The San Benito Olive Festival announced the winners of its first Olive Oil Awards that were presented at the second annual gourmet celebration on Oct. 11 at the Bolado Park Fairgrounds.
California olive growers from Tehama, Butte, Alameda, Santa Clara, San Luis Obispo and San Benito counties competed in two categories: Extra-virgin olive oil was one category, while the other was flavor-infused olive oil.
Ascolano, a Tuscan mono-varietal harvested by Lucero Olive Oil, of Corning, won the grand prize in the extra-virgin olive oil category. The Gold Award went to Trabia Farms, of Templeton, for its Arbequina Olea Reserve and the Silver Award to Brigantino Olive Oil of Hollister for its Tuscan Blend. The Bronze Award was presented to Sons-of-Sicily, also from Hollister, for its Italian variety.
The grand prize for flavor-infused olive oil was bestowed to MoonShadow Grove, of Oroville, for their Mandarin Orange. Owned by Rich and Diane Mathews, MoonShadow Grove is one of the largest organic olive groves in California.
Trabia Farms also took home the Gold Award for its garlic-infused olive oil. The Silver Award went to Pietra Santa Winery, of Hollister, for its rosemary-infused olive oil, while Big Paw, of Campbell, earned the Bronze Award for its rosemary-and-garlic infused olive oil.
“Our judges had a blast sampling the aromatic flavors and unique tastes of each high quality California olive oil," said Kathina Szeto, president and founder of San Benito Olive Festival, a not-for-profit organization. "We want to thank all the talented award winning olive growers and artisans who participated. This was a really good first start for us and proved to be a wonderful addition to our annual gourmet celebration. We look forward to our next olive oil competition in 2015.”