GOLOCAL

As it swirls around your mouth it explodes, it opens out to reveal all of its complexity, with harmony and a persistent taste that doesn't drop away.

You could be forgiven for thinking we are talking about a fine wine.

Like any good wine, a fine balance and harmony of flavours all flowing together is what the judges at the New York International Olive Oil Competition were looking for as they judged five New Zealand oils worthy of gold at this year's competition.

One of the most prestigious competitions for olive oil in the world, this year the competition attracted 900 entries from 26 countries.

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Among them was Kapiti Olive Oil's Picual blend, which was entered by Olives New Zealand along with four other New Zealand olive oils.

Kapiti Olive Oil's Picual blend has won gold at the New York International Olive Oil Competition. Photo / Rosalie Willis
Kapiti Olive Oil's Picual blend has won gold at the New York International Olive Oil Competition. Photo / Rosalie Willis

All the New Zealand oils entered were winners from the 2019 New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards, and all took gold at the prestigious New York competition.

The winners were Kakariki Mediterranean Blend, Kapiti Picual blend, Olea Estate Picual, Old French Road Picual and Woodside Bay.

Waking up to a text with the results, Kapiti Olive Oil owners David and Helen Walshaw were delighted with their win and what this means for the New Zealand olive oil industry.

"It's really outstanding, they're from different regions around New Zealand, which is really brilliant," David said.

"Our growing experience is not the same as those in the Northern Hemisphere, so we've had to learn a whole new way of doing things.

"People look at Kāpiti olives, this grove, and call it the exemplar grove."

"It's an overall good news story for New Zealand olive oils," Helen said.

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"We've got concentrated growing areas around New Zealand, but this result shows we are good horticulturalists and are learning."

Kapiti Olive Oil's grove is almost ready for harvesting. Photo / Rosalie Willis
Kapiti Olive Oil's grove is almost ready for harvesting. Photo / Rosalie Willis

Having won awards at the Olives New Zealand awards for the past 16 years, Kapiti Olive Oil has never failed to be awarded nationally, however this is the first time they have entered or won at the New York competition.

Their winning blend was made from the Spanish Picual olive.

Each year yields different results with their most recent winning blend having an aromatic, fresh smell, with a slight taste of artichoke.

"It's very aromatic, with a beautiful green fresh smell, a slight taste of artichoke, like green tomatoes, with a lot of complexity to it," Helen said.

With their taste buds becoming more refined over the years of trying different blends, as soon as they tried their 2019 Picual blend they knew it was a winner.

"It was one of those oils we just thought 'oh, this is a brilliant oil,' it was so obvious," said David.

"All styles of people were trying it when we were selling it at the markets over summer, and they all consistently said 'wow'.

"That's the word we look for, that's our litmus test.

"If people go 'wow', we know it's a good one."

Olives New Zealand chief executive Gayle Sheridan said, "These results couldn't have come at a better time for the industry.

"These wins are very exciting for the New Zealand olive industry, once again punching above its weight on an international platform.

"Kapiti Olive Oil has a notable record of winning top awards in the New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards.

"It was a pleasure to be able to submit their 2019 Best in Show Picual blend to the New York competition."

Get in quick to purchase this award-winning, locally produced olive oil before this year's crop is harvested and the next blend is created.

David and Helen are also looking to sell the business, so support them now before they move on.