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Nestled within the vibrant landscape of South Lebanon, amidst ancient olive trees embodying strength, generosity, and an unwavering attachment to the land, the small town of Abra, located near Sidon has reinforced the value of its premium extra virgin olive oil.

Despite security concerns, the imminent threat of air strikes and the unpredictable forces of climate change, this prized olive oil continues to shine.

From its southern origins to the pinnacle of global recognition, Bustan El Zeitoun has once again secured two prestigious awards: the coveted Quality Award as a top-tier producer of limited production extra virgin olive oil (Top 10 EVOO Limited Production Award) at the EVOOLEUM Awards 2024, and the distinguished title ‘EVOO of the Year 2023’ as the foremost Lebanese producer of extra virgin olive oil in the global rankings for extra virgin olive oil (Extra Virgin Olive Oil World Ranking – EVOOWR).

For generations, Lebanese entrepreneurs, led by visionaries like Engineer Walid Mushantaf, the founder
of the Bustan El Zeitoun brand, have endeavored to manifest the authentic spirit of Lebanon. These pioneers have committed to portraying the rich mosaic of Lebanon’s identity, its message, and its boundless potential across realms of knowledge, passion, innovation, and a deep-seated pledge to environmental stewardship, cultural preservation, and uncompromised quality.

The brand’s success at the EVOOLEUM Awards 2024, especially for its “Itrana” olive oil variety, renowned for its exceptional quality, enticing aroma, and a unique flavor profile blending smoothness with a balanced mix of sweet and bitter, has not only solidified its reputation but also secured its place in the EVOOLEUM 2024 global guide. Published exclusively by Mercacei, a prominent Spanish magazine dedicated to the global olive oil sector and endorsed by the Spanish Association for Olive Tree Cultivation (AEMO), this listing celebrates Bustan El Zeitoun among the world’s top 100 producers.

The inclusion of Bustan El Zeitoun in the global ran
king (EVOOWR) since 2018 is a testament to its unwavering dedication to quality and excellence from the outset. The brand’s philosophy of valuing quality above all has defined its path, marking a significant milestone within the industry, both locally and internationally. This ranking acts as a beacon for consumers worldwide, eager to discover the finest and most acclaimed producers of extra virgin olive oil.

This remarkable achievement underscores Lebanon’s esteemed position among 37 countries known for producing the highest quality of extra virgin olive oil, a status bolstered by a collection of global awards from four intensely competitive global events. Among these accolades are the 2024 EVOOLEUM Awards in Spain, three global gold awards for 2023, including the esteemed NYIOOC 2023 award in New York, USA, the 2023 OLIVE JAPAN international competition in Tokyo, Japan, and the EVO-IOOC 2023 in Italy.

The EVOOLEUM Awards serve as an international platform, ensuring production efficiency and meticulous sel
ection through a stringent and impartial methodology. An esteemed panel of experts in the tasting and evaluation of extra virgin olive oil conducts an exhaustive assessment process, focusing on in-depth sensory analysis and the distinct characteristics of aroma, flavor and the harmonious marriage between the bitter and pungent taste profile.

Reflecting on this journey, Mushantaf shared, “Our steadfast commitment to quality, excellence, and adherence to established standards has not only brought us additional recognition but also a new global ranking, all within a year of our last gold awards. This acknowledgment deepens our pride in Lebanese olive oil and Lebanon’s trailblazing role in this vibrant sector. Together with fellow Lebanese producers, we have nurtured a dynamic economic sector, fostering a spirit of competition and cultivating the innovation and expertise necessary for the development of extra virgin olive oil production in Lebanon. Despite facing continuous crises, challenges, lack of support, d
eteriorating living conditions, and the impacts of climate change, our dedication to preserving the essence of this industry and its cultural and economic value remains unwavering.”

He added, “This year’s harvest season posed significant challenges, pushing us to persevere against a backdrop of security, climate, and economic adversities. Nevertheless, our commitment ensured Lebanon’s esteemed position on the global stage as one of the finest producers of extra virgin olive oil. From the beginning, we have embraced the principle of prioritizing quality over quantity, a stance that demands adherence to specific stages and fundamental production standards, merging tradition with modernity to maintain the highest standards of quality and food safety.”

The grand annual ceremony for the EVOOLEUM Awards, celebrating the excellence of extra virgin olive oil, unfolded in Madrid. Attended by Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Luis Planas, alongside dignitaries, leading producers from around the globe, esteemed oli
ve oil connoisseurs, celebrated chefs, influencers, and media personalities, the event distributed awards in four unique categories. These included accolades for limited production extra virgin olive oil (less than 2500 liters annually), EVOOLEUM awards for the most innovative packaging designs, recognitions for the healthiest extra virgin olive oils worldwide, and a special award for the outstanding female producer of extra virgin olive oil, weaving together a story of tradition, excellence, and innovation within the olive oil industry.

Source: National News Agency – Lebanon