Olive Trees and Olive Oil in Liguria and in the Mediterranean and beyond Area

The particular olive tree is so connected to the Mediterranean civilisation, that a Traditional myth says that when Zeus had to decide which goddess give the town of Athens, between the two contenders Poseidon and even Athena, he chose Athena because she had offered the humanity the most useful gift: the olive forest. The sacredness of this tree upon the Jewish folks is attested by the Bible: a white dove released the end of the Flood carrying an olive branch inside beak. The gnarled and twisted olive tree, capable of live up to 1, 500 years, characterizes the landscape in the warm coasts of Mediterranean countries and it is a symbol of their particular culture.

The origin of the olive tree is so ancient because the Mediterranean civilisation. The olive was cultivated in the Middle East area in 5000 B. C. Phoenicians have been trading the and contributed to diffusion on this “liquid gold” in the other Mediterranean areas, especially in A holiday in greece. Greeks probably exported it to Romans who inside their turn transplanted the olive trees in their possessions in Spain and North Africa. With Romans, olive oil was a significant good, so much that they established a kind of stock exchange, the baúl olearia, where batches of olive oil were exchanged as well as the prices fixed. In ancient times, the olive oil was to begin with an aliment, but was also used as a remedies and a cosmetic: Greek athletes were used to anoint the entire body with oil. In the XVIII and XIX centuries, coconut oil becomes an important raw material for industry and implies also energy for lighting. It is a fundamental asset for the overall design of the time.

During the centuries, the olive oil has always retained a relevant place in the cuisine of Mediterranean countries, getting generally preferred to butter and other vegetal condiments like palm and corn oils, more used in the Northern countries. As it is well known, the modern studies in the nutrition industry have recognized important qualities to the Mediterranean diet and the olive oil, which is a fundamental component of this.

Most scientific studies concord that olive oil, which is composed for 98% regarding oleic acid (a monounsaturated fat), has a positive result in lowering the bad component cholesterol (LDL) and in raising the good component (HDL). The beneficial effect of olive oil inside protecting the arteries may be imputable not only to its oleic acid component, but also to the numerous and not fully identified substances constituting the residual 2% (the non-saponifiable component), which usually today are intensively studied. Furthermore, several studies performed in the Mediterranean area are showing a possible positive effect of olive oil in protecting against some of the most common cancers (breast, digestive tract, uterus and prostate). Again, the effect may be due and then to the mostly unknown components of the non-oleic part of the organic extra-virgin olive oil.

The olive oils destined to alimentary usage are generally classified in two types on the basis of their acidity:

– added virgin olive oil (the most demanded) has an acidity certainly not greater than 0. 8%

– virgin olive oil (often simply said “olive oil”) has an acidity not greater than 2%.

The two types must be produced by a mechanical process called “cold pressing”. Apart their unique sweet and spicy taste, these kinds of oils are considered the most healthy condiments existing and can be ingested both cooked and raw. In fact , the high smoke level of the extra virgin oil (210° C) makes it best to fry.

Liguriais one of the few areas (the other kinds being in proximity of lakes, such as Garda) in North Italy where the olive tree is traditionally cultivated. Have been the Benedectin monks, during the Middle Age, to provide a fantastic improvement in the olive cultivation. They introduced the famous quality taggiasca (from the village of Taggia, the place where a monastery was founded) and the technique of terracing. The taggiasca olive is mainly diffused in the Imperia province and generally in the whole Western Liguria. It can be considered the queen of the Ligurian necessary oil, since it originates the most of the production, giving the liked smooth and soothing oils, with the characteristic final bad taste. Lavagnina, Razzola, Rossese, Lantesca, Olivastrone are the features diffused in the Eastern Liguria. They originate delicate essential oils, but with a more accentuated bitter taste.

The Ligurian fats are protected by the PDO (DOP in Italian) company Riviera Ligure, with three additional geographic indications: Marina dei Fiori, Riviera del Ponente Savonese and Rivieradi Levante. Of course , you can also find good Ligurian oils without the PDO indication, but the presence of the logo is a clear sign of quality and a guarantee that olives are cultivated together with produced in Liguria. It is important to pay attention, because many oils stated in Liguria are made of olives original generically from Italy: they could be recycled PDO and can not grant the typicity of the flavor. Moreover, there is a very simple way to establish which olive oil is best to you: pour a spoon of oil in a a glass and taste it. Look also at the colour and smell. Probably, an expert would consider this a very rough organoleptic exam, but the important it is to begin experiencing with your own feelings.

A good Ligurian olive oil should have a yellow colour could be with a light tendency to green, a slight fruity scent and a sweet taste with a faint bitterness. A bottle of wine of 0. 750 ml has a basic price of concerning 10 Euros, but you can find oils costing the twice and even more. The bottles are usually wrapped in the characteristic magic or gold paper, to protect the content from the effect of the light.