Thursday, 1 July 2021

Croatian Olive Growers Win Medals in New York, 2000 Kuna Customs Fee Awaits

July the 1st, 2021 - Croatian olive growers and their produce are praised worldwide and are no stranger to a medal or ten. After recently winning yet more recognition and awards in New York, now around 2000 kuna in customs fees need to be paid in order for them to enter Croatia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatian olive growers have been wildly successful with their produce, and nobody in Croatia really seems to care all that much about the level of promotion this provides the country that relies so heavily on foreign visitors. A little over one month ago, on the world's largest stage, NYIOOC 2021 in New York, Croatian olive growers "picked up" medals by winning 4th place, just behind the likes of Spain, Italy and Greece.

Nobody can stop writing about them - how could they not when a small country like Croatia participating in the world's production of olive oil with only 0.3 percent, takes the top place in terms of oil quality, reports agroklub.

"It happened because Dalmatians joined the Istrian olive growers in this great competition. The Istrians have confirmed their reputation, and the Dalmatians have proven that they have quality to offer as well,'' commented Dr. Ivica Vlatkovic, who once again won gold medals. Croatian olive growers won 66 gold and 20 silver medals in total.

The typically Croatian and utterly absurd customs clearance charges...

Aware of the fact that by participating in a kind of world championship and receiving the highest awards, they have contributed to Croatia entering the very top of the world in the quality of olive oils, they expect (greater) understanding from the state authorities. Unfortunately, the state authorities in Croatia aren't well known for their understanding, or much else in that regard.

Because, as Zlatko Buric said, the man who united the Solta olive growers and together with them managed to protect the Golden Solta oil at the European Union level, unfortunately there isn't much that can make Croatia an economically successful country. ''We've once again proved that we are at the bottom in terms of organisation,'' reported the aforementioned portal.

"Instead of the Prime Minister or the President contacting us and publicly praising us, giving us some sort of reward for our great success, they want to be parasitic by collecting customs duties on trophies which have been properly obtained and are well-deserved," said Buric and other Croatian olive oil producers and growers.

For each statuette and medal, if something doesn't change in the meantime, almost 2,000 kuna will need to be paid. Olive growers are afraid that they will have to pay VAT, so now they are trying everything in order to be able to prove the meaninglessness and even the illegality of this levy individually with some sort of joint action. Some have already contacted Minister Marija Vuckovic, who "called customs and promised that everything would be settled'', but we're yet to see if that occurs.

For more, follow our dedicated Made in Croatia section.

Thursday, 1 July 2021

House of Istrian Olive Oil Has Been Reopened in Pula With New Address

July 1, 2021 - The House of Istrian Olive Oil now has a new address in Pula and its doors are once again open to all lovers of not only olive oil but, in particular, Istrian oil, which is considered one of the best in the world.

After a challenging year, the House of Istrian Olive Oil moved and continued to work in a new space in Istarska 30, only fifty meters from the Pula amphitheater, reports HrTurizam.hr. All fans of the history of olive growing and top Istrian olive oils, both domestic and foreign guests, will be able to continue to enjoy a unique cultural and tourist product.

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As the initiator of the project and the owner of the House of Istrian Olive Oil Lorena Boljunčić explained, the concept of the House of Oil remains the same, but the new space gives it greater opportunities and new dynamics.

“The museum part has been expanded to include a number of interesting facts from the history of Istrian olive growing from the Roman period to the present day: how the Romans produced olive oil, where it was exported, how oil refining has changed over the centuries and a number of important facts about modern olive oil production. Through educational guided tastings, visitors can learn how to recognize quality extra virgin olive oils, to which aromas and flavors you should pay attention and taste different varietal oils from various Istrian producers. The entire space covers 560 square meters," said Boljuncic.

Let us remind you, the House of Istrian Olive Oil was opened in 2017 in Pula. Through many years of work, an innovative cultural and tourist product has been created to promote a part of the Istrian culture: top Istrian oils with international awards as well as other valuable and Istrian products. Wanting to be a responsible member of the local community, the Oil House has participated in many events in the Istrian County, and more than 25,000 foreign guests from all continents and over 50 countries have passed through the museum and education/tasting.

