Extravirgin Olive Oil comes of age on the Mornington Peninsula
Maritime Cool Climate Olives set the benchmark
Mornington Peninsula Olive Association has confirmed the Peninsula as one of the premier Olive production regions in the country. 16 of 18 EVOO entries received a Bronze Medal or better at the inaugural Extravirgin Olive Oil and Table Olive competition . The celebratory awards dinner was held at Paringa Estate, Red Hill on Saturday 29/8/2009.The competition was open to all olive groves in the Mornington Peninsula shire and was independently judged by three of Australia’s most eminent and internationally accredited judges headed by Richard Gawel from South Australia. Oils were subjected to full biochemical analysis by Modern Olives ( Victoria) and organoleptic (sensory) evaluation.
The results were consistent with those achieved by Mornington Peninsula Oils in the last three years at national olive oil competitions. Although the MP does not yet produce large quantities of olive oil, it has won acclaim for quality far exceeding its relative production levels. The judging panel summarized the results as outstanding.
The panel awarded two gold awards together with a number of silver & bronze awards in the olive oil section and an outstanding merit certificate in the table olive section.
In conveying the assessment of the tasting panel Richard Gawel commented on the brilliant freshness, taste and useability of Mornington Peninsula Extra Virgin Olive Oils.
He also made reference to the outstanding biochemical characteristics of the oils, and the role that this is increasingly playing as a marker of the health benefits and quality of extravirgin olive oil.
The best oil of the show for 2009 ( and inaugural ‘Primo de situ’ or ‘best of the region’) was awarded to one of the gold medallists ( Leontyna Estate ) for an outstanding Picual/Koroneiki blend. The award was presented by MP Shire Economic Development Officer, Mr Shane Murphy. In accepting the award, Jill and Julian Barson acknowledged the dedication of their manager, Mr Ashley Andrews in the success.
The other gold medal winner ( Oil makers and growers Peta and Ralph Zito of Victorian Olive Groves) received their principal award for a stunning single varietal Koroneiki together with several other awards.
The presentation dinner was co-ordinated and hosted by Jill Barson and highlighted a brilliant menu enhanced by the award winning oils and complemented by the fine wines of Paringa Estate.
The co-president of the MPOA ( Assoc Prof Graeme Hart) launched the regional appellation and accreditation process for Mornington Peninsula Oils. This Geographic Indicator (GI) program establishes a quality framework that ensures consumers that olive oils bearing the MP GI logo are verified to be from the Peninsula and that the oils will therefore have the special characteristics for which the MP is becoming known. These Maritime Cool Climate Olives and Olive Oils display high antioxidant and flavour characteristics.
The benefits of co-operation with vignerons, regional gourmet societies and a supportive potential role for local government were highlighted by different speakers.
Graeme Hart, together with Julian Barson ( MPOA webmaster) also launched the Mornington Peninsula Olive Association website with its distinctive logo and maritime theme. This new site will become an integral link for MP regional producers, feature Mornington Olive Products and is an information resource for the public. The public area includes information on olive oil, health information, links to members web sites and information for prospective new members.
The full results of the 2009 competition will be available on the website.
The future looks bright for Olives to join other to join and enhance others premium foods produced in Australia’s premier maritime region , The Mornington Peninsula.