SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California State Fair & Food Festival kicked off its 2020 celebration of food and agriculture on March 4 with the sixth annual judging of the Commercial Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition. The competition is unique in that it is solely for olive oils which are grown, processed and bottled right here in California.
157 California Olive Oils were entered into this year’s competition, and were evaluated by panels of industry expert Judges in a “Blind Tasting” at Cal Expo. California State Fair Head Judge Sue Langstaff, owner of Applied Sensory LLC., enlisted the talents of an exceptional group of skilled and experienced judges, some with over 20 years of experience in the industry. Langstaff commented on the entries for this year, “I was very impressed with the overall quality of olive oils submitted for this competition. The Judges represented a mix of industry personnel and California taste panel members who performed their duties well and worked diligently to taste through the 157 oils.”
The 2020 Best of Show Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Frantoio Grove of Gilroy, California. A Best of Show award from the California State Fair is a much welcome change from last year when a disastrous early-spring weather pattern destroyed the olive tree blossoms in Frantoio Grove, and absolutely no olives were produced. Judges describe this year’s successful oil as having a, “great nose and nice balance in the mouth; and excellent example of a well-made Frantoio.”
The 2020 Best of Show Flavored Olive Oil is Organic Clementine Crush by ENZO Olive Oil Company of Clovis, California. The judges described the oil as having a, “great intense aroma, balance & finish.” The oil is co-milled, meaning the olives are milled together with fresh California mandarins, rather than adding an extract to finished olive oil.
This competition honors olive oil producers at all production levels. The Best California Extra Virgin Olive Oil by a Micro-producer Award, (less than 500 gallons annually) was awarded to Bella Di Cerignola Extra Virgin Olive Oil by The Olive Plantation of Temecula, CA. The Best of California Extra Virgin Olive Oil by an Artisan Producer Award, (between 500 and 5,000 gallons annually) was awarded to Frantoio Grove Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil of Gilroy, CA. The Best California Extra Virgin Olive Oil by a Large Producer Award, (more than 5,000 gallons annually) went to Estate Grown Taggiasca from Séka Hills of Brooks, CA.
Complete results and competition information can be found on the California State Fair website at CAStateFair.org.
The California State Fair will present this year’s Best of Show winners with the iconic Golden Bear Trophy at a morning media event on the steps of the State Capitol on Thursday June 25, 2020, along with Best of Show- winning commercial wine, beer and cheese producers. That evening winning olive oils will be on hand at the Best of California Tasting event at Cal Expo, prior to the Friends of the California State Fair Gala honoring the Agriculturist of the Year. For more information on the gala and to purchase tickets, visit CAStateFair.org/gala/.
During the 2020 California State Fair, July 17 – August 2, fair guests will enjoy an exhibit featuring award-winning extra virgin olive oils, free tastings, and the opportunity to purchase olive oil directly from award-winning California olive oil producers.
About the California State Fair
The California State Fair is an international award-winning fair, receiving top honors at the International Association of Fairs and Expositions out of more than 1,100 fairs world-wide. The California State Fair is dedicated as a place to celebrate the best the state has to offer in agriculture, technology and the diversity of its people, traditions and trends that shape the Golden State’s future. We invite you to join us for the 167th California State Fair, July 17 – August 2, 2020.
— California State Fair
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