Take a moment and imagine…
Imagine the wild taste of ginger on your tongue. Now, fresh lime… and then the deep green spiciness of basil. Roll this sensation around in your imagination suffused in a blend of the finest organic olive oils from the Peloponnese region in Greece. Feel the sunshine. Picture the grove of olive trees with grey-green leaves fluttering in the warm breezes. Wildflowers at their feet and trees full of bright lemons and limes.
Meet Gemstone, chosen Number 1 in the prestigious EVOO World Ranking 2019 (EVOOWR 2019) for Condimento-Flavored Olive Oils. This classification is part of the World Ranking of WAWWJ (World Association of Journalists and Writers of Wines, Liquors and others).
This is the second year that the Sakellaropoulos Organic Farms has won this award for gourmet flavoured olive oils. Last year, Majestic, the first in what will unfold into the new range of gourmet flavoured oils, Olive Oil Jewels, was awarded Number 1 in EVOOWR 2018.
Tarragon and lemongrass infused in a harmonic blend of Koroneiki, Kalamata and Koutsouroelia variety olives distinguish Majestic while Gemstone is an infusion in the balanced blend of Koroneiki, Athinoelia and Kalamon.
The Sakellaropoulos Family (three generations) garner national acclaim as well in that 2018 and 2019 are the first years that Greece has been awarded top prize out of 34 olive oil producing countries.
Inspiration, Innovation and Expertise
Tarragon and lemongrass? Ginger, Lime and Basil? Where do these combinations come from and what might come next in Olive Oil Jewels? Son, Nick Sakellaropoulos tells me that combinations emanate out of years of discussion around the family table, experimentation in the lab and feedback from chefs.
Gemstone was four years in the making and began with basil, a family favourite herb, which is prolific on the farm. The Sakellaropoulos Family use only premium extra virgin olive oil, choosing blends of varieties that harmonize with the flavours. The herbs, grasses and fruits are local and mostly come from the farm. The family has a database of herbs and they mix and match for harmony, balance and taste.
The farm, deep in the Peloponnese near Sparta and Lakonia spreads out under the cool gaze of Mount Taygetos. Handed down from the grandfather, father, George and son, Nick (a chemical engineer) now manage the farm and fulfill a vision as vast and lofty as the mountain in the distance. They are dedicated to organic farming, which they refer to as a natural contract that sets their course as they strive for harmony between Nature and tradition.
The Sakellaropoulos Family works with love and absolute respect for Nature with a professionalism, expertise and discernment that has garnered them 135 international awards for olive oils and table olives. They also produce St. John’s wort oil and a range of handmade soaps and natural cosmetics.
This family passion is the reason that the EVOO World Ranking First Place became such a coveted award. This is a ranking where numbers don’t lie and subjectivity or favouritism has no place. It’s a ranking of excellence only.
What Makes This Ranking So Important?
In our world of advertising hype and superlatives – doesn’t everyone say they are the best? This ranking levels the playing field in a way that is fair, objective and indisputable. It is a service to conscientious buyers who are fed up with the noise in the media and want “just the facts”.
A total of 12,092 olive oil samples from 34 olive oil producing countries around the world were submitted to the 30 competitions assessed this year. These included the U.S., U.K., Japan, Germany, Belgium, Israel, Argentina, Spain, Italy, Greece, France and Cyprus.
Here’s how the ranking works. Only international olive oil competitions are included in the ranking. Competitions are classified by continent and country. Of the 30 competitions, the most important is the Mario Solinas Quality Award hosted by the International Olive Oil Council in Madrid. Mario Solinas has the top point score with six additional levels of competition rated according to importance, which have a sliding point scale.
Only olive oils in various categories with a score of 160 points plus are listed as top in the world. Sakellaropoulos Organic Farming has received awards from New York (NYIOOC), Tokyo (Olive Japan), and London among others including Cyprus (Aristoleo Awards), Israel (Terravolivo) and Argentina (Olivinus).
With a total of 1219 points, Sakellaropoulos Organic Farms is honored to be in the 2nd place of the Best Greek Olive Oil Producing Companies (RANKING OF COMPANIES OF GREECE 2019).
Sakellaropoulos Organic Farming has a unique record for a Greek single estate producer; 135 international taste, quality and health beneficial properties awards for their products.
“Our vision is to create organic olive oils and olives of high quality which are classified under the category of bio functional food and we have achieved it. This means that they contain significant benefits for the human body way beyond the usual nutritional value. This is the main objective and philosophy of Sakellaropoulos Organic farms; we want our products to be a conscious choice for the consumer and not have our products bought by chance.” Nick Sakellaropoulos.
The vast array of offerings from the Sakellaropoulos Organic Farming proves that Nature’s nuances in bio-functional foods can delight the senses and deliver great daily health benefits!
Greece’s National Treasure
Greece is home to over 200 varieties of olive and with 6,000 western flora species and more than 1,000 endemic species is a
“[Greece is a] natural hotspot of biodiversity” says Rural Development and Food Minister, Stavros Arachovitis.
With this richness of nature, the Sakellaropoulos Family are endlessly inspired. Imagine what Olive Oil Jewel is in the making right now for next year and the years to come. Yes, just imagine…
Links of Interest
Here is an article I wrote for HuffPost a couple of years ago when Sakellaropoulos Organic Farming won the first Gold Award given to table olives for their health promoting phenolic content at Aristoleo Awards, 2017. Five Olives a Day Keeps the Doctor Away?
It is my experience in Greece working with olive growers, especially those with the ethos and dedication to Nature like the Sakellaropoulos Family, that Greece is a vital seed bank and resource for natural medicinal plants and herbs now and for the future.
There is a growing consciousness here in Greece that is imperative to protect this biodiversity as other countries tip into industrial agriculture and GMO territory controlled by global corporate interests rather than the health and well-being of the individual. We must revere the infinite genius of Nature herself. and look for products produced with this consiousness. Simply, they are good for us.
It’s a privilege to write about these visionaries and uphold the edict of Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food.”