Katrina Bach, left with Rachel Priestly in Greytown at The Olive Press with their award-winning oils. PHOTO/KAREN COLTMAN
Greytown’s The Olive Press has scooped a major award at this year’s Australian International Olive Awards.
The company’s Limited ‘Pressed Gold’ Rosmarino Blu Toscano entry shared the top honours in the Best Flavoured Oil in Show category with Australia’s Rio Vista Olives.
Olive Press chairman Rod Lingard said to his knowledge, it was the first time a New Zealand olive oil had won a major award at a prestigious international competition.
Lingard said the company was delighted to have won two gold and two silver medals.
The awards chief steward Trudie Michaels said the international judging panel had described the Wairarapa oil as having “fresh, clear, very intense rosemary aromas reflected well by authentic transfer to the palate and complemented by the pairing with a quality olive oil”.
“It has a light mouth feel with flavour intensifying with the pungency. The persistence was outstanding. It is a flavourful oil with finesse and abundance,” she said.
Olive Press managing director Katrina Bach said their winning oil was an ‘end-to-end’ collaboration with Masterton’s Loopline Olives which provided the olive fruit for the base oil.
Master blender Rachel Priestley sourced the rosemary herb most favoured by chefs and supervised the agrumato process.
“The herb goes in with the olives when they are pressed, but after the oil was produced, there was a three-step process to get the oil to where I wanted it,” said Priestley, a chef and an International Olive Council-trained judge.
“I work very carefully to strip the rosemary stems and leaves to be sure the oil has a rich aromatic flavour but is not woody to taste,” Priestley said.
“The oil is wonderful drizzled on fish or lamb just as the food is finishing. It is also lovely on roast potatoes.
“Gaining a great flavour and texture is a very, very satisfying achievement and we are all very proud we won this top international award,” Priestley said.
At this year’s New Zealand Olive awards, the company won seven gold and five silver medals for its oils.