Olive Oil is like wine in many ways. Wine tasting is a long established tradition and connoisseurs will often drift into debate on subjects like the effects of soil and climate on the outcome of a harvest and wine production. Well, Olive Oil is no different to this. The humble Olive has many different varieties, many of which prosper in differing climates and surroundings. So what factors affect our production and what is it that makes Olive Branch Olive Oil taste so fresh?
Sitting on the Mediterranean Basin, Crete has a high radiation level which allows the Olives growing there to be blessed with 300 days of sunshine. During this time, the climate becomes very hot and dry, the perfect environment for the Olive to flourish. Whilst a lengthy summer of sunshine is important, Olives eventually need cold to bring on dormancy and the successful development of the fruit. Crete’s mountainous terrain brings on a mild winter which is ideal to start the ripening process.
This is when our Olives are picked. By picking them at the stage when the ripening begins, we are able to protect the vitamins and antioxidants in the fruit. Were we to leave the Olive to ripen, this would have produced a sweeter tasting fruit; making the Olive suitable for eating, however the ripening process would have destroyed the goodness, leaving a fruit low in Vitamin E and without the Polyphenols that help to improve your health.
Once the Olives have been picked, and ours are all picked by hand to ensure they are picked at the right stage of growth, they are immediately taken to the Mill, where they are cold pressed within hours. This is a very important aspect of our production. Imagine an apple that has been picked from the tree. From the moment it is picked, it begins to disintegrate and within a few days will begin to rot. Well the same is true for the humble Olive wherein the disintegration destroys the Vitamins and Antioxidants. So by cold pressing the Olives within hours of them being picked, we are protecting the goodness whilst preserving the freshness of the taste.
The bold taste and exquisite aroma of our Olive Oil may be best appreciated with uncooked dishes – our Olive Oil will transform a simple salad into a festival of flavour. It works equally well on boiled and steamed vegetables and is complemented perfectly with a squeeze of lemon.
Over the past few weeks, we have received many comments about the freshness and boldness of the taste. One customer even went as far as commenting our Olive Oil would make them intoxicated with happiness – maybe our Olive Oil is not unlike Wine after all!