Friday, September 7, 2007

Dolce Vita & Olives and Peace

The olive is one of the plants most cited in recorded literature. In Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus crawls beneath two shoots of olive that grow from a single stock.[1] Horace mentions it in reference to his own diet, which he describes as very simple: "As for me, olives, endives, and smooth mallows provide sustenance."[2] Lord Monboddo comments on the olive in 1779 as one of the foods preferred by the ancients and as one of the most perfect foods.[3Pliny the Elder told of a sacred Greek olive tree that was 1600 years old. Several trees in the Garden of Gethsemane (from the Hebrew words "gat shemanim" or oil press) in Jerusalem are claimed to date back to the time of Jesus.[4] Some Italian olive trees are believed to date back to Roman times. Dating and identifying the trees that appear in ancient sources is not a simple task.However, the age of an olive tree in Crete, claimed to be over 2,000 years old, has been determined on the basis of tree ring analysis.[5] Another, on the island of Brijuni (Brioni), Istria in Croatia, a well-known olive tree has been calculated to be about 1,600 years old. It still gives fruit (about 30kg per year), which is made into top quality olive oil. [6] The olive tree is one of the symbols of Athena, the Greek goddess, and is frequently mentioned in the Bible and the Qur'an.

Some particularly important cultivars of olive include:

  • 'Frantoio' and 'Leccino'. These cultivars are the principal participants in Italian olive oils from Tuscany. Leccino has a mild sweet flavour while Frantoio is fruity with a stronger aftertaste. Due to their highly valued flavour, these cultivars have been migrated and are now grown in other countries.
  • 'Arbequina' is a small, brown olive grown in Catalonia, Spain. As well as being used as a table olive, its oil is highly valued.
  • 'Empeltre' is a medium sized, black olive grown in Spain. They are used both as a table olive and to produce a high quality olive oil.
  • 'Kalamata' is a large, black olive, named after the city of Kalamata, Greece, used as a table olive. These olives are of a smooth and meatlike taste.
  • 'Koroneiki' originates from the southern Peloponese, around Kalamata and Mani in Greece. This small olive, though difficult to cultivate, has a high oil yield and produces olive oil of exceptional quality.
  • 'Pecholine' or 'picholine' originated in the south of France. It is green, medium size, and elongated. Their flavour is mild and nutty.
  • 'Lucques' originated in the south of France (Aude département). They are green, of a large size, and elongated. The stone has an arcuated shape. Their flavour is mild and nutty.
  • 'Souri' (Syrian) originated in Lebanon and is widespread in the Levant. It has a high oil yield and exceptionally aromatic flavour.
  • 'Nabali' is a Palestinian cultivar[7] also known locally as 'Baladi', which along with 'Souri' and 'Malissi' are considered to produce among the highest quality olive oil in the world.[8]
  • 'Barnea' is a modern cultivar bred in Israel to be disease resistant and to produce a generous crop. It is used both for oil and for table olives. The oil has a strong flavour with a hint of green leaf. Barnea is widely grown in Israel and in the southern hemisphere, particularly in Australia and New Zealand.
  • 'Maalot' is another modern, disease-resistant, Eastern Mediterranean cultivar derived from the North African 'Chemlali' cultivar. The olive is medium sized, round, has a fruity flavour and is used almost exclusively for oil production.
  • 'Mission' originated on the California Missions and is now grown throughout the state. They are black and generally used for table consumption. source :Wikipedia
Liguria - Ligurian olive oil has a strong character
and the output of the region is low compared to other zones, thus increasing its value. The oil produced from the Taggiasca olive(a destra)
Taggiasca Olive
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Small in size, this variety of olive is the main variety grown in the Ligurian region on the northwest coast of Italy. Also referred to as a Taggiasco or Tagiasco olive, the Taggiasca Olive provides a delicate flavor and a fruity aroma. Small and oval shaped, the Taggiasca Olive is typically harvested in January when it has a crimson to brown color. This olive is served as a snacking olive, an ingredient to pasta or various foods, and a popular olive for producing high quality oils. said to be more salty than other versions, but perhaps less sweet/fruity is a better description. It possess a 'bitter' after taste but is a fantastic genuine olive oil.One of the products of which Italians are most proud is olive oil. Whichever region of Italy you visit - Liguria to the north, Tuscany in the center, or Apulia in the south – Taggiasca Olive.
lHomer called it "liquid gold." In ancient Greece, athletes ritually rubbed it all over their body. Drops of it seeped into the bones of dead saints and martyrs through holes in their tombs. Olive oil has been more than mere food to the peoples of the Mediterranean: it has been medicinal, magical, an endless source of fascination and wonder and the fountain of great wealth and power. The olive tree, symbol of abundance, glory and peace, gave its leafy branches to crown the victorious in friendly games and bloody war, and the oil of its fruit has anointed the noblest of heads throughout history. Olive crowns and olive branches, emblems of benediction and purifiation, were ritually offered to deities and powerful figures: some were even found in Tutankhamen's tomb.

Taggiasca Olive
Whole Taggiasca Olive

As I have not had the pleasure to travel for quite some years,I at least travel on my keyboard.So,here I found again an interesting place ,where the food is delicious,and plus something about olive oil,which I like so much.....(although I am very fond of Spanish olive oil,speaking from my heart and guts)besides bringing me back some memories from Italy,la bella Italia:
iguria produces fantastic organic olive oil, basil and garlic which combine to make the region's classic pesto sauce. Othello served up one of the best trofie with pesto that I have ever eaten, but instead of the pesto all being tossed in with the pasta, it was just warmed with some green beans and dolloped in the middle of the pasta, so you could mix in as much or as little as you wanted. Another great pasta in the restaurant which the girls loved was a scampi and zucchini tagliolini.
There was an abundance of olive trees
in the land of Israel when the Hebrews entered the land, just as God had promised them.
The land was thriving with olive trees and archaeology reveals that it was a center for oil in ancient times.
The Hebrew word for "Messiah" means "to smear" with olive oil.
"And the dove came in to him in the evening;
and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off:
so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth."

Genesis 8:11

"His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree"

Hosea 14:6

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