The House of Istrian Olive Oil has entered the renowned tourist guides and has won awards and recognitions. Thus, in 2017, it received the Golden Goat Award of the Istria County Tourist Board, and a year later the Council of Europe received the House of Oil in the European organization of Cultural Routes with an emphasis on the route "Olive Routes".

Also in 2019, the House received the international BIG SEE award for interior design for public use and was nominated for the best Slavic museum Živa award.

For more information about the museum and guiding packages prices, be sure to check their website.

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!

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.

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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.

Friday, 9 October 2020

Flos Olei 2021: Istria is the World's Best Olive Oil Region for 6th Consecutive Year!

October 9, 2020 - For the sixth year in a row, Istria is the world's best olive oil region, according to the results of Flos Olei 2021.

HRTurizam reports that in the popular publication Flos Olei, the so-called 'extra virgin olive oil bible,' as many as 71 olive growers from Istria produced such high-quality extra virgin olive oil that it deserved a prestigious award - inclusion in the new, twelfth edition of Flos Olei!

Namely, in the new edition, 73 oils from Croatia are included, of which 71 are from Istria and two from Dalmatia. Simultaneously, several Istrian olive growers achieved better results compared to last year, which is proof of significant work in raising the quality and application of the latest scientific and technological achievements in olive growing.

In 2021, Istria will once again be adorned with the title of the world's best olive oil region, in a winning streak that has lasted six years. This is especially important considering that the publication contains oils from all over the world, or from 54 olive-growing countries, and Istrian olive growers are in the company of the 500 best with a total share of 14 percent.

"It sounds unreal, and I would say pretentious, but for the sixth year in a row, Istria has been declared the best olive region in the world. Since its first edition in 2010, Istria has immediately taken an important role and positioned itself as the second-best olive growing region, just behind Tuscany. However, every year the advantage of Tuscany was smaller. At the end of 2016, it took the leading position that it has maintained to this day, but with a far greater difference than Tuscany previously had in relation to Istria. The fact that Istria has 71 olive growers and Tuscany 43 speaks volumes about what it looks like this year. An even more important fact is that over 1,000 samples from all over the world arrive for evaluation. After that, a selection of the 500 best in the world is made, and that within the 500 best Istria has 71, which is really impressive," proudly points out Denis Ivosevic, director of the Istria County Tourist Board.

It is essential to be aware of the fact that in no discipline, in any industry, sport, or any other important competition in places where reputation is gained and confirmed, does Croatia have as much success as Istrian extra virgin olive oil for six years in a row, Ivosevic emphasizes and adds:

"We are very proud of that fact, but it seems that a lot of work is still needed in our country, and also abroad, so that this primacy gets its full and true value; that we become aware of it first in Croatia and that then all those who promote Croatian gastronomy proudly point it out. In the expectation that next year we will reach at least one grade of 99, I believe that the time has come and that six years of confirmation is enough proof to realize that we are the best in the world in something."

This worldwide success certainly contributes to the branding of Istria and Croatia as a gastronomic destination, given that extra virgin olive oil is the main addition to dishes and the basic food product of Mediterranean cuisine, and due to its organoleptic and medicinal properties, it is appreciated almost everywhere in the world.

Significant investments in olive oil production took place in Istria in this extraordinary year.

The Chiavalon family (Vodnjan) opened a new olive center/modern building that includes a new Mori olive press, with a new cellar, tasting room, sales point, and warehouse, while the Ipša family (Ipši, Oprtalj) also opened a new olive center/refurbished and revalued a traditional building, with a new Mori, cellar, tasting room, point of sale, Istrian tavern and warehouse.

The Vanđelić (Bale) family also opened a new olive center/renovated and revalued a traditional building with a new Mori, cellar, tasting room, and sales outlet, combined with fruit vegetable production.

