“I now believe NZ produces the best EVOO in the world “ – Roberto Zecca, International Judge
New Zealand is rapidly becoming one of world’s most promising new producers of extra virgin olive oil. We have excellent growing conditions for the worlds’ best olive varieties and we’re able to produce oil that tastes great and wins international awards.
The benchmark for quality extra virgin olive oil in New Zealand is the certification which is awarded by Olives New Zealand. This red certification sticker or Olive Mark that is placed on Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) bottles, preserves the authenticity, superior quality, exceptional taste and the health benefits inherent in premium olive oil.
Olive trees were first brought to NZ in the 1800s by early settlers from Europe. Some of these trees are still to be found today.. In the 1980s serious propagation began in Blenheim with the introduction with new varieties from Europe. This saw olive groves established over New Zealand from the 1990’s. The terrain and climate in New Zealand support many varieties traditionally grown in Italy, Spain, Greece, Israel and France and there are now more than 1000 hectares of olive groves in New Zealand
Olives New Zealand is the Industry Association of Olives Groves with approximately 200 members. They run the certification program for New Zealand olive oil in an internationally acclaimed testing facility at the department of primary industry in New South Wales. For consumers, bottles with this certification tells you that the olive oil you buy is authentically EVOO and you can buy in confidence.
To be classified as extra virgin the oil must meet international standards which dictate specific chemical parameters, and the olive mark is only available for oil grown and produced in New Zealand. It is the consumers guarantee that the oil is extra virgin, is free of defects, and has the incredible extra virgin taste.
Unfortunately some independent tests have shown that some oils are labelled extra virgin yet do not meet international standard. These oils are not certified and may contain unsuitable fruit, may have been processed incorrectly, or they may have been chemically refined or mixed with other oils.
Any oil which displays the Olive NZ olive mark has undergone a rigid certification process and must meet the following requirements.:
Those oils that meet all the above requirements are eligible to use the OliveMark® once the Certification Licensing Agreement has been signed by the grower. The OliveMark® has been trademarked and is your guarantee that the oil is actually Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Unlike wine, EVOO is best when it’s fresh. NZ EVOO is usually available shortly after bottling. Fresh EVOO will bring to mind, fresh green grass, artichoke, fresh green olives, green herbs, nuttiness and even fruitiness like apple or banana. Storing the oil correctly is also important to retain its quality. Heat and Light are a threat. The oil should be stored in dark glass bottles, box containers, or tins. It does not need to be refrigerated but it should be stored in a cool dark place out of direct light.
When buying EVOO the fresher the oil the better The oil can be consumed up to two years from pressing, but good oil will still retain quality for some time after the best buy date. It’s important to buy from a retailer than turns over stock quickly, or buy directly from the grower and always look for the Olive Mark.
The exceptional freshness of NZ olive oil is what makes it amongst the finest in the world. Celebrated chefs and clued up home cooks know the importance of using the best ingredients and certified NZ EVOO qualifies as the best.
Certification allows us to make a better and an informed choice when we’re purchasing. The olive mark allows people to understand that there is a process behind the certification which allows us to have a premium end product.
Isobel Olives has gone through this rigorous certification process and are proud to display the Olive Mark on our bottles of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. So when you purchase our oil, you know you are purchasing a premium oil with an incredible taste.