Olives are synonymous with Greece. They’re grown across the islands and no matter where you are in the country, chances are you’ll find a tree or at least the tasty produce of them! Olives and olive oil have played a role in Greek life since ancient times. Whether they were eaten in homes of both the poor and the most wealthy and powerful, or the oil used in ceremonies and grooming, there are examples of the mighty olive and its many uses throughout history. Here are some interesting olive facts for you:
– In the Old Testament, to demonstrate to Noah that the flood was over, a dove brought him an olive leaf.
– Olive trees are mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad.
– An olive tree grew in the middle of the Roman Forum to provide shade.
– Remains of leafy branches were found in Tutankhamen’s tomb.
– The oldest living olive tree is believed to be the olive tree of Vouves. It can be found on the island of Crete and is thought to be at least 2,000 to 3,000 years old.
– Olives contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that are good for your health.
– Greece is the third biggest producer of olives, behind Spain and Italy.
It’s hard to imagine a meal in Greece without the inclusion of olives or olive oil. Chef Kyriako uses it I pretty much everything he cooks on Mia Zoi! It’s one of the staples of the Mediterranean diet and perhaps contributes to the long life that many in the region experience. Regardless, make sure you try the different types of olives you come across in your travels around the Greek Islands. Every region, or even town for that matter, has its own flavour or unique way of preparing them.