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Greek Olive Oil – The Headquarters of Olive Oil

greek olive oil and olivesWelcome to this site that celebrates Greek Olive Oil, one of the most ancient products that is still hugely popular today. Olive Oil can be found in virtually every restaurant and home in the western world. While many people associate Olive Oil with Italy, there is a very good reason this site is called Greek Olive Oil HQ. Greece is the the origin and, therefore, the headquarters of all Olive Oil.

Greece, long to be considered the greatest harvesters of olives and one of the world’s most valued Olive Oil producers. It is not hard to believe that a country that boasts over 132 million olive trees would have a knack for creating one of the most desired oils that is derived from the small fruit of the olive tree. What makes Greek Olive Oil so outstanding? Is it the amount of time that they’ve been cultivating the crop? Is it the historical importance that the oil has within their country? Is it the type of olives they use? Perhaps it is all of these and more.

Crete is where it all began…

Greece has, quite possibly, the longest written history of olive production in the world. The island of Crete is strongly considered to be one of the first olive producers ever, dating back further than 5,000 BC. For countless generations, Greeks have labored in the olive fields, picking olives by hand so they could eventually be pressed to create the finest oil. The Greeks firmly believed that the olive was passed down from heaven by the goddess Athena, herself. It was so strongly rooted into their society that Olympians would rub the oil over their bodies in hopes that it would off cuts and abrasions. Even now, Olive Oil consumption is still incredibly high among Mediterranean countries compared to the rest of the world.

Olives are what make Greece

Obviously the production methods have changed over the last thousand years, but the country of Greece is still firmly devoted to the olive trade. Over 60% of Greece’s land mass is devoted to cultivating olive trees. They are still the world’s top producers of black olives and offer more varieties of olives than any other country in the world today. It is this variety that makes Greek Olive Oil such a wonderful choice as there are so many types of olives that can be chosen from. The Greeks are the third highest producers of Olive Oil in the world, behind only Italy and Spain, which is admirable considering that Greece’s land mass is substantially smaller. Despite their size, Greece still produces over 350,000 tons of Olive Oil annually, with 65% coming from the areas of Crete and Peloponnese.  It is also worth noting that it is widely regarded that Olive Oil from Greece is the most genuine Olive Oil with some brands from other countries being reputed to dilute their products with inferior vegetable and nut oils.

Why olives grow so well in Greece

It’s important to note that 80% of Greece is mountainous with rich, yet rocky soil, as this plays a strong role in how the olives grow. Over thousands of years, the olive trees have adapted to grow on the rough mountain terrain and produce a fruit that is generally smaller in size, but has a very high ratio of skin to flesh, which is what gives the oil produced from these olives it’s highly coveted aromatic qualities and its unique flavors. It is from this variety that the highly sought after agourelaio oil can be produced. This form of Olive Oil is pressed from the green unripened olives that are literally the first to harvest. This oil is highly considered to be one of the most aromatic Olive Oils in the world as it is supremely low in acidity and has an intensely pungent flavor. The color also resembles the variety of olive that is used as it is a dark green.

greek olive oil orchard in crete

Olive Tree Orchard in Crete

The soil and growing conditions contribute strongly to the characteristics of the Greek Olive Oils as well. It has been shown that Greek Olive Oil is much higher in polyphenols than any other form of Olive Oil. Polyphenols are a natural occurring anti oxidant that have been known to greatly reduce the risk of many physical ailments such as coronary heart disease and even cancer because of its ant inflammatory properties. Coupled with the oil’s high monounsaturated fat (healthy fat) content, polyphenols are the reason why many people seek out Olive Oil for its health benefits. During the 1990’s, the Mediterranean diet was highly considered to be one of the healthiest nutritional plans available, with Olive Oil as Greek Olive Oil as one of the key components in the food guidelines.

Buying Greek Olive Oil outside of Greece….can be tricky!

Unfortunately for consumers, great Greek Olive Oil can rather difficult to come by. The Italians are the second largest suppliers of Olive Oil on the world stage. Unfortunately, they also consume far more than they produce. For the most part, they purchase the highly desired Greek Olive Oil for themselves and sell the cheaper, less desired Italian Olive Oil to countries such as the United States and the UK. It seems that Greek Olive Oil is cursed by its own high quality. However, there are are few good brands of Greek Olive Oil available outside of Greece and this site will help point the way!

In Summary

It was the Greeks that first cultivated olives thousands of years ago. It is still the Greeks that produce the finest oils as it is literally engrained in their culture. No other area in the world has quite the history that the Greeks do with Olive Oil.  Whether you choose to cook with it, eat it raw, or have some other use for it, there is no other Olive Oil quite like it.  So, if ever you have the opportunity to purchase a bottle of Greek Olive Oil, do it.