Gate to Greece > Greek Food > Olive and Olive Oil

Olive and Olive Oil

Olive oil is one of the indispensable ingredients of Greek cooking. It is not easy to find Greek dish without it. During the Orthodox fasting period, even cakes and biscuits were made with olive oil instead of butter.

In the photo left are olive branches. The surface of the leaves is olive green, but the reverse is silver like grey. When the wind brows, the olive trees shine like silver.

The single most famous olive producing region of Greece should be Kalamata, but it grows and cultivated all over Greece.

Fresh Olive Oil
Fresh olive oil; not for suitable for frying

In the Mediterranean region, people are proud of the olive of their indivual country/region: the Italians will tell you that the italian olive oil is the best and the Greeks will tell you the Greek one is the best. The taste of the olive oil differs from one region to the other depending on the soil, temperature and water and evidently many of the people take to the olive oil they grew up with.

While the more generic vegetable oils, for example sanflower or rapeseed oil, are rather tasteless, olive oil has its own flavour and, for this reason, it is often used as if it is a condiment. The Greeks often pour olive oil on feta cheese or grilled fish and meat. It is a real taste of Mediterranean.

Olive oil has also religious significance. For baptism, baptismal fountain is filled with water and olive oil. At home, it is a custom to burn an olive oil lamp in front of icons.

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