Olives and Olive Oil are like a national emblem of Hellas. Nowadays Greek folks’ wealth is not evaluated through the number of houses, villas and cars they have but through the number of the planted olive trees they possess. In Hellas one is thought to be really lucky, when they inherit olive trees and olive groves not real estate of another type.
There are plenty of examples related to olive groves appearing on the horizon all over the country, one of them being the island of Thasos. The Green Paradise of Hellas, as it’s often nicknamed, is quite diverse. One can wander in the grey island’s capital and along the modern port but they can also see the other face of the island. Small fisherman’s settlements and mountainous villages are scattered here and there and endless olive trees are all around while oil presses produce high quality olive oil. The Island of Thasos is really paradise for olives and especially, for Throumba. These are olives that remain on the branches of the olive trees until they ripen almost fully. Once they are picked, they are very shriveled and wrinkled and that’s why they are first put in water to draw out sodium, then they are oil cured in olive oil and salt and in the end, they are tuned into olive oil.
Another sort of olives with a wrinkled appearance that needs a “cure” are Tsakistes. These “cracked” olives need to be cured with a fresh lemon first and then seasoned chopped garlic cloves. If you leave the Attica region of Greece where they are grown, to the Kalamata region where you will find out one of the two most common sorts of olives, namely Kalamata.
Kalamata olives distinctively almond-shaped and are actually, the olives which Greece is represented by. Principally, they are to be preserved in vinegar and olive oil which creates their distinct taste. Normally, kalamata olives are generously used in Greek cuisine, for preparing olive bread and the typical Greek salad.
The other most well-known olives are Conservolia, grown in Volos, Amphissa, Agrinio, Stylida, and Atalanta. Unlike Kalamata, these olives are widely used for making olive oil. A very interesting thing about them is that they change their colour at the various stages of growing. Don’t get surprised if you see a Conservolia changing its colour from green to black.