GREECE: Homeland of the best olive oil in the world!
Greece is the largest exporter of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and it is considered the best quality oil in the world.
In Greece today there are about 120,000,000 trees (for a population of approximately 10,000,000) covering an area of approximately 6 million acres. Approximately 450,000 Greek families are engaged in cultivation and processing of olives in all regions of the country.
Organic olive cultivation in Greece began about 10 years ago in Mani. Nowadays, it reaches an estimated 15,000 acres and is expected to exceed 35,000 within the next few years.
Olive oil was and still is the cornerstone of Mediterranean cuisine, whose presence is dominant in the diet of Mediterranean peoples especially in dishes coming from the oil producing areas. Raw or cooked in different ways and diverse culinary techniques (grilling, oven, pan) is consumed daily. Good oil in combination with correct cooking methods or proper use allows the flavors and aromas of other materials involved in the dish to shine and finally emerge in a better way. Many people argue that to cook a good oily food needs more art than any other high culinary food. In fact, the tradition of cooking oily foods is very long and it was well known in the past by women and cooks in the old wine taverns and restaurants.
The Olive Tree
Greece is full of olive groves. The olive trees, the " child feeding olive tree" according to Sophocles, is the protagonist of Greek nature and history, as olive oil is the protagonist of Greek cuisine. It first appeared in eastern Mediterranean but it was in Greece where it was first cultivated. Since then, from ancient times until today, the presence of olives in the Greek region has been uninterrupted and closely connected with the traditions and culture of the people. Olive, as evidenced by the fossilized olive trees in volcanic rocks of Santorini which are 50,000 to 60,000 years old, has always been part of the country. The systematic cultivation started in prehistoric times, in the Iron and Stone Age.
It is a diet based on the classification of food groups, namely foods and quantities which should be consumed on a daily, weekly or monthly basis for a healthy diet. The Mediterranean diet pyramid (see diagram) shows semi-quantitative dietary guidelines for adults in Greece.
In 1999, the Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Medical School of the University of Athens made a list of dietary guidelines for the Greek people (on behalf of the Health Ministry). The aim was to find and document the needs of healthy adults and to answer the question:
What should we eat?
...since 1997 in Avra of Meteora!
This small olive, though difficult to cultivate, has a high yield of olive oil of exceptional quality!