Greece is the third largest producer of olive oil in the world and boasts a total of 16 different PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) varieties of olive oil.
Extra Virgin olive oil from the areas of Kalamata and Western Crete are said to produce some of the best olive oil in the world thanks to the mountainous landscape which produces oil-rich olives that, when pressed, make excellent olive oil.
Good Greek extra virgin olive oils can be used for a great variety of cooking requirements but are particularly good for use in Greek salads, or mixed vigorously with lemon juice to make a dressing for grilled fish. The flavors of Greek extra virgin olive oil complement these, as well as many other dishes, perfectly.
Noteworthy extra virgin olive oils can have a variety of features and styles. Overall they should be well balanced with distinct (but not overpowering) aromas and flavors. Some Greek extra virgin olive oils are considered to be amongst the finest extra virgin olive oil in the world.
Some general characteristics of Greek oils are:
- Grassy in aroma
- Herbaceous with a hint of lemons
- Slightly peppery
- Facts, characteristics, production techniques and general information on our Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oils
Some facts about Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Greece is the third largest producer of olive oil in the world. The majority of olive oil produced in Greece is extra virgin olive oil.
- The Greeks actually consume more olive oil per person than any other country in the world (Italy comes in 2nd with only half the consumption of Greece!).
- The areas of Kalamata and Western Crete are said to produce the best olive oil in the world, the majority of this oil is exported to Italy because its taste characteristics are very similar to that of Tuscan oil.
The Greeks have used olive oil in many ways for thousands of years. The olive tree, olive and olive oil have historical and cultural significances for the Greeks, they use olive oil for eating, in soap, as fuel for lamps, to christen their children and in many other ways.
How do you tell if you have a good oil?
There are a number of factors which can help determine the quality of olive oil. The lower the acidity the better the olive oil. This is because a lower level of acidity means there are less of the unwanted free fatty acids. Peroxide tests are also carried out on olive oil to measure the level of deterioration after pressing and therefore the shelf life of the oil.
The color of an olive oil will differ depending on the variety of the olive pressed, the geographic surroundings where the olives are grown and various other factors.
Olive Oil production
The traditional olive oil production method involves grinding the olives using a granite wheel, with the resulting pulp being pressed through mats to achieve the oil. In most modern production the traditional wheel has been replaced with a grinder or gramolater which uses centrifugal force and is both efficient and clean. Less common systems include the use of needles which extract the oil while pulping the olives. Cold pressed olive oil means that the temperature during oil extraction did not exceed 27 degrees Celsius.
PDO and what it means
PDO means Protected Designation of Origin. To be labeled PDO an oil must be approved as coming from a specific region, being made by specific methods and using specific varieties of olives.
Kalamata PDO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) extra virgin olive oil from the Kalamata region of Greece is considered some of the best in the world. Kalamata PDO extra virgin olive oil is not actually made using Kalamata olives (which are not used for making oil), but comes from the Kalamata region of Greece. This region is famous for olive oil production because its mountainous landscape produces oil rich olives that are pressed to make excellent olive oil.
Some quick facts about the Greek Olive Oil:
1) 80 percent of Greek olive oil production is extra virgin olive oil, the highest quality and most expensive olive oil classification.
2) The small size of the olive groves allows for special care and devotion by the producer.
3) Research indicates that Greek olive oil contains more polyphenols (antioxidants) than extra virgin oils of other origins.
4) All Greek exporting companies use certified bottling producers, they have modern infrastructure, and employ a well skilled labor force.
5) Processing and bottling adhere to strict quality control and product safety procedures and criteria.
6) The olive fruit spends gm storage the minimum possible time before pressing. This way the olive oil produced keeps all of its special organoleptic characteristics.
7) The most appropriate harvesting techniques are used, and the degree of ripeness of the fruit is always taken into account.
8) Greece offers the ultimate biotope for cultivating the olive tree. Greek cultivars have developed distinct characteristics that make their olive oil stand out.