When we talk about the Mediterranean diet, which ingredient comes first to your mind? We are sure that olive oil is for sure among the first. Nowadays, the meanings of “Mediterranean diet” and “olive oil” are already linked with health.
Whether you like olive oil or not, for sure you have tasted olives or olive oil, at least once. However, how many people know the origin of olives or the process of producing olive oil? If you like to get to the bottom of the questions, we suggest you visit Greece in olive harvesting season to experience a visit at the olive groves and watch the olives harvesting from the trees. .
Healthy olive oil is a huge culinary tradition in Greek daily life and cuisine.
Archaeologists discovered that 3500 years ago, the Greeks had begun planting olives. And great Greek poet Homer, admired the olive oil as “liquid gold” that shows the great respect to olive oil.
Thanks to the unique Mediterranean climate, there are more than 100 kinds of olive trees cultivated. Many regions such as the Crete, the Peloponnese region, the Ionian Islands, Lesvos, Thasos, Halkidiki and central Greece all produce high-quality olives which can be eaten raw or used for the production of olive oil.
And what about the harvest season for olive? Maybe many of us know little about it, actually, the end of autumn and the beginning of winter is the best season for picking up olives and producing olive oil. At the middle of November (depending the rains and the air temperature) each year, people are starting to pick up the olives until February and March of the next year.
When the color of olives is purple or black, it indicates that the olives are mature enough to pick them. It is very important to pick all olives before they become totally mature. Because once the olives become total mature, the quality of olive oil becomes worse, as the olive acids’ level is rising up (something we want to avoid, as the best extra virgin olive oil has almost zero acids).
It will be a unique experience to come Greece during the olive harvesting.
Compared to the island or ancient cities like Athens, the Greek countryside has its own charming character. The landscape is covered with trees and shrubs, having the amazing autumn colors and the land has a beautiful aroma coming out from the wet ground and the thousands of different herbs and wild flowers.
You may spend one day with local people to experience the olive harvesting and understand the circle of olive oil that goes on for thousands of years in Greece.
You may watch and see every step from picking the olive to transporting them to the olive mill factory for pressing and extracting olive oil. The golden liquid slowly flows and then the olive mill will be full of fragrance. You may taste it with a piece of bread, fresh and warm and aromatic, as it comes out of the pipes.
At the end of the trip, a bottle of olive oil will be the best reward for yourself.
Of course, except the olive oil, the olives are some of the most important ingredients in Greek gastronomy , sweet or bitter, black, green or brown, large or small, with vinegar or brine olives.
When you first eat the Greek olive, it may little hard for you to love the taste. But I believe if one day you love to eat the Greek olive, you must have already fallen in love with Greece.
If you still don’t know which gift to send to your friends and parents, the authentic Greek extra virgin olive oil must be one of your best choices.