Greek Olives

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Greece is full of olive groves. The Olive Tree, "the tree that feeds the children" according to Sophocles, is the protagonist of the Greek nature and history as olive oil is the protagonist of the Greek diet.

The indigenous olive tree (wild olive tree) first appeared in the eastern Mediterranean but it was in Greece that it was first cultivated. Since then, the presence of the olive tree in the Greek region has been uninterrupted and closely connected with the traditions and the culture of the Greek people.

The Greek Olives, the olive tree and its oil have been one of the basic necessities of life and has been since the beginnings of civilisation the main essence of the food of Greece. In some Minoan graves, archaeologists have discovered ceramic pots containing charred olive stones which shows that they were cultivated in Greece some 3,500 years ago. The Greek poet, Homer, once described Greece’s olive oil as ‘liquid gold’ and for a long time olive groves were protected. Greece has something like 143 million olive trees and is a huge exporter of olive oil.

Over 100 different types of olive trees are cultivated in Greece which thrive in the Greek climate of long hot summers and mild winters with very little frost. The majority of trees yield ‘oil olives’ from which olive oil is extracted. Also, there are a great number of types which are cultivated for eating. The most famous, and some argue. the tastiest are those grown in the regions of Kalamata and Amfissa. However, the olives cultivated in the regions of Nauplio, Chalkidiki, Thassos and other areas are equally good.

The Kalamata olive is almond-shaped and ranges in length from about 1?2 to 1 inch. They are a dark purple color and have a rich, fruity flavor. The Amfissas, round and black, have a pleasant nutty flavour. Naupliou olives are beautifully mild and mellow. For an extra tangy flavour try Thassos olives, salty with a wrinkled black skin. Finally, the cracked green olives are the perfect Martini olive – strong and sharp.

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