In addition to the area of high mountains and areas of strict urban development, olive trees will be what you will always find in the range of your eyes, regardless of whether you are in the eastern, southern or western part of the island. For centuries, it has been one of the basic and most important plants grown by Cretan farmers. Although nowadays olive groves quite often cease to be the basic source of farmers' maintenance, however, Crete still remains a place where oil is considered one of the best in the world. This is confirmed by the numerous awards granted at various exhibitions and contests.
Greece is the third largest oil producer in the world after Spain and Italy with a market share of over ten percent in the global market. Seeing the many olive groves on Crete probably will not surprise you that less than 1/3 of the total production of Greek oil comes from this island. Similarly high, because almost 27% share only olive groves located on the Peloponnese. Using a simple mathematical calculation it is easy to calculate that the oil obtained only on Crete constitutes a few percent of the total world production.
From year to year competition among oil producing countries is growing. For a long time, the decisive leader in terms of production scale is Spain and Italy. Extensive industrial cultivation methods are used there. Over the past few years, the participation of countries in the northern part of Africa has also become more and more visible. A new player on the olive oil market are also American farmers from the South Coast area. It is quite possible that in a short time the oil will be as easily available in our stores as the popular California wine.
The price competition on the olive oil market is very fierce and the intensification of olive cultivation and striving to reduce production costs seem to be an unavoidable direction in which leading world producers will follow. Of course, the quality of the oil obtained in individual countries remains a completely different issue in relation to the price.
The vast majority of Cretan and Greek producers have long noticed that further reduction of production costs and thus price reduction is very limited. Competing in this respect with producers from other countries is difficult or even impossible. The vast majority of Greek producers chose high quality as a distinctive feature of their products from the competition. Many of the offered oils have various types of Bio certificates and other markings of international organizations confirming the highest quality of products. The high quality of Greek oils is also evidenced by the data provided by the Greek Statistical Office (EL. STAT) on the basis of which it can be clearly seen that in recent years almost 2/3 of foreign recipients are companies from Italy. As a reminder, it is the second largest oil producer in the world. As you can see, the Italians prefer to sell their own oil to the north of Europe, and at home they eagerly reach for that coming from Greece.
It is also worth mentioning that a significant part of the Greek oils are products with a protected designation of origin. This is tantamount to a strict specification of the geographical area of fruit origin and the place where the product is produced. This designation is also a confirmation of the fact that the oil has organoleptic properties characteristic for a given region of Europe. In Greece, 14 oil production regions with protected designation of origin are registered, of which the following areas have been distinguished in Crete: Heraklion, Rethymno, Archanes, Kolimbari, Sitia, Chania, Thrapsano.
The age of some Cretan olive trees is counted in thousands of years
Many of the oils originating from Crete are very often avoided products that are hardly available on our market. When visiting shops in Greece, pay special attention to those characterized by very low acidity reaching even below the level of 0.2%. Interesting products are also oils, which are pressed together with various types of fruit. It is worth mentioning, for example, Biolea - neratzio and lemonio oils , which you can buy at kreta24.pl .
For our part, we will add that at present we can not imagine that Greek cuisine will not be served in our kitchen. This is one of the obligatory products, which is an addition to most dishes we prepare at home. If you have not yet tried the Greek and Cretan oils, we strongly recommend you to the tasting.
In the next article devoted to olive oil we will try to introduce you to issues related to quality, classification and methods of its production.
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Coming back from a holiday in Crete, we bring with us a tan, many pictures and a bag of beautiful memories connected with visiting this charming corner of Greece. However, holidays in Crete are not only breathtaking landscapes, sun or monuments, but also a feast for the palate. Greeks know how to appreciate the multitude of fresh vegetables and fruits, which is why even the simplest dish tastes great there. Greek cuisine shows that very little food would have to be made from simple ingredients. It is also worth remembering that in many scientific studies the local diet has been recognized as one of the healthiest and most sustainable in the world. Greek cuisine can make eating vegetables a pleasure. One thing is for sure, our taste buds were probably born in Crete, because the local cuisine won over our hearts or stomachs.