Ancient amphora in roman antic coliseum amphitheatre in Pula, Istria, Croatia
Flos Olei Names Istria Best Olive Region in the World
Flos Olei, the world's most comprehensive guide to the world's best extra virgin olive oils, voted Istria the best olive region in the world, Istrian County Tourist Board announced on March 5, 2016.
In its 2016 edition, Istria is the region with the largest number of included olive growers and oil producers, proving the exceptional quality of product originating from this Croatian region. More than 50 Istrian olive growers and producers are listed in this year's Flos Olei, which is published and edited by Marco Oreggia, journalist, critic and expert food and wine taster -with the collaboration of Laura Marinelli, also journalist and expert taster.
The grading methodology consists of a “rigorous” evaluation process of the olive oils presented by a panel of expert tasters through numerous tastings, as well as the development of a sensory profile of the samples. Only those extra virgin olive oils that are considered “suitable” can appear in each edition.
Istria now swapped places with Tuscany, a region that held the top spot in terms of the number of featured olive oil makers for the last several years. This is great news for all Istrian producers as the title will bring them extra publicity and quality points on the international market since more than 500 olive growers from 59 countries on continents were featured in this year's edition: „Each olive grower and olive oil producer wants to be featured in this publication. The guide is very objective when it comes to grading autochtonous characteristics and Istria has plenty of them, just take for instance our varieties bjankera, karbonaca and buža. Our producers have preserved them and used them in the best possible way“ – Tourist Board release states.
The olive oil roads of Istria will lead you to some of the most outstanding olive oils in the world. Istria’s olive oils were highly valued even in the time of the Roman Empire.Marcus Valerius Martial, writer of epigrams who lived in the first century, paid tribute to Istria’s olive oils by exclaiming that his native Cordoba was “as perfect as the oil of Istria.”
In Istria, olive oil dates back to the Greek and Roman times – olive oil presses were recovered from the island of Brijuni some 2,000 years ago. Olive oil is part of the Istrian lifestyle and cuisine and today you can enjoy many varieties of olive oil with different food. Many restaurants and konobas in Istria serve different types of olive oil and you can even choose between different olive oil varieties with your lunch, such as Pendolino, Leccino, Buza, or Bjelica, which are grown and produced in Istria.
As a symbol of the Mediterranean, olive oil has always been much more than an ordinary food ingredient. Olive oil production in Istria has a long manufacturing tradition which is run by independent olive-growers. In fact, at international exhibitions, Istrian olive oils are often awarded as being one of the best oils in the world.