Greek olives and olive oil
Greece is the third largest producer of olive oil in the world and has a total of 16 geographically protected types of olive oil.
The best-known and one of the best olive oils in the world (according to some people) comes from Kalamata and West Crete, but most of the olive oil produced in Greece is extra virgin (cold pressed).
Olive oil in Greece can have a variety of aromas and flavors, some oils have discreet aroma of grass or citrus, and sometimes oil can have a bit of bitter flavor. Usually in Greek stores you can taste oil before buying. High quality olive oil must have an intense flavor, and the famous sentence: “excellent oil, no taste at all” should not be your guide when buying. Olive oil must have a strong aroma of the olive itself, which hides its quality and charm.
Greeks consume the highest amount of olive oil per capita throughout the world. The second is Italy where it is not consumed half as much as compared to Greece. Greeks use olive oil for cooking, but also in the production of soaps and cosmetics, for lighting cressets and lamps, for baptisms and for other purposes. For the Greeks, olive trees, olives and olive oil have historical and cultural significance and they have been used for thousands of years.
The color of olive oil can vary and it does not represent the characteristic for discerning a high quality oil. Acidity, however, is a significant distinction and extra virgin oil has a maximum acidity of up to 0.8%, so always pay attention to this information when buying. The acidity of olive oil depends on the quality of the olive itself (whether there are parasites, whether damaged olives are processed, how much time has passed from vintage to wringing, etc.) The taste depends on the terrain where the olives grow, the climate, the sort.
The acidity of olive oil depends on the quality of the olive itself (whether there are parasites, whether processed and damaged olives, how much time has passed from vintage to seasoning, etc.) The taste depends on the terrain where the olives grow, from the climate, the variety.
Cold pressed olive oil implies that the temperature does not exceed 27 degrees Celsius during the wringing.
Probably the best olive oil produced in Greece is from the Kalamata region, from the mountainous relief where olive oil is rich in oil. Kalamata oil is not obtained from a variety of olives under the name kalamata, as many think, but only from the olive groves in the region.
If you are buying it for the first time, you should purchase smaller quantity if possible, to try it out. Leave it for 24 hours in the refrigerator, and if it thickens up, that means it is extra virgin and then you can buy more. It is desirable to keep olive oil in dark, glass bottles, not in plastic, and if you are buying large bins of olive oil, it is desirable to quickly transfer it to bottles.
There is no need to save on quality olive oil. If you are not able to buy large quantity, buy less but high-quality, and use it only for salads. An unusually low price for cold olive oil can be a sign that the oil is old or has lower quality, so you should stick with verified manufacturers and those with declarations.
An unusually low price for cold olive oil can be a sign that the oil is an old or a lower quality, so that you keep the manufacturers and those with the declaration checked.
If you want, you can also buy organic olive oil. In Sithonia such oil is sold within the monastery of St. Ormilia near Psakoudia, and it is a monastery production. In other places, organic olive oil can be bought at local stores.
It is interesting that large quantities of olive oil from Greece is exported to Italy where it is repackaged and resold. Kalamata olive oil is similar to Tuscan and it is the most exported one.
Many think that black and green olives are of different varieties, but they are not. Green olives just have not yet matured, and black are ripe olives.
Green olives are being harvested in September, from which olive oil under the special name “agoureleo” is produced. This olive oil has something more intense flavor and smell, it has a different structure and different nutrients, so if you are lover of olive oil, we recommend that you try it out. Agureleo is not always easy to find in sales, but it can be found with little effort. Green olives contain less oil than ripe ones, so these olives are less used in production. Olive oil from kalamata olives is also a bit harder to find in sales, but it’s also a bit specific so you should try it out.
The harvest of ripe olives starts from mid-November and lasts until mid-December. In northern Greece, at that time, workers from Bulgaria and Albania are working for a daily allowance of around 40 euros or 2 euros per crate.
Olives for sale are hand-picked, and olives for olive oil are harvested with the help of plain rakes or electric machines. The olives are then sorted in size. Great olives are the most valuable and they have the highest price. They are mostly left for sale, while olive oil is produced from the rest.
It is interesting that black olives are not completely ripe when harvested, but they are picked when they have green - violet color, and after they are left in souse to mature.
There are several olive oil factories on Thassos where only extra virgin olive oil is produced, and Thassos is known for quality oil. You can read more about this here.
In Sithonia you can also buy olive oil from domestic production. It is also very good and can be found at different prices. What you should generally avoid is buying oil in transparent bottles. Within the Ioanna villa in Nikiti you can buy excellent olive oil and olives from the Kalimanis family. If you shop in June, there may still be agoureleo and oil from kalimata olives.
If you are staying on the Ionian coast, you can buy good olive oil at the Esperanza Hotel in Kanali, directly from the manufacturer (hotel owner).
In Serbia, you can order or buy quality olive oils from Greece at the Greek store Kalimera Ellada in Kragujevac.
These are just some of the examples of sellers where were buying, but the offer is large, and 90% is high quality olive oil, so you will not make a mistake if you buy it in some other place that we did not mention.
And finally, olive oil can be used to prepare all dishes like the Greeks do, from salads, to frying, roasting and grilling. Of course, for this the best and the healthiest is extra virgin olive oil.