What Does it Take for Istrian Olive Oil to be Rated Best Year after Year?

Daniela Rogulj

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The region of Istria once again wears the proud title of the best olive oil region in the world, but what does it take for Istrian olive oil to prevail?

On Friday in Motovun, at the Wine & Heritage Hotel Roxanichu, a presentation and distribution of the Flos Olei 2019 guide were held, where, for the fourth year in a row, Istria was proclaimed the best olive region in the world, reports HRTurizam on March 9, 2019. 

It is an unbeatable success for Istria where the tradition of olive growing has lasted more than two millennia, and this worldwide success positively contributes to the branding of Istria as a gastronomic destination.

Istrian olive groves found themselves in the company of exactly 500 of the best olive oils in the world, which means that in the international production of premium extra virgin olive oil, Istria has a share of as much as 15.8 percent.

In the popular publication Flos Olei 2019, which is considered to be the bible of extra virgin olive oil, 81 oils from Croatia were included, of which there are 79 samples from Istria, and two from Dalmatia. Interestingly, most olive growers achieved better results compared to the previous year, which is evidence of significant work on raising quality and applying the latest scientific and technological achievements in olive growing.

From the very beginning, the Istria County Tourist Board has coordinated with Istrian olive growers and is considered the connection between the producers and the Italian guide. 

“The extra virgin olive oil project is best demonstrated by the successful cooperation between the private and public sectors. The public sector has enabled the environment and conditions for raising new groves. In all of this, tourism has recognized exceptional potential. We started with education, public opinion, designed and organized a tourist product, and put Istrian olive oil producers in a position to show their knowledge, effort and innovation to the whole world that Istrian extra virgin olive oil belongs to the very top of quality. And not only that, but there is nowhere else in the world in such a small area as Istria, that has so many beautiful, well equipped and professionally organized and guided olive itineraries that are today a tourist attraction,” said director of Tourist Board of Istria County Denis Ivošević.

Marco Oreggia, the founder and publisher of the prestigious Flos Olei guide and one of the most influential opinions on extra virgin olive oils, said that Flos Olei reached its tenth birthday, and over time, has kept a genuine look at high-quality extra virgin olive oil.

“It’s been 15 years since Istria debuted in our guide. They were years of great growth, thanks to a vital institutional impulse that recognized the potential and valorized the sector in a way that supported the producers and followed them, either in the process of recovering the tradition that was firmly rooted in Istria, or in improving the quality level. Today we can say that OPGs have finally flourished: the groves are expanding and growing, and investment in technology is also significant. Once they were small family estates, which gradually became larger and more structured companies able to increase their production and present themselves in international markets,” Orreggia said, and concluded that Croatia, which is almost entirely represented by the Istrian region, so small in comparison to traditional production giants, is absolutely visible in the range and is presented in its entirety as a reality of high quality.

In the end, it should be emphasized that Istrian extra virgin oil has recently been protected by the designation of origin at the EU level.

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