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Olives in olive oil

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Olives in olive oil

The most characteristic and ancient element of Greek cuisine is olive oil, which is frequently used in most dishes. It is produced from the olive trees prominent throughout the region, and adds to the distinctive taste of Greek food. Being a primary ingredient in Greek cuisine it is no wonder that a preferred appetizer is simply olive oil, spices (usually oregano) and fresh bread.

It is still unclear where olive trees first began to be planted, but a widespread view exists that the first cultivation took place on the island of Crete. Archeological evidence suggest that olives were being grown in Crete as long ago as 2,500 B.C. The earliest surviving olive oil amphorae date to 3500 BC (Early Minoan times), though the production of olive is assumed to have started before 4000 BC.

Homer called olive oil "liquid gold." In ancient Greece, athletes ritually rubbed it all over their bodies. Olive oil has been more than mere food to the peoples of the Mediterranean: it has been medicinal, magical, an endless source of fascination and wonder and the fountain of great wealth and power.

There are many varieties of olive oils produced in Greece. Some of the most known are Koroneiki, Lianolia, Chondrolia (aka Throumbolia) and Tsounati.

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References

Olive oil, en.wikipedia.org

Greek cuisine, en.wikipedia.org

Olive Varieties - Types of olives, homecooking.about.com

The History of Olive Production, anagnosis.gr