About 700 to 800 million olive trees are cultivated in the whole world, and 95% of them are in the Mediterranean region.
Greece holds third place in the world’solive oil production, with about 135 million olive trees, and over 350,000 tons of olive oil annually. Over 82% of that is extra virgin olive oil. It is the “liquid gold.”
Half of the annual olive oil, production is exported, but only 5% of this reflects the origin of the bottled product. I wonder why? Is it because the Italians are buying the Greek olive oil and label it as their own?
Greece exports mainly to the European Union (EU) countries, mainly Italy, which buys three quarters of the total exports.
The Peloponnese Peninsula, is the source of 65% of the Greek production following is Crete, Ionian and Aegean Islands.
The best olive variety for oil is the Koroneiki, that comes from the area of Koroni in Messinia. It grows everywhere, even on mountain slopes and produces very small fruit. Its oil has very aromatic qualities. This variety is also great for agourelaio. This oil comes from olives that are a bit unripe. When crushed in presses that are not grinding the stones, the yield is reduced and the oil is free of acidity.
The production of agourelaio is limited to “boutique” and the presses run by small producers and cooperatives. It is the best in the world. It is better than extra virgin olive oil, it is the super of super food.
Following are the Italian Frantoio, Moraiolo and Leccino Pendolino.
The Spanish Manzanilla, Picual, Alberquina.
The French Picoline.
The Portugese Galega.
The Californian Mission.
Australia also is becoming a premium olive oil producer, exporting it to Europe and Asia.
Top quality extra virgin olive oil from Greece (most of it without the Greek label), Italy and Spain is being exported to North America.