|Decorated tree surrounded by olives - Village of Nomitsis|
“Kalamata, isn’t that an olive?” we are asked.
“You bet – the olive!” we answer.
Lots of olives. . . tons of olives . . .and their oil.
In this area of Greece the olive varietals are far more specific: a Myrtoya (hearty in areas of drought), Mavroya (early maturing), Kalamon (the classic table variety) and Mastoides (local oil variety of medium-sized with a pointy shape). That middle photo is one of our olives which I suspect is the Mastoides type.*
In everyday conversation around here olives are simply referred to as ‘oil’ or ‘salade’ varietals.
|Oil containers on sale at Katerina's Supermarket|
|Bags of olives awaiting pressing at one of the village presses|
Saturday Night at Takis
While we love the idea of growing olives and producing olive oil we had no clue how it was done, we told our friend Giannis’ while dining at his taverna, just below our house on the hill. Turned out the olive press nearest us is owned and operated by his uncle, Takis.
So, Giannis encouraged us to stop by and visit the operation any time. . .
|Saturday night at the olive oil press|
It wasn’t until we were leaving that we met Takis. I started to explain who we were and why we were there but he stopped me,
“But. . .of course, Giannis told me. You are the Americans. Come. Come with me where we can talk.”
(“But. . .of course. . .” is how so many sentences begin in Greece.)
|A feast for the soul|
He led us into a side room that served as a kitchen and break room with a small enclosed office in one corner. There he told us to sit and proceeded to pour us glasses of rose wine and cut thick slices of bread which he served smothered in olive oil .
“This is old oil,” he said as he handed us the plate.“It is three days old.” He then zipped back to the press room, leaving us alone to savor the taste and moment. That thick emerald green liquid was simply an elixir for the soul. Absolutely unmatched by any oil we’ve ever tasted in Tuscany or Spain or France . . .
|Bread smothered in extra virgin olive oil|
|Minutes old olive oil|
“But. . .of course!” we thought, “We will be happy here. . .we already are!”
Note: Facts referenced with an asterik * in this post come from a report issued by the University of California’s Cooperative Extension Service in Sonoma County. The map below shows the areas in Greece where olives are grown. As always the time you’ve spent with us is appreciated. Hope you’ll come back soon and until then Happy Travels.
(Crete – that large island at the bottom of the map – in the 1990’s was producing 30% of Greece’s olive oil, followed by the Peloponnese, the land mass that looks like an open hand, at 26%.*)
This week we are linking up with the fine bloggers at:
Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Traveler’s Sandbox
Our World Tuesday
Travel Inspiration – Reflections En Route
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening