When Eirini and I first met in Parma last year, her energy, enthusiasm, and knowledge acted like a magnet. I needed to know more about this fascinating EVOO lady. And her story is just as interesting as I expected it to be.
With a Master’s Degree in Language Education, Eirini’s first career was in the education sector. The crisis hit Greece and with most people needing to re-think their work life, Eirini and her sister (a jeweller) decided to focus their energy, creativity, and skills into the family olive groves.
Our grandfather has been cultivating olives for years on our land in Asimi, Heraklion, in the valley of Messara, in southern Crete. Knowing of the intrinsic link between the cultivation of olive trees and the culture and history of the Greek people, we decided to put our resources into sustaining the family business; developing and promoting Greek olive oil with our own PDO Messara Cretan O Olive EVOO.
After thorough research and intensive preparation, Eirini decided to utilise this wonderful product, to improve it, to make her own mark on it, and to introduce it to a wider audience. She took her ‘expert in virgin oil oils’ diploma at the University of Jaen in Spain, is certified by the International Olive Oil Council and has represented Greece at the Spanish association Tierra de Olivos as well as judging at the ‘Armonia’ International Olive Oil Competition in Parma, Italy.
Cretan O Olive: Extra virgin olive oil PDO Messara
Cretan O Olive is monovarietal from Koroneiki olives and is harvested each year by the Kokolaki family in Asimi (a village near Heraklion). Its low acidity (0.2%), characteristic full flavour and rich texture, combine with a spicy and fruity aroma to produce its own unique flavour. The fruit of the olive trees is harvested at the start of November by hand and using special machines so that the fruit is not damaged; at this time of year the olives are still green and contain the vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols which are important for the human body. The olives are stored in piles and transported each day to the oil press, where they are cold pressed, i.e. at a temperature no higher than 24oC. Cretan O Olive is produced directly after milling and is transferred to 100ml, 500ml and 5L cans. Once bottled the EVOO has a shelf life of 18 months and must be stored out of direct sunlight, heat, oxygen, and moisture. Cretan O Olive is classified as extra virgin olive oil because its acidity does not exceed 0.6%, and it meets all the other necessary criteria such as zero defects in organoleptic analysis. Its quality is guaranteed by HACCP and ISO 22000 food checks.
Cretan O Olive is rich in fibre and a great source of vitamins. It contains polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids which are friendly to the body and health and it’s cholesterol free.
Producer’s Tasting Notes:
Generally, Koroneiki olives produce a balanced oil with a hint of herbs, tomato, and artichoke. This year the fruitiness is a 4 with flavours of herbs, the bitterness and spiciness are between 4 and 5 with the taste of artichoke.
The Olive Oil Taster tasting notes will appear here and in a new blog post shortly.