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

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The olive tree is so related to the Mediterranean civilisation, that a Greek myth suggests that when Zeus had to decide which goddess assign the city of Athens, between the two contenders Poseidon and Athena, he selected Athena since she experienced offered the humanity the most helpful gift: the olive tree. The sacredness of this tree upon the Jewish people is attested by the Bible: a white dove declared the finish of the Flood carrying an olive department in its beak. The gnarled and twisted olive tree, capable to reside up to 1,500 a long time, characterizes the landscape of the heat coasts of Mediterranean international locations and it is a image of their lifestyle.

The origin of the olive tree is so ancient as the Mediterranean civilisation. The olive was cultivated in the Mid East region in 5000 B.C. Phoenicians were trading the olive oil and contributed to diffusion of this “liquid gold” in the other Mediterranean regions, specially in Greece. Greeks possibly exported it to Romans who in their change transplanted the olive trees in their belongings in Spain and North Africa. With Romans, olive oil was an important good, so much that they established a sort of stock trade, the arca olearia, in which batches of olive oil have been exchanged and the rates mounted. In historic instances, the olive oil was first of all an aliment, but was also utilised as a medication and a cosmetic: Greek athletes ended up employed to anoint the physique with oil. In the XVIII and XIX generations, olive oil becomes an critical uncooked substance for sector and signifies also vitality for lighting. It is a fundamental asset in the financial system of the time.

Throughout the hundreds of years, the olive oil has always held a appropriate location in the cuisine of Mediterranean countries, currently being generally preferred to butter and other vegetal condiments this kind of as palm and corn oils, a lot more utilised in the Northern nations around the world. As it is nicely known, the modern day scientific studies in the diet discipline have recognized critical characteristics to the Mediterranean diet regime and to the olive oil, which is a basic component of this.

Most scientific studies harmony that olive oil, which is composed for ninety eight% of oleic acid (a monounsaturated body fat), has a optimistic impact in decreasing the undesirable ingredient cholesterol (LDL) and in rising the very good ingredient (HDL). The useful impact of olive oil in safeguarding the arteries might be imputable not only to its oleic acid component, but also to the quite a few and not totally acknowledged substances constituting the residual 2% (the non-saponifiable ingredient), which right now are intensively studied. In addition, a number of scientific studies performed in the Mediterranean region are exhibiting a attainable good influence of olive oil in guarding towards some of the most common cancers (breast, colon, uterus and prostate). Once again, the effect might be owing also to the primarily unidentified components of the non-oleic portion of the olive oil.

Liguriais one of the few locations (the other kinds being in proximity of lakes, this sort of as Garda) in Northern Italy in which the olive tree is traditionally cultivated. Ended up the Benedectin monks, in the course of the Middle Age, to offer a fantastic advancement in the olive cultivation. They introduced the renowned good quality taggiasca (from the village of Taggia, where a monastery was launched) and the approach of terracing. The taggiasca olive is largely subtle in the Imperia province and normally in the entire Western Liguria. It can be regarded as the queen of the Ligurian oil, given that it originates the most of the manufacturing, providing the appreciated clean and comforting oils, with the characteristic closing bitter flavor. Lavagnina, Razzola, Rossese, Lantesca, Olivastrone are the attributes subtle in the Jap Liguria. They originate sensitive oils, but with a a lot more accentuated bitter taste.

The Ligurian oils are safeguarded by the PDO (DOP in Italian) model Riviera Ligure, with 3 added geographic indications: Riviera dei Fiori, Riviera del Ponente Savonese and Rivieradi Levante. Of program, you can also locate great Ligurian oils without having the PDO indicator, but the existence of the symbol is a obvious signal of good quality and a guarantee that olives are cultivated and made in Liguria. It is crucial to pay consideration, due to the fact numerous oils developed in Liguria are created of olives first generically from Italy: they are not PDO and can not grant the typicity of the flavour. In addition, there is a extremely straightforward way to set up which olive oil is the best to you: pour a spoon of oil in a glass and taste it. Look also at the color and odor. Probably, an professional would contemplate this a really tough organoleptic exam, but the crucial it is to commence going through with your very own senses.

A excellent Ligurian olive oil must have a yellow colour may be with a light inclination to environmentally friendly, a slight fruity odour and a sweet style with a faint bitterness. A bottle of .750 ml has a fundamental price of about 10 Euros, but you can locate oils costing the double and even more. The bottles are normally wrapped in the attribute silver or gold paper, to shield the content material from the impact of the light.

Amongst the PDO oils, the Imperia Province does the lion’s share. On a complete creation of fifty eight tons, fifty six occur from Riviera dei Fiori! And they are nearly entirely produced with taggiasca olives, the tiny but very tasty olives typical of the Western Liguria. The olives for the oil manufacturing are picked up when they are not fully mature however. In Liguria, this happens in the late autumn, when they have a purplish color. Usually, the farmers put thick nets beneath the trees and then shake them to make olives to fall. In the Imperia province, the traditional strategy does not use nets: the branches are overwhelmed and then the olives are manually picked from terrain.

The new crop is celebrated in Imperia (Oneglia) the final 7 days-finish of November with a feast devoted to check out the typical Ligurian flavours. In the East Riviera, the olive oil is celebrated in Moneglia the working day after Easter.

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