History of the Olive Oil Award / Olive Congress
In October 2001, the food sensory science group within the institute for food and beverage innovation (ILGI) at ZHAW - University of Applied Sciences Zurich (former: HSW), in the context of the specialized exhibition „Gourmesse“ at Zürich, has participated in a competition concerning „extra virgin“ olive oil, available in the german-speaking market (Switzerland, Germany, Austria). On this occasion the university rendered scientific support with the tasting (sensory analysis) of 60 olive oils „extra virgin“ by a panel of specialists.
At the end of February 2002 for the first time ever a sensory evaluation of Olive Oils took place (1st International Olive Oil Award - Zurich 2002") - organised by the ZHAW in cooperation with the "Gourmesse". The extra virgin olive oils were degustated, evaluated and awarded by an international panel of experts (Golden Olive / Silver Olive). On the occasion of the Gourmesse in Zurich (autumn 2002) the consumer had the possibility to test these same oils and to give them their individual rating (Olio).
Since this event took place, in each following year, the International Olive Oil Award, was organised and held with great success. Thereby the concept was examined and improved continously. That means, that a trained panel of tasters (Swiss Olive Oil Panel (SOP)) was set up, that the panel takes part in regular tests, organised by the IOC (International Olive Council) in Madrid, to gain official recognition, as well as the optimisation of special services within the IOOA, for example, the possibility to evaluate chemical parameters as well as sensory properties of the olive oils or the extension of the award-categories "Golden Olive" and "Silver Olive" with the category "Award".