extra virgin olive oil

Why Greek Olive Oil is the Best in the World

In the greater Mediterranean basin sprung the first olive tree to appear in existence. The rest is history, as they say, as the production and creation of olive oil marked its legacy as the world's finest oil.

History of Olive Oil

Beginning in Crete, the earliest olive oil exports to not just mainland Greece but also Northern Africa and Asia Minor followed.

The cultivation of olive oil rapidly spread to Greece and had become synonymous with Greek sustenance for many generations. For example, the Mycenaean civilization’s (c.1600-1150bc) economy depended heavily on the production, trade, and exports of olive oil.

The first law for the protection of the olive tree, excluding unrestricted felling, was drafted in the sixth century BC by Solon, an Athenian politician. This legislation was drafted since Greek olive oil had become a symbol, used for both culinary and medicinal purposes due to its excellent nutritional qualities

Olive Oil Today

Today, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) accounts for at least 80% of olive oil output, making Greek oil the best in the world.

In 2021, 95 Greek olive oils were named “EVOO of the year” by the EVOO World Ranking (EVOOWR). In fact, except for 11, Greece dominated the EVOOWR’s ranking of the top 100 Koroneiki extra virgin olive oils, with Greek flavoured oils claiming 24 positions on the ‘Top 25 Flavored oils of the world’ list.

Olive oil in Ancient Greece

Being described as “liquid gold” by Homer and “the great healer” by Hippocrates, Greek virgin olive oil was, in all its kinds, a crucial component of life in both modern and ancient Greek life.

This was due to the variety of functions that it performed:

  • On rare occasions and special events, it was perfumed and worn.
  • Olive oil was also used for culinary purposes
  • Pausanias (8.42.11), a traveller and writer from the Roman era, wrote about the use of oil in religious rituals and as a fuel source for lamps
  • Since it was used to anoint remains, Greek olive oil also played a significant role in ancient Greek burial ceremonies

Athletes in ancient Greece also applied Olive oil to every part of their body ritualistically. Moreover, it has historically been the source of enormous wealth and power, adorning the most honourable leaders, and was also commended for its beneficial benefits on health by Galen.

Olive Oil use

Used and consumed all over the world today, olive oil can be utilized in soap making, cooking, cosmetics, medicine, and as a fuel for conventional lamps.

For cooking and consumption purposes, olive oil can be used as a salad dressing, cooking ingredient, or a dip for bread. Olives can also be preserved in salted water or olive oil for consumption. Consumed either whole or diced, they can be added to pizzas and other foods.

Health Benefits

Extra Virgin Olive oil is also known for its health benefits. For example, olive oil is rich in antioxidants, which would help reduce cellular damage and oxidative stress. Studies that have researched the Mediterranean diet, which primarily uses olive oil, found that those who consumed this diet seemed to have a longer average life expectancy, with a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular illnesses.

Moreover, according to a research study in 2017, the polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil may defend against cancer, brain dysfunction, and stroke. Because of this, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority advise ingesting about 20g or two tablespoons of olive oil per day to lower the risks of cardiovascular disease.

Research has also suggested that Greek Olive Oil can reduce the risk of:

  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Depression
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Liver damage
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

Types of Olive Oils

The different types of Olive oils you can use are:

  • Virgin olive oils that can only be produced by mechanical means- These are one of the most natural kinds of olive oils due to being produced without using any chemical product for their production. Depending on the quality, there are two main varieties. In order of quality, these are:

Extra virgin olive oil: With impeccable scent, flavour, and less than 0.8% acidity, the standard of this oil is that of the highest pedigree.

Virgin olive oil: Its quality is lower than extra virgin olive oil. The maximum amount of acidity and mild flavour, and aroma imperfections is 2 degrees.

  • Olive oils extracted chemically- After virgin olive oil has been obtained from the olive fruits, what is left in the mills is called alperujo, which still includes olive oil. This olive oil, known as raw pomace olive oil, is extracted using solvents in "orujeras" (chemical factories). It cannot be sold, thus, it must constantly be improved.

Lampante olive oils and raw pomace olive oils must be processed in refineries due to their poor taste and smell. Because of the high level of acidity and poor features, these oils, in the olden days were used to burn oil lamps.

This is why Extra Virgin Olive Oils are the healthiest type of oil and are best for use. It is the least processed type of olive oil, and contains beneficial vitamins and natural antioxidants that are frequently lost during processing of the refined oils.

We at Avlaki are committed to creating premium organic and extra virgin olive oils that you will enjoy tasting and using in your cuisine. If you haven't tried any of our products yet, we would highly encourage you to do so. Browse our range of Olive oils today!

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