The sixth Alpe-Adria International Pumpkin Seed Oil Exhibition and the 13th Exhibition of Croatian Pumpkin Seed Oil turn Varazdin County into the centre of the „black gold“ for a day

„And this fat is good not only for burning, but also for eating: people use it the same way as butter, peasant women make pastry dishes out of it, so it is very, very good…” – says the article from 1854, in which the local production of pumpkin seed oil in Biškupec (a suburban area of Varazdin) was mentioned for the first time.

The quality of pumpkin seed oil has been confirmed for the 6th time at the Alpe-Adria International Pumpkin Seed Oil Exhibition and for the 13th time at the Exhibition of Croatian Pumpkin Seed Oil, which was held on the 25th May 2024 at the County palace in Varazdin. This year’s champion is Christoph Jamer from Austria.

I have been growing pumpkins and producing pumpkin seed oil for 20 years. Throughout the whole period, I have made a lot of efforts to become better, in order to reach the stage which we are at today. Four years ago, I won the gold medal here, but with constant and continuous improvements, the champion title is mine this year – said the champion and praised organization of this event.

The impressions are extraordinary, phantastic. This is a unique exhibition, indeed, which for me personally is a small sensation. I can say that in these countries, the producers make really top-quality oils and they put a lot of effort to improve from year to year– concluded Mr. Christoph Jamer.

The president of the Croatian government, Mr. Andrej Plenkovic, handed in the certificates and prizes to all the winners of gold medals, including Mr. Jamer.

We have had an opportunity here to see a committed work of Croatian farmers, extremely high quality of the pumpkin seed oil and other products made from it, which only proves the engagements of our famers. We will continue to invest 3,8 billion euro in the Crotian agriculture, aiming at self-sufficiency and provide support to numerous producers here in the north, as well as in other parts of Croatia – emphasized the Prime Minister Plenkovic.

Varazdin County Prefect Andjelko Stricak expressed gratitude to all pumpkin seed oil producers for preserving a long tradition, knowledge and efforts made in soil treatment, as well as production and processing of the seeds and continuous investment in knowledge and technology.

It is great honour and pleasure to host this unique international exhibition dedicated solely to pumpkin seed oil. The Alps-Adriatic has been traditionally and economically connecting us in everyday lives for more than 200 years. In this area we have inherited joint culture and traditional products. One of them is pumpkin seed oil. This is a unique exhibition where Central Europe comes to our area, to our County and makes us the centre of the „black oil“ for a day – said the Prefect Stricak and emphasized that the County continuously makes investments in agriculture development through subsides, education and promotion.

Varazdin County published a whole range of public calls throughout the year, in order to help our family farms, not only in production development, but in order to become more visible and recognized on the market. The feedback information we get is that our producers always come back with medals, which only proves that we are on the right way and that the quality of their products meets high quality standards. Varazdin Pumkin Seed Oil, which we are very proud of, is protected at the European level since last year. I am glad that our agricultural production is growing together with the number of tourists who are looking for autochthonous products. So, Varazdin County will continue to provide support to agricultural producers – said the Prefect Stricak.

This year, we received 166 samples of pumpkin seed oil from Croatia, Slovenia, Astra, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Out of this number, 131 are declared as virgin pumpkin seed oil, and 35 as cold pressed pumpkin seed oil.

The evaluation took place in two parts; the first one was chemical analysis evaluating four basic parameters prescribed by the rulebook. The second is sensory evaluation in which four parameters are evaluated – colour, clearness, odour, and taste. The members of the Evaluation Committee stressed out that the quality of oil is extremely high this year.

24 gold medals in total have been handed in, out of which 11 in the category of cold pressed and 13 in the category of virgin oils. 91 silver and 21 bronze medals were handed in. There were even two oils which won the maximum of 35 points. All this stands for a fact that the oil quality increases year by year, which is also the result of scientific symposia organized by Varazdin County, but also of continuous cooperation with experts – concluded the Head of the Laboratory for Food Chemistry and Open Public Institute from the Bio-institute Cakovec.

The exhibition is organized by Varazdin County in cooperation with the Alps-Adriatic Alliance, and the Croatian counites: Medjimurje, Krapina-Zagorje, Karlovac, Vukovar -Srijem, Koprivica-Krizevci, Osijek-Baranja, Bjelovar-Bologor and Zagreb counties and Agricultural Chamber of Austria- Klagenfurt, as well as Kmetijska gozdarska zbornica Slovenije – Ptuj and Murska Sobota.

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