Blue Birds Adventures

The Slow Travel Experience

Unveiling the Liquid Gold: Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Zakynthos

Olive oil extraction process

Hello fellow travellers and food enthusiasts! Today, we’re diving into the fascinating world of olive oil production on the enchanting island of Zakynthos. As lovers of slow travel and seekers of unique experiences, we couldn’t resist exploring the secrets behind the exquisite extra virgin olive oil that this region is renowned for.

1500 years old olive tree

Can you eat olives straight from the tree?

Zakynthos, also known as Zante, is home to over two million olive trees, some of which are an astonishing 2000 years old! It’s no wonder that this island is a haven for olive oil enthusiasts. Now, let’s address the age-old question: can you eat olives straight from the tree? While it may be tempting to pluck an olive off the branch and take a bite, fresh olives are actually incredibly bitter and not suitable for direct consumption. Trust us, we actually tried!

Olive picking in Zakhyntos

Olive harvesting process

Let’s have a closer look at the fascinating olive harvesting process in Zakynthos. During the harvest season, which spans from October to February, the olives are gathered from the trees in the traditional way. Picture this: locals placing nets on the ground and gently beating the tree with long wooden sticks. The olives gracefully fall into the nets, creating a mesmerizing scene of nature’s abundance. It’s a labour-intensive process that showcases the deep-rooted traditions and connection to the land.

Once the olives are harvested, they undergo a meticulous extraction process to transform them into the liquid gold we know as olive oil. The olives are carefully cleaned to remove any dirt or debris, ensuring the purity of the oil. They are then crushed into a paste, which is then pressed using a hydraulic press to separate the oil from the solid components. The resulting liquid is a blend of pure olive oil and water, which goes through a process of natural sedimentation and filtration to obtain the highest quality extra virgin olive oil.

Olive oil extraction process in Greece

When visiting Zakynthos, don’t miss the Olive Press Museum (FREE entrance & tour). The Olive Press Museum is a traditional family business that dates back to 1850. To fully experience the Olive Press Museum, consider taking a guided tour, that will take you through the step-by-step process of producing olive oil. You can even dip home-baked bread into the amazing Zakynthian olive oil and taste the divine flavours of the new varieties, such as garlic oil and lemon oil. We were really surprised by the olive with an orange. OMG! Must try!

What makes olive oil extra virgin?

The most sought-after Greek olive oil is undoubtedly extra virgin olive oil, known for its exceptional taste, colour, and aroma. It’s the crème de la crème of olive oils, renowned for its superior quality. Key factors that make olive oil extra virgin include the quality of olives, cold pressing, low acidity, sensory evaluation, and no chemical processing.

Olive oil extraction process

But let’s not forget about another prized variety: virgin olive oil. Very similar to extra virgin olive oil, it only differs in having a slightly higher acidity level. Both types are extracted using mechanical means, without the use of any solvents or excessive heat, ensuring the preservation of their natural flavours and health benefits.

A Testament to Tradition

The olive oil production in Zakynthos is not only a testament to the island’s rich agricultural heritage, but also a celebration of the deep-rooted traditions passed down through generations. It’s a true labour of love that results in the creation of exceptional olive oil.

As we wrap up our olive oil adventure, we can’t help but reflect on the passion and dedication of the people who make this liquid gold possible. The olive oil from Zakynthos is not just a product; it’s a testament to centuries of tradition, craftsmanship, and a deep connection to the land. Its exquisite flavour and health benefits make it a true gift of nature.

Olive oil extraction process

So, the next time you savour the exquisite flavours of extra virgin olive oil, let your taste buds transport you to the sun-soaked shores of Zakynthos. Take a moment to appreciate the ancient olive trees, the traditional harvesting methods, and the dedication of the people who make it all possible.

Let the liquid gold elevate your culinary adventures and inspire your senses.

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