Driven by the economic crisis, olive oil producers in Greece have increased their export production— to the delight of lovers of this fruity, tasty and always delightful delicacy.
By Nicholas Sterling
The olive tree has been an important symbol of the Mediterranean since ancient Greece, where it was considered an emblem of peace. Even when athletes won competitions at the Olympics, they were regaled elaborate headdresses with olive leaves. Moreover, in Greek temples, there was always a burning flame fed with olive oil to honor the Olympians gods. Since then, olive oil has been used in cooking, but also to make cleaning supplies and cosmetics, among many other purposes.
Also, during centuries the Greek extra virgin olive oil has been used by producers in other countries to enhance their mixtures. Today, amid a severe economic crisis plaguing the Peloponnesian country, local producers have decided to fight this problem occupying their rightful place on the world stage, highlighting their brands and promoting the distinctive flavors and virtues of genuine Greek olive oils.
The oil's quality is classified by its acidity, an element that determines the freshness of its flavor. The extra virgin olive oil is the most fruity, tasty and expensive of all. Its acidity does not exceed 1%, and its color ranges from pale green to dark green with golden hues. Currently, Greece ranks third worldwide in the production of extra virgin olive oil— with several prestigious firms producing outstanding oils, including Esti Kalamata, Sparta Groves, and Kaldi.
Esti Kalamata Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Producer: Lelia Foods SA
This is an oil with Designation of Origin (PDO), made exclusively from olives of the Koroneiki variety that grow only in the region of Kalamata. It has unprecedented organoleptic characteristics, such as a dark green color and distinctive aroma of freshly harvested olives. Its unsurpassed freshness and delicious flavor of apple, almonds and spices make it a delicate oil, particularly suitable for consumption in salads or to prepare vinaigrettes.
Sparta Groves Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Producer: Sparta Groves Home
This extra virgin olive oil—with Protected Geographical Indication (PGI)—has moderate acidity and excellent organoleptic characteristics, with aromas of green fruit, freshly cut grass, tomato, and a hint of green almonds. Highly appreciated outside Greece for its taste, it a perfect complement for dishes like beef and fish carpaccio, Andalusian gazpacho or simply with freshly baked bread.
Kaldi Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The organic and ecological Kaldi extra virgin olive oil organic is made with rare olives of the varieties kolovi and adramitiani, grown and harvested on the Greek island of Lesbos. The organic olives provide this unfiltered oil its characteristic golden hue, fresh aroma, and unique floral flavor. It is an excellent complement to baked fish and freshly cut high-quality tomatoes with feta cheese and kalamata olives, or grilled vegetables. ■
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