Olive from Different Countries
Greece produces the best olives in the world.
Greek Olives are an important part of Greek cuisine
and Greek culture.
No meal in most parts of Greece is complete without
a bowlful of olives, and there are dozens of ways to
Olives are found in Greek salad and in countless
other Greek dishes.
The Greek town of Kalamata is home to the best olive
type in the world, the 'Kalamata Olives' or 'Calamon
Other important types and known worldwide Greek
olives are the 'Black Olives' and the 'Green
The Greek olives comprise one of the most basic
materials of the famous Mediterranean Diet and are
exported throughout the world.
Greek Table Olives - A gift from the Greek Nature
olives are defined by the Unified Qualitative
Standard Applying to Table Olives in International
Trade as : "the sound fruits of specific varieties
of the cultivated olive tree (Olea Europea Sativa)
harvested at the proper stage of ripeness and whose
quality is such that, when they are suitably
processed, produce an edible product and ensure its
good preservation as marketable goods. Such
processing may include the addition of various
products or spices of good table quality"
(International Olive Council, 1980).
Today, Greece is the world's third largest producer
of table olives, producing approximately 10% of the
world's total production or an average of
80.000-90.000 tons yearly.
The three main varieties used for table olives in
Greece are :
This variety is the most important economically,
being responsible for at least 50% of table olive
production in Greece. It grows throughout the
country from sea level up to altitudes of 600
Fruits are round to oval-shaped, have a thin,
elastic and resistant to shriveling skin and the
pulp has a fine, consistent texture. According to
the degree of maturity and time of harvesting they
may be :
a) Green olives most usually producing Spanish-style
b) Blond olives with blond, reddish-black color.
c) Black olives with violet black, deep violet black
color. Both Black and Blond olives are placed
directly in brine, keep a fruity flavor and
preserved by natural fermentation.
This excellent quality variety derives its name from
the area it was originally grown, principally in the
region surrounding the town of Calamata in the
south-west Peloponnese. It is the second most
importand variety used in the production of Greek
table olives accounting for about 15-25% of total
production and nowadays good Calamata olives groves
have been established in many areas of Central
Fruits are cylindro-conical, curved, showing a
prominent tip at the end. They turn a beautifull
black color when reaching maturity and gain their
special organoleptic characteristics from their high
oil content. Calamata olives are processed like the
Black olives. Their skin is thin, elastic and has an
intense black color when mature, but still retains a
good texture. Usually they are incised lenghtwise by
cutting into the skin and part of the flesh and then
marinated in extra virgin olive oil and red wine
This is the third most important variety used in the
production of Greek table olives, accounting for
about 10-20% of total production. It is mainly
cultivated in the Chalkidiki region of nothern
Greece. Fruits are larger than Conservolea variety
averaging to 120-140 olives/kg; they are more
elongated, with a prominent tip at the bottom; the
pit is slightly curved and the flesh has a good
texture. They are used mainly for Spanish style
green olives in brine.
Other smaller varieties of olives used as table
olives in Greece are :
1. MEGARITIKI (of Nafplion).
This is grown in the Attica region. It is a dual use
variety (table olives and oil extraction) with
fruits medium to small size (260-400 olives/kg).
It is resistant to drought and it is used mainly for
untreated (natural) green olives and also in the
production of naturally (wrinkled) black olives in
2. THRUBOLEA (of Thasos)
This is a grown mainly in the island of Thasos but
also in Crete and some Aegean islands. It is a dual
use variety with fruits medium to small size,
cylindroconical, curved, showing a small tip at the
end. When completely mature, fruits are deep violet
black and are used to prepare a special type of
"naturally (wrinkled) black olives Thruba style".
These olives are treated immediately in alternating
layers of dry salt and gain their special
organoleptic characteristics from the high oil
Nutritional Aspects of Greek Olives
A healthy choice that's always in good taste
For thousands of years, Greek olives have been a
basic component of the Mediterranean diet. The
Greeks are faithful to tradition and attracted to
light, fresh nourishing food. They love olives
which, either as an appetizer or as a supplement,
are considered to be a necessary daily nutrient.
The great nutritional value of Greek olives, in
conjunction with their flavor and taste, has been
well established. Olives are a unique, pure and
natural product, essential for a healthy lifestyle,
since they are low in calories (less than 10
calories per olive), high in vitamins A, B1, B2 and
C , and also in iron and calcium -- all necessary
for the normal function of the human body. Moreover,
aminoacids present are essential to human nutrition;
specific unsaturated fatty acids have vitaminic
value for the human body while the bitter element "oleuropein"
Scientific research in Europe and the U.S. on
mono-unsaturated fatty acids, (also present in
olives), has shown that they can help fight heart
disease -- first, by lowering the level of LDL
cholesterol (the so-called "bad cholesterol")
contained in the blood, and second, by maintaining
intact HDL cholesterol, which is beneficial in
decreasing the risk of blocked arteries.