The Galić family (Kostanjica, Grožnjan) opened a new cellar, tasting room, and sales point, while the Oleum Maris company did the same, and the Beletić family (Novigrad) introduced the PIERALISI.

The guide will soon see the light of day. On 884 pages, it will be published in two language variants (Italian-English and Italian-Chinese) and will present selected countries from five continents and 86 world maps of olive groves. The list of all Croatian award-winning olive growers can be found HERE.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

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Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Šolta Olive Oil Named One of Best in World at New York Competition!

Šolta olive oil has received an impressive new recognition from our friends in the Big Apple. Namely, at the New York International Olive Oil Competition, the Association of Olive Oil "Zlatna Šoltanka" won the "The Best in Class" award as the best oil in the class of environmentally friendly monosortic oil of medium intensity in the world, reports Dalmacija Danas on May 15, 2019. 

Better yet, the "Best in Class" title was received by only 18 olive oils, out of which there were 913 from 26 countries.

“Thus, Šolta olive oil is only and the first from Croatia and Dalmatia, for which we are endlessly proud,” said the president of the Association “Zlatna Šoltanka”, Zlatko Burić.

“It is a great success for Dalmatia, for Šolta, and the “Zlatna Šoltanka" Association - we do not even have to speak - on behalf of our islanders, this is excellent news for all olive growers, farmers and lovers of olive oil,” said Šolta mayor Nikola Cecić-Karuzić.

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Recall, this Šolta olive oil also received the protection of origin at the European Union level back in 2016. 

Croatia participated at the contest in New York with 61 olive oils, of which 51 received the gold or silver prize. Croatia has thus once again ranked at the top with the world’s olive oil giants - Spain and Italy.

The NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition is the largest and most prestigious olive oil quality contest. Its annual list of award winners is the authoritative guide to the world’s best olive oils and the dedicated producers who craft them, reads the NYIOOC website

The awards ceremony was held on May 10, 2019, where the best olive oils of 2019 were unveiled at a press conference streamed live from New York. The results of the competition were followed by producers, importers, distributors chefs, food service professionals and journalists around the world, the website continued. 

Zlatna Šoltanka’s distributor Sascha Menesi was the one to break the news to the Šolta association that they not only won the gold medal at the biggest olive oil competition in the world but have been recognized as the best olive oil in the category of medium-intensity ecological monosortic oil. 

“This is for all the hard-working people in Solta!” said Mirjana Kanzler, who represented the "Best in Class" Award winner.

Thus, all islanders and future olive growers can use this premium award as an incentive to engage in the protection of originality and ecological production.

Zlatna Šoltanka is an association made up of 20 olive oil producers from the island of Šolta. They pride themselves on paying particular attention to "superior quality products, environmental protection and development of the local population".

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Extra Virgin Olive Oil; Knowing the Difference

December 15, 2018 — Over the past decades, it's been estimated that close to 90% of all olive oils we find on the shelves of our favorite supermarkets are not even close to the essence of health that olive oil is considered to be. So how are we supposed to know the difference?

For millennia, people have been growing, picking and processing olives into what's forever been praised as pure, liquid green gold — the extra virgin olive oil. Unfortunately, for almost as many thousands of years, from ancient times to the present, people have also been adulterating this precious oil, blending it with different lower-grade, less nutritious, poor quality oils. Given today's sophisticated technology, adding color and flavor to these chemically enhanced blended oils, and selling them labeled as "extra virgin" becomes even easier.

Basically, extra virgin olive oil is fresh-pressed olive juice made without heat or chemicals. Good EVOO must have three parameters; it has to be fruity, spicy, and bitter.

To really understand it and be able to tell the difference between genuine EVOO and other olive oils of lesser quality, a conscious consumer must learn how to read the labels.

Olive oil is graded by its level of acidity which is an indicator of decomposition; meaning, the amount of free oleic acid indicates the extent to which fat has broken down into fatty acids. Only unrefined olive oils of the highest quality and an acidity level of no more than 0.8% will be labeled as "extra virgin," the highest grade possible.

