Chiavalon Best Olive Oil Hospitality in Europe, Vanđelić Best Oil

Paul Bradbury

March 16, 2023 – More international success for the stars of Istrian olive oil, as Chiavalon and Damir Vanđelić shine at Premio il Magnifico in Italy.

It is one of my favourite stories of my 22 years in Croatia, a story which keeps adding more impressive chapters with each passing year.

It all started when a 13-year-old boy decided to start taking care of a few of his grandfather’s olive trees. By the time I first met Sandi and Tedi Chiavalon back in 2017 (you can read about that in Chiavalon in Istria: Making Olive Oil with the World’s Best), they were still in their old facility in Vodnjan, making about 17,000 litres of quality olive oil each year. Two of the nicest guys I have met in my time here.

As for the new chapter, well perhaps it is best told by the Chiavalons themselves. A translation from their Facebook page:


At last night’s announcement of the best extra virgin olive oils in Europe, the Premio Il Magnifico in Tuscany, we received the award for the best oleotourism in Europe “Best Oil Hospitality 2024”.

After two years ago at the same competition, we won the olive Oscar “Il Magnifico” for the best olive growing company, and after we won the “Best of North Adriatic Region” award last year and were among the 3 finalists of the competition, this award left us breathless, to put it mildly.

In 2008, we built the first olive oil tasting room in Istria, when we didn’t even know the potential of oleotourism.

We believed in the idea that guests in the destination should be provided with the best possible experience that will connect them with us and the destination in the long term. We encouraged our colleagues to go in that direction with the vision that Istria must become the best olive growing destination in the world. In 2020, we built a new oil mill, a kind of olive growing center, where we further raised the level of service we provide, and developed a whole series of activities and tasting-educational programs. Today in Vodnjan, in Istria, we have dozens of wonderful tasting rooms of hardworking olive growing families.

This award has multiple significance for us.

This is a reward to the whole family for all that we have done together all these years.

This is a reward for all our hard-working employees who have accepted our philosophy and who have woven themselves completely into each of our products and into each service that we provide in our oil mill. Without them, all this would not be possible.

This is a reward for all the hard-working fellow olive growers who tell the story of olive oil from Istria every day in their tasting rooms and who tirelessly educate tens of thousands of guests on how to create honest, natural, unadulterated olive oil.

And finally, this is a reward for Istria and all its people who have turned this beautiful region into one of the most desirable places in the world over the last twenty years.

And there was more good news for Istrian olive oil, as explained by Damir Vanđelić (translation from his Facebook page):

I would like to thank our entire team at OPG, especially manager Patrik Giachin who takes care of the plantations and manages the work of our oil mill, for another extraordinary success, this time in Florence, at the demanding Premio il Magnifico competition.

With our olive oil, we achieved top results and won the award for the best extra virgin olive oil in the “Il Magnifico 2024 Best Bacino Mediterraneo-Orientale” category.

Our dear Marija Virkes, oil sommelier and tasting manager, received the award.

This time we are the only oil from Croatia that is among the top 6 oils in Europe.We are not just OPG, we are like a united family and that is why we have been together for a long time and that is why we have outstanding results.


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