September 29, 2023 – It has been a long time coming, and now, finally, an Istrian olive oil scored a perfect 100 points in the Flos Olei World Olive Oil Guide.
As Jutarnji writes, it took a good 20 years. Agrofin’s Mate is produced in the oil mill of the same name in Zambratija near Umag, owned by Aleksandra Vekić. Though it has been scoring highly for years, an Istrian olive oil stood alongside the world’s best olive oils for the first time. Of 500 oils this famous guide picks each year, only nine received the maximum points. The oil in question, Mate Bianca Bellezza, is also one of 9 oils that entered the Hall of Fame category, along with three from Spain and five from Italy.
The oil from this truly impressive olive farm, created at the end of the 90s and the beginning of the 2000s, built by Mate Vekić, who was later succeeded by his daughter Aleksandra, last year scored 99 points. Their first 100 was expected, but the owner of the oil mill and her hard-working team are still really proud.
Agrofin’s Road to Success
As Aleksandra says, they entered the guide with 82 points. In 14 years at Flos Olea, they entered the top 20 oils in the world in various categories three times. Their first award went for Transparenza Marina oil in the category of medium fruit oils. Then came the award for the best packaging in the world, while last year, they received recognition for the best olive farm in the world.
Over the years, the quality of their oil has increased; they received the certification that the oil is biological, increased the quantities, and made improvements in their oil mill. The owner pointed out that behind such a great success is a team of people, including her agronomist, graphic designer, people who work in the olive grove, tasters, people who work in the oil mill and on the machines, and olive cutters.
Let us not forget that they only process their olives, namely Buža, Istrian Bjelica, Frantoio, Leccino and Pendolino and some table olives. By the way, Aleksandra’s property, with 27 thousand olive trees, is the second largest producer of olive oil in Istria after Poreč’s Agrolaguna.
Huge Success for Many Istrian Olive Oils
The director of the Tourist Board of Istria, Denis Ivošević, who started promoting Istrian olive oils twenty years ago, especially through various guides, says that Istria is celebrating 20 years of presence in this guide.
“During that period, Istria was eight times declared the first and eight times the second-best olive-growing region in the world. We can see significant progress from year to year. The biggest achievement is the entry of Aleksandra Vekić, that is, her oil company Agrofin with the Mate brand, into the so-called Hall of Fame. This is the first time that an oil producer from Croatia has entered this prestigious category alongside the great powers,” Ivošević pointed out.
He added that the Ipša family from Ipša near Oprtalj received 99 points for their oil for the first time and that three other Istrian olive oils also received a high 98 points – Olea B.B. from Rabac, OPG Chiavalon from Vodnjan and OPG Enio Zubin from Buščina near Umag.
“In the so-called premium segment, which is from 95 to 100 points, Istria alone has 17 olive oils this year. That means we beat Tuscany with 16, Puglia with 15, and Andalusia with 12.
According to the Flos Olei guide, Istria is the best olive-growing region in the world, with the highest number of oils in the guide compared to other regions. This year, 69 made it in the guide, followed by the Italian region of Puglia with 55 oils and Tuscany with 51 oils.