Welcome to Tasmania’s Olive and Grove Routes.
This website provides information to assist you plan your visit to Tasmania’s olive groves, facts and figures on the Tasmanian olive sector, information on the Tasmanian Olive Council, details of events and resources for our olive producers members.
Olives grown in varying climates have different fatty acid profiles. Cool climate Tasmanian extra virgin olive oils have amongst the world’s highest proportion (81-83%) of oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fat. Correspondingly, our oil has very low levels of saturated fat. These factors make our olive oil highly nutritious.
At the recent fine food awards, Tasmanian Olive Growers received numerous awards.
Upcoming TOC Events:
Sunday 23rd September: Please reserve this date for the next TOC committee meeting. More details soon
If you are not a current TOC member please contact us for further details.
A recent article was published in the Mercury Newspaper, by Elaine Reeves a Food Journalist :
I HUNG out with the olive oil judges at the Royal Hobart Fine Food Awards a couple of weekends ago.
Chief judge Shane Cummins commented on tasting entry 651 in the single estate grown robust category that it presented with quiet confidence and unfolded.
Fellow judge Jill Barson said it was nutty with flavours of hazelnut and almonds that “just build and build”.
Said Shane: “If we had seen it once it would have been delightful, but we are seeing in constantly [in this show].”
This oil turned out to be of frantoio olives from Lentara Grove near Exeter, but even with this high praise it was two points short of a place in the final cut.
As they awarded points for nose, aroma, palate and flavour and harmony — in categories according to the volume produced and whether the oils were mild, robust or from Italian varietals, the judges found they had four extra virgin olive oils that had scored 97 points.
One has to come first, and I was invited to join them as they tasted oils A, B, C and D to decide their final placings. No pressure though, Shane told me, and no wrong answers — they all were excellent. After all, oils from 36 different producers earned 15 gold medals in the competition. A gold medal requires at least 95 points out of 100.
My vote (which, of course, did not count in the outcome) matched the official result in two places out of four.
Then there was a little wait while the stewards checked whether there was a Tasmanian oil in the top four, or did the judges have to look further for a best Tasmanian olive oil.
Rest easy, came the answer — all four oils were Tasmanian. This reflects the results generally in the annual Fine Food Awards run by the Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania since 1996.
This year about 70 per cent of the 1050 entries came from the mainland, but 12 of the 17 champion products were Tasmanian.
About 40 judges, headed this year by Eloise Emmett, and the same number of stewards give their time to taste every entry in 15 major groups.
The champion olive oil was a mild frantoio from Lauriston Grove at South Arm. For reserve champion, the judges still had two that were neck and neck, so the prize was shared by Freshfield Grove at Campania with a manzanillo and Cradle Coast Olives near Ulverstone with a blend. The fourth oil in the field was another from Lauriston Grove, of Hardy’s mammoth olives.
Like wine judges, olive judges talk in flavours the uninitiated might have difficulty detecting.
Jill Barson (one of the tasters for Cobram Estate brand from Boundary Bend’s 2.5 million trees near Mildura) had her book of tasting descriptors with her. They include ones I’ve heard before, such as apple, cut grass (but dewy grass is a new one) and black pepper. To say an oil is nutty is not enough it seems — is that taste pecan, macadamia, pinenuts or hazelnuts?
More esoteric are green tea, almond blossom, turmeric, almond blossom, eucalyptus, mossy bank, gingerbread and meringue. Meringue! Really? Oh yes, says Jill, she has tasted meringue notes that day “the heat of sweetness but not caramel”.
Finding the words to describe extra virgin olive oils is part of a Tastebook program to provide sensory training for olive judges and to constantly challenge them.
The judges receive three oils to critique and get to compare their remarks with those of the others who have tasted exactly the same oils.
Next year, Shane hopes the Australian Olive Association will be running an olive oil 101 course for any interested producers, chefs, and foodies. “We will teach taste — nobody else is teaching taste,” he said.
“The better, the fresher, the oil you cook with, the better the outcome will be.”
Entering an oil in a competition such as the Fine Food awards gives producers a reference point, he said. Feedback from judges (not to mention medals) helped to market the product and “get the story out”.
“There is just as much work involved in getting out an average olive oil as an exceptional product,” he said. “The difference probably is in the thinking and having access to knowledge. That what the Australian Olive Association is doing, building knowledge and then taking that out to consumers.”