How to explain the taste of Greek Olives to someone who hasn’t tried them?
“A taste older than meat, older than wine. A taste as old as cold water…”, wrote in his first travel book, “Prospero’s Cell” (1945), Lawrence Durrell whose later The Alexandria Quartet will tackle thousands of people throughout the world to come and visit Corfu and Greece respectively. The real story of olives goes way, way deeper into the past – Homer or Horace were even mentioning olives – but Durrell’s quote summarizes probably the real historical taste of the most admired fruit of, and on Earth.
History of Greek Olives
Truth is that the history of olives is not as old as Greek history but the two are inseparable. From the early Minoan era, in Crete, olives have been used as a food. Once upon a time eaten only by those who discovered the nutritious characteristics of those black pearls on the branches, olives are today a staple in the Mediterranean region and adored ingredient in cuisines all over the world. What is a cherry on the top for the cake that is an olive for everything else!
Are Kalamata Olives the best Greek Olives?
There is some sort of a war among the olives’ lovers – what olives are the best?! And whatever the “warriors” think, they eat them all. At the end, an olive branch symbolizes the peace.
The most predominant belief is that Kalamata olives from Greece are the best in the world. Those black-purplish olives with meaty texture and excellent flavor coming from the Peloponnese are unique in their color, taste and “greekness”; named after the region where produced they are usually known simply as the Greek olives. They are used both for a production of olive oil and as a food. Greeks just like to snack on them but also put them in a variety of dishes and salads as a perfect ingredient.
Black Olives and Green Olives
Important Greek olives are also the Black Olives and the Green Olives. The color of olives depends on the time they are left to ripe on the tree. Funny fact about olives is that they can’t be eaten directly from the tree like many other fruit since their taste is very bitter. They become edible when taken off the olive tree still immature and then processed. Are they green or black, depends when they are picked from the tree.
Greece is the biggest producer of the black olives in the world and has more variety of this fruit than anyone else, although it comes third in the overall production of olives, after Spain and Italy. The evergreen olive trees that leave up to 500 years and some varieties even longer are spread mostly in Peloponnese, Crete, and Aegean and Ionian islands.