The olive oil in the Mediterranean countries has been the center of their cultures since antiquity. Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher, drove the development of the cultivation of the olive tree into a science. The production of olive oil in Greece has spanned for over 5 milleniums and it was the reason for the country’s early and successful commercial development.
When the Greek colonies expanded, so did the knowledge and the techniques of the cultivation of the olive tree and the production of the olive oil, reaching the rest of the Mediterranean world and North Africa. To this day Greece is the largest exporter of extra virgin olive oil, which remains to be the best in the world. In fact many Spanish and Italian olive oils have been added Greek extra virgin olive oil, to boost their flavor and color. It is well known, not only over 70% of the Greek olive oil production is extra virgin, it is also of the highest quality.
Legend says that Remos and Romulos, the founders of Rome saw the first light, under an olive tree. The upper class of Romans enjoyed olives and bread for breakfast. In Roman economy, olive oil was of great importance and with the growing of the Roman Empire, it became a major traded commodity.
In ancient Egypt it was believed that the olive tree and its derivatives were gifts from goddess Isis. The Egyptians valued the olive oil for its many uses. In the tombs of the Pharaohs ornamental pieces were placed, made from olive wood and branches.
The ancient Greeks also believed that the olive tree was full of supernatural powers. Young pregnant women, wanting a blessed and healthy pregnancy, set under the shade of an olive tree.
In Greece the olive tree is as old as the gods of Mount Olympus who picked the olive tree for their gift to humanity. That special and unique gift, which offers continuously its gifts.
Be wise and you also share a bottle of the great olive oil, or a beautiful kitchen gadget made from olive wood.