When people hear olive oil, immediately think of Italy. The association of olive oil directly with Italy is a myth and not a reality.
The olive tree with its extraordinary fruit was a gift from goddess Athena to the Greeks. Then the generous Greeks offered this priceless gift to the rest of the world.
Olive trees dominated and possessed the rocky Greek hills and became sacred in the Greek society.
From the mythological years Homer called the olive oil “liquid gold.” In ancient Greece olive oil and olive branch were the two main elements for the Olympic athletes. The Greeks had very different ideas about championship prizes. A crown made from an olive branch was a great honor for the winner.
Hippocrates prescribed olive oil for medicine.
When Athens reached the extreme peak of its power (The Golden Century Of Pericles), olive oil was exported throughout the known world.
When the Romans occupied Greece, they were taught by the Greeks the secrets of the cultivation of the olive tree and the production of the olive oil.
Greece first declared the olive tree as symbol of peace, glory, wealth, magic, mystic and medicine.
In 5000 BC until 1400 BC the cultivation of the olive tree spread from the Greek island of Crete to the rest of the Mediterranean countries. Until 1500 BC Greece was the biggest olive oil producing country.
When the Turks occupied Greece, the production of olive oil was not effected. Olive oil kept alive the most important tradition of the Greek nation. Of course most of the production went to the Turkish government but some of it stayed in the Greek hands.
With the increase of the Greek colonies, the olive tree cultivation spread to Africa and France do to the Greek generosity.
Presently, Greece is the number one exporter of top quality extra virgin olive oil.