The "virgin" label means we are looking at an olive oil of lesser quality, with a free acidity of up to 1.5% and even though they still taste good, often these oils will have noticeable flavor defects, even if only slightly present.

Lastly, olive oil that comes from bad fruits or careless processing is called "lampante," the inedible oil of the worst quality. Apart from its high acidity levels and an unpleasant flavor, without further refining, this oil is not fit for any kind of consumption. In fact, the name lampante comes from its traditional use in oil-fueled lamps.

Having a quite strong, pungent taste and aroma, real EVOO is not always smooth on the palate. However, the pronounced bitterness and a burning, peppery sensation it creates in the mouth are actually both signs of quality, indicating high levels of polyphenols which carry the numerous health benefits associated with the olive oil. Generally, EVOO's flavor will basically depend on the terroir and olive variety, but also the time of harvest.

Another important thing to pay attention to is the best-before date. As a rule of thumb, an unopened olive oil should be good for about two years from the time it was bottled. However, the date of harvest is actually a much better indicator of freshness, as it tells you exactly when the olives have been milled and the oil pressed.

Even though EVOO is a supremely healthy food, it is known to be highly perishable. Since light, heat, and air drastically affect its stability, we need to make sure it is properly stored — at room temperature and away from the sunlight. Also, once we open a sealed bottle of olive oil, it is recommended to use it within no more than six months.

If not used in time, even the finest oil will eventually go rancid. So once we've mastered the labels, it's time to rely on our senses. Rancidness is basically fat gone bad, and it has an unpleasant smell of staleness, often described as the smell of old nuts or even crayons, and if you're not sure about the smell, tasting rancid oil will leave you with a repugnant, greasy mouthfeel.

The three other most common olive oil defects are fustiness, caused by the non-oxygen fermentation of olives before they are milled; the strong winey smell of oxygen-fermented olives, reminiscent of vinegar; and the mustiness caused by moldy olives.

In conclusion, if olive oil doesn't exude a delightful aroma of fresh green or ripe olives, and doesn't taste fruity and spicy with a pronounced note of bitterness, chances are you've got a case of a good oil gone bad.

If you want to know more, check out the OOT, and for more related content here on TCN, make sure to follow our dedicated page.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Istria Named Best Olive Oil Region in World for Fourth Consecutive Year!

After Istria was represented by 75 olive oils in 2018, this year, the region became the best for olive oil once again. 

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Olive Oil Rejuvenates A Croatian Village, One Month A Year

“E, i?”

That’s how the day starts at about 4 p.m. Or better put, how the day starts to end. With a “Yeah, and?”

“I picked about maybe about 70 kilos. And it's hot,” I replied, throwing myself onto a barstool and exhaling. “I shouldn’t, for the love of God, be wearing short sleeves.”

Not in mid-November. Not during the olive harvest.

Scattered around the bar are familiar faces. There’s a cousin... No, not a cousin. Just a friend’s father. Might as well be a cousin. 

You’ve got the carpenter who seems to have had a mustache his whole life, and his lanky brother, a mechanic who hasn’t met a day without shaving first. There's that chainsmoker with the salt-and-pepper hair that swoops back over his bald spot and curls up back behind his ears. He left decades ago but comes back every November for the harvest. 

Then there's the stumpy, bald guy with the lopsided eyeglasses… Well, he’s always here.

These folks, they all speak this village’s variant of “čakavski”. They can tell you which house they were born in — it inevitably isn’t the same one they were raised in. They all laugh at each other’s faults, yet burst into rage-filled arguments at the slightest provocation. 

They all hail from Mali Iž.

No zimmer frei seeking a liqeur not on the shelf. No members of the Canadian or Aussie diaspora in Ray Ban sunglasses puncuating their conversations with English exclamations (mostly “faken”).

And so it goes, every year when the olives switch from shiny green orbs to blotchy purple droops, a vast collective of Mali Iž’s local diaspora descend onto this island, coming “home” if only for a few weeks. Folks who left long ago for brighter prospects and bountiful opportunities. For bigger dreams and better odds.

They left, frankly, because they didn’t want to spend a lifetime doing this; depending on the whims of a tree which produces fruit whenever the hell it feels like.

The irony isn’t lost on the mass of Malo Ižani flooding the island to pick olives. They know they’ve come back to do the thing they tried to escape.

In the process, they accidentally show what the island could have been if they stayed. Vibrant, alive, unique. To borrow a phrase: Iž, Full of life.

Because on Iž and a few other Dalmatian islands like it, olives weren’t a happy hobby, or one of a myriad of economic sectors. It wasn’t a fad.

Olives were a means of survival.

The olives on Iž still hold onto the rows and parcels set centuries ago.

When the first settlers arrived on this island about 1,000 years ago, they were greeted by a heap of limestone and dolomite ridges, covered in aggressive weeds which survived despite lackluster soil and arid conditions.

It was not screaming out for an agricultural boom. Yet the island’s owners — Zadar’s aristocracy and the Church — wanted some return on investment from their island holdings, while safely tucked away in their mainland villas. Their needs were met by some willing and needy economic dregs seeking something to keep them alive.

Those early settlers — my ancestors — broke open the hard rocky shell of this island quite literally by hand, until they found soil worth propagating. They tilled, dug, fertilized and planted olives.

The same olives I’ve spent the better part of five years rejuvenating. The same olives which, yesterday, gave me this…

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Hazards And Hope At The Mill

“I tried Viagra. Doesn’t work for me.”

This is how my day at the mill begins — or starts to begin. Our town “mechanic” is laying bare the trials and tribulations of life as a 30-something transplant who moved to this island from Zagreb. He’s black and brown with the grease of mashed up olives, his hands and face shiny like a newly-minted coin. 

“Yeah, I already heard this one” I tell him, yet he continues, “Viagra only makes me hungry!”

Inside the mill, the grindstones are whirring over freshly-dumped olives, which pop and smack as they’re crushed. The soft, lilting smell of freshly-pressed olives stands stout in the air, as immovable as the hydraulic press which produces it. 

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Then there’s the “separator,” a barrel-shaped device which whirls the freshly-pressed oil to remove any last bits of water and solids, then spits it out of a tongue-like tube.

It represents the terminus of an annual olive journey that starts with fertilizer and ends with a gas-powered trimmer. Rituals of all sorts are peppered along the way: grilling food while burning pruned branches; the backaches felt after digging fertilizer into the soil with a crooked spade known locally as a motika; age-old arguments over pruning techniques and modern vs. traditional agronomy.

Then, on your day at the mill, it’s customary to bring the workers some form of sustenance, booze and deserts.

And perhaps entertain the odd erectile function story out of sheer good will.

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Find someone old enough on Iž and they’ll tell of a life completely consumed by the soil and sea. Grapes, figs, pomegranates, plums, and the occasional almond tree, accompanied the usual vegetable gardens and potato fields. And perhaps in particularly fruitful (read: profitable) years, cured meats.

Yet at the heart of it all was the olive — a source of food, light and heat. It was also, for many, equal to any currency. (It certainly outlasted quite a few.) 

Iško ulje could get you cheese from Pag, wine from Zadar and a handyman to repair something around the house, all in a shadowy barter economy that still exists if you make the right offer.

Now though, Iž's oil is mostly the domain of hobbyists and romantic nostalgics looking for a brief dose of their past lives.

More than any other summer vacation, or one-off family gathering, olive season brings out the final vestiges of what was once a thriving micro-culture. One has to wonder: why can’t olives bring it back again permanently?

To read more about olive picking in Croatia, click here.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Over 700 Visitors Travel to Novigrad to Pick Olives Every Year

Because who wouldn't want to pick olives in the offseason just a few steps away from the sea?

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Ugljan Celebrates Wonders of Olive Oil

The island of Ugljan shows some love to an enormous part of Dalmatia's rich herigate - olive oil.

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