selection, was awarded to Uljara Božić - Svirče d.o.o. Gold medals were also received by: OPG Čurin for oil Eva Marija, then OPG Magdalena Plenković for oil Atena, and OPG Makjanić Moškatelo for their MMuje.

Last year on the island of Hvar was extremely fruitful, not only with the amount of oil produced but also with very good quality, which this year was confirmed by the most prestigious competition in New York. The world competition for olive oil NYIOOC is the largest. The annual list of award winners is considered an authoritative guide to the best extra virgin olive oils of the year.

Dark green olive groves have been formed in this area since ancient times, and so far there have never been more, producing renowned oils with the highest recognition. The most common olive variety is oblica, with a representation of 85%, followed by lastovka, levatinka, and the somewhat newer varieties lećino and pandolino. More than 900 small and large producers talk about the tradition of nurturing olives for their products. It is therefore not surprising that every dish on the island of Hvar is sprinkled with this liquid gold.

When it comes to olive oil, Croatia is one of the leading countries in the industry. From Istria to Dalmatia, you can find all the information you need to know about the origins, processes, and where to buy Croatian olive oil on the Total Croatia page, now in your language!

For more news like this, follow our made in Croatia section.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Hvar Days of Olive Oil Next Weekend in Jelsa

The third years of Days of Olive Oil of the Island of Hvar will take place in Jelsa on February 10, 